Need A Hanukkah Gift For Your Boss?

YScreen shot 2010-11-19 at 3.34.26 PMou’re looking for the gift that keeps on giving, right? I’ve got just the thing for you. Pick up a copy of Beth Kanter and Allison Fine’s book The Networked Nonprofit. A fun read with great stories and case studies, this book will help any nonprofit leader better understand the impact and opportunities of working in a networked world. THEN SIGN UP FOR OUR ONLINE BOOK GROUP! That’s right. Starting in January, we’ll be hosting a free online book group to discuss the concepts and their application to our work in the Jewish community. Bonus: experience the joys of the new Facebook Groups feature while you’re at it. You can join the book group now, and we’ll kick off discussion in January. That gives you just enough time to get copies for your co-workers, plus one for yourself, and read it in mid-December while everyone else is still scrambling for that other holiday, or by a cozy fire, or on the beach in Hawaii or where ever you might take a winter vacation… Have you read the book yet? What are you interested in discussing? What ideas grabbed your attention?

Sample Social Media Policy – JFS of Bergen and Hudson Counties, 2010

Many thanks to the Jewish Family Service of Bergen and Hudson Counties for sharing their social media policy.  The policy adresses: guiding principles; responsibilities of staff, volunteers, and trustees as ambassadors for the organization; confidentiality, copyright, and legal issues; and, issues related to personal and professional boundaries.

New Darim Book Group: The Networked Nonprofit – Join Us!

The Networked NonprofitAs part of our 10th Birthday Celebration, Darim is thrilled to announce our new book club! Following on the success of our recent webinar with Allison Fine, we are starting a book group to dive more deeply into The Networked Nonprofit and what it means for transforming Jewish organizations.

The Details

Darim is excited to launch our very first book club to deepen our understanding of "networked nonprofits," and to help each other adopt these approaches into our work. Starting January 10th we’ll be discussing a chapter of The Networked Nonprofit each week.

Step this way to the Darim Online Book Club!. Just click on "request to join" and we’ll add you to the group. The book club will take advantage of Facebook’s new "Groups" (note that this is different than the previous "group" structure; extra bonus – in addition to great conversation, you’ll become more familiar with this new Facebook feature.)

In January we’ll start posting questions to guide our discussion. Share your thoughts and questions as we learn from each other!

Please note: there is no cost to participate, but you will need to login to Facebook to join the group. Join us – and get reading! You can buy The Networked Nonprofit by Allison Fine and Beth Kanter here.

The Blossoming of Video Rosh Hashanah Greetings

Did you notice the proliferation of vide0 this holiday season? Many congregations and other Jewish organization embraced the video greeting, with humor, seriousness, and calls to action. Video is a powerful medium for many reasons. First, it conveys personality, nuance, body language and intonation so much more powerfully than text or photographs. Further, a video can capture a user’s attention for 2 or 3 minutes at a time, rather than a few seconds at a time with text online. Thus, it has the potential to tell a much deeper story than you might achieve otherwise. Let’s take a look at a few Rosh Hashanah greetings from this year: The Community Synagogue, Port Washington, NY. This video got picked up by Perez Hilton, The Daily Beast, and local TV news, resulting in over 90,000 hits on YouTube. While total hits aren’t the ultimate measurement of success, they clearly got something right that generated this attention. There are three important elements to take away from this success: 1) The Rabbi’s message is personal, thoughtful and educational; 2) the central piece is humorous and playful. While it feels silly and lo-fi, it also give a sense that this is a fun place to be; and 3) it closes with a real community building tour of the people who make the synagogue run on a daily basis (including introductions of recently hired staff). While it’s slightly long (nearly 4 minutes), it is well paced and keeps your attention. The comments on YouTube are fascinating too — worth glancing at. Jewish Federations of North America put together videos that local Federations could use and adapt for their own purposes. You’ll notice that while the campaign is about a "call to action", the story being told is from people just like you and me, and less about the institution itself. This approach makes the video more compelling, personal and accessible than a pure solicitation. Congregation Rodef Shalom in Virginia made a video to a song, and invited any cameo appearances — the UPS guy, the gardener, and the entire summer camp – to give a feel of the community. How else could you shed light on the community, help people learn something, or develop new associations with your organization? What Rosh Hashana videos did you notice this year? Drop a link and your thoughts about what worked (or didn’t) in the comments here. What should orgs be thinking about for next year?

It’s Our Birthday – Party Favors For Everyone!!

Photo credit: Flicky user camnjeanaccess We’re 10 years old and positively giddy about it! To celebrate, we are giving out gifts throughout the year! We cordially invite you to our upcoming webinar, Foundations of Social Media, Oct. 19th, 1-2pm ET. This free event is open to everyone — Darim members and those who are not yet members. Click here to register and enjoy this taste of Darim as our guest!* The celebration continues with two more complimentary webinars: our November 3rd event featuring Allison Fine, co-author of The Networked Nonprofit (register here!*), and our January 11th event with the creative team behind Shalom Sesame (register here!*). Sign up for one, two, or all three – but hurry – space is limited!* *Can’t make these webinars? They will be recorded and available to the public; no need to register in advance, we’ll post the links on our blog. Check in for more goodies throughout the year! A very special thank you to our members for being such an important part of our community! As one of our gifts to you, we’re excited to announce our new Open Office Hours program. Drop by for free advice and schmoozing with Darim staff. Click here for our full list of Fall/Winter Events. These webinars are free to all staff and lay leadership of Darim Online member organizations. Not yet a member? Find out more and join us today. Feel free to be in touch with any questions or comments at learningnetwork@darimonline.org

Volunteer Engagement — Core Competencies for Establishing a Culture

Organizational support:
• Resource allocation for volunteers includes budget, tools, staffing, recognition and space
• Volunteer engagement is considered a key component in strategic planning and goal setting
• The board has developed a philosophy statement about volunteer engagement that demonstrates commitment to volunteerism
• The ability to work effectively with volunteers is a criterion for employment for the synagogue and staff are held accountable for their work with volunteers

Needs Assessment:
• Volunteer participation is factored into every facet of congregational life from the top down and the bottom up
• Position descriptions for volunteers aim at fulfillment of the synagogue’s mission
• Volunteer assignments are designed to assist staff with the day to day operations as well as fulfill the synagogues dream list

Interviewing and Placement:
• Prospective volunteers are matched with assignments that are right for them and right for the synagogue
• Volunteers are screened based on the level of risk of the assignment
• New members are encouraged to volunteer as a means to establishing themselves in the synagogue community
• Volunteers have the flexibility to change assignments from time to time
• Career ladders for volunteers that provide increasing responsibilities are available to develop potential board members from the plan from the volunteer pool

Orientation:
• Resources such as space and equipment are allocated to volunteers ass needed
• The synagogue budget reflects the costs involved in effective volunteer engagement including recruitment, training, retention and recognition
• All volunteers are oriented to policies and procedures that are relevant to their assignment
• Each volunteer receives training based on the level of responsibility of his or her assignment

Effective Recruitment:
• Each volunteer position has a recruiting plan
• The synagogue’s member database includes information on the skills and talents members are willing to share
• Recruitment is personalized and existing volunteers are considered the best recruitment resource
• All synagogue collateral materials (brochures, flyers, newsletters, invitations, bulletin boards, and website) include information on volunteering

Supervision and Support:
• Every volunteer receives support based on the level of responsibility required in the volunteer assignment
• Volunteers are held accountable for the work that they do
• Volunteer work is regularly evaluated for efficacy and impact on the synagogue

Retention Strategies:
• Volunteers receive both formal and informal recognition for the work that they do
• Volunteer successes are celebrated and documented
• Volunteers have flexibility in what they do and where they do it
• Volunteers are encouraged to volunteer in different areas of the synagogue
• A volunteer benefit package has been developed

Copyright © 2005 by STAR (Synagogues: Transformation and Renewal) and republished with permission.