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Successful Synagogue Fundraising Today

Overcoming the Fear of Asking for Money

Rabbi David A. Mersky and Abigail Harmon

6 x 9, 208 pp, Quality Paperback, 978-1-58023-856-4

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You can achieve your dreams of financial stability for your congregation.

“At almost every institution around the country, there is money left unasked for and, as a result, not given. ‘Wait,’ you might say. ‘We have an annual appeal every year! Every family in our congregation is asked for a donation at High Holiday services. If they haven’t given, they just don’t want to give to us.’ That may be how you perceive the interaction, but do your congregants see it the same way?”

—from Chapter 1

Successful synagogue fundraising is no easy task, but it is possible—for all congregations. Development consultants Rabbi David A. Mersky and Abigail Harmon outline a practical, step-by-step approach to fundraising programs and systems that can help your synagogue achieve growth and sustainability. They show you how to:

  • Create excitement about new models of fundraising
  • Set up a comprehensive development program
  • Find and engage current and prospective donors
  • Choose effective staff, volunteers and consultants
  • Create a culture of asking and giving that everyone feels positive about
  • Bring your community together to support the congregation’s mission and vision

“Of immense practical value.... David Mersky’s insights into the theory and process of development enabled me, my lay leadership and staff to achieve success beyond our expectations.”

Rabbi Joshua M. Davidson, senior rabbi, Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York

“A great resource for every synagogue seeking to move from a culture of fundraisers to a culture of philanthropy that ... engages life-long donors. A comprehensive primer.”

 —Margo Gold, international president, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism

“A must-read for synagogue boards, clergy and staff.”

Dr. Ron Wolfson, Fingerhut Professor of Education, American Jewish University; author, Relational Judaism: Using the Power of Relationships to Transform the Jewish Community

“Concrete tips and practical guidance from fundraising professionals who really know what they are talking about. This book is all you need to succeed in synagogue fundraising.”

Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky, executive director, Big Tent Judaism; coauthor, New Membership and Financial Alternatives for the American Synagogue

“Lifts us up from the bottom line to an elevated plane of meaningful relationship for sustained growth.”

Rabbi Elaine Zecher, Temple Israel, Boston

“Takes you through the entire process step by step in an easy-to-read format that provides checklists, charts and many innovative ideas for a successful campaign.... Highly recommend[ed].”

Maria Benet, past president, Congregation Kehillath Israel, Brookline, Massachusetts

“A sorely-needed pragmatic guide.”

Rabbi Jonathan Schnitzer, senior rabbi, B’nai Israel Congregation, Rockville, Maryland

“Comprehensive.... The perfect guide for any synagogue leadership group seeking to improve its financial health (and the engagement of its congregants) through philanthropy.”

Frederic L. Bloch, past president, Larchmont Temple, Larchmont, NY; senior vice president of development, New Jewish Home, New York City

“Pushes congregational leaders to reframe the way we think about members and membership.... A thoughtful and wonderfully user-friendly contribution to a growing and necessary conversation.”

Rabbi B. Elka Abrahamson, president, Wexner Foundation

“As a former synagogue rabbi, this book resonates strongly with the challenges I faced.... Helps [us] understand the principals of fundraising and development.”

Rabbi Asher Lopatin, president, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School

“Should be required reading for all synagogue leadership, from committee members to board members to temple presidents. It is fundraising 101 and so much more.”

Jodi Hessel, past president, Temple Beth Am, Pinecrest (Miami), Florida

Rabbi David A. Mersky has helped synagogues find financial stability for more than four decades. Founder and managing director of Mersky, Jaffe & Associates, he consults with nonprofits worldwide on financial and human resources development. A former congregational rabbi, he also served as the national director of resource development for the then Union of American Hebrew Congregations.

Abigail Harmon has been strengthening nonprofits, including synagogues, for more than ten years. As associate and creative director at Mersky, Jaffe & Associates, she focuses on helping her clients increase funds through capital campaigns as well as annual fund development.

 

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