In looking at ways to increase our annual appeal (Kol Nidre Appeal) fundraising effort, a fundraising consultant suggested we produce an annual report. The theory was that while we do the many good things we do, we don’t present to our members a complete picture of the breadth of our activities. The congregation is competing for charitable giving dollars with other worthwhile organizations (community fundraising, diseases, museums, schools) that do make persuasive giving presentations. In the past we have highlighted little-known programs, the range of different worship services we offer and the Jewish professionals (rabbis, cantors, communal workers) our congregation has produced.
In addition, while we recognize those who give to our funds via a listing in our monthly bulletin, our minhag has never been to recognize those who give to our annual appeal. Now, at the back of the brochure, we list everyone who participates in alphabetical order (starting with Anonymous!) – this makes everyone’s gift of equal importance. We do recognize our Rabbi’s Circle ($1,000+) contributions as a separate category, but those names are also listed alphabetically.
By changing the appeal from a stand alone effort and combining it with a visual presentation of what those dollars do, our members could more clearly realize they were supporting tangible efforts. Listing the several hundred names of contributors also made giving seem more universal, and encouraged some to contribute so they would see their name among this list of supporters.
A bonus of creating the report is that we now have a series of beautiful brochures which, when presented to prospective members, are a great marketing tool. Also, informing our congregants of projects and programs they may not have been aware of has increased their pride in their congregational community.