As 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.
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!
This post is part of Jewels of Elul which celebrates the Jewish tradition to dedicate the 29 days of the month of Elul to growth and discovery in preparation for the coming high holy days. This year the program is benefiting Beit T’shuvah, a residential addiction treatment center in Los Angeles. You can subscribe on Jewels of Elul to receive inspirational reflections from public figures each day of the month. You don’t have to be on the blog tour to write a blog post on “The Art of Beginning… Again”. We invite everyone to post this month (August 11th – September 8th) with Jewels of Elul to grow and learn.This is the age of perpetual beta. New features, tools and applications are being developed at such a rapid pace, that it’s more efficient to adopt a rapid & agile approach to development and implementation than to try to perfect it before going live. You might notice that Gmail and Flickr are still noted as "beta". Today things move quickly, and being agile and nimble is more important than being perfect. The consequence, however, is that without a defined end point or beginning, we might forget to pause and reflect, or to fully embrace a new beginning. When we’re constantly evolving, and continually focused on what’s next, do we lose the opportunity to get the most out of this moment, and what we’ve accomplished? It’s always hard to carve out the time for reflection, but every time I do it, I am reminded that it’s worth its weight in gold. Looking backwards in an age of constant innovation might seem counter-intuitive, but it is critical for future success, happiness and improvement. This is true whether it’s a new release of some widget or gadget, or a birthday, or Rosh Hashanah. The cycle of the Jewish year is important not only for giving us reason to stop and reflect, but also for giving us a reference point for that reflection. I often remember my thoughts, feelings, regrets, hopes and thankfulness of last year, or the year before at Rosh Hashanah. The intensity of the holidays, the unique feeling of walking into the synagogue on that day, and even the words and tunes of the prayers evoke those memories that were etched into my being a year, or two, or three ago. The power of the day is not in what I’m thinking or feel at that moment, but how much has changed over time. I once read a book, Managing Transitions, about how organizations and people navigate change. The take-home message for me was that change is situational, like a light switch. You close a factory, you require your staff to use a new database system, or the calendar tips from 5770 to 5771. But transition is psychological, and is a process. If we only see the change, and don’t engage in the transition, has anything really changed? If we are truly going to embark on a new beginning, we must take the time to close one chapter before we can transition into the next phase. I’ve always been fascinated by the word "beginning". Seemingly a noun, the "ing" gives it this little boost of a verb’s energy. Maybe it’s just a noun in perpetual beta.
Thank you to Temple De Hirsch Sinai for sharing these two thoughtful surveys with the Darim community. These surveys show the value of a clear, community focused cover letter, that articulates how the leadership values community input, and what will be done with the input given. Temple De Hirsch Sinai followed up these surveys by mirroring back what they learned to the community, and sharing the amazingly high response rate.
Yes, folks, it may be summer but it’s time to start thinking about going back to school! NTEN is offering a special 9 week webinar-based Technology Leadership Academy. The Academy will accept 50 nonprofits with budgets under $2 million, to be represented by 2 participants from each organization, including the executive director and a tech-responsible individual.
Attendees of the Academy will be able to:
Articulate the value of technology in their organization for themselves, funders, and other key stakeholders.
View technology as integral to every department in their organizations.
Recognize options for funding IT projects in their organizations.
Staff technology effectively.
Manage the organizational change that technology can produce.
Future of IT in Nonprofits / Presented by Edward Granger-Happ
IT Planning and Implementation / Presented by Steve Heye & John Merritt
Introduction to IT and Systems / Presented by Andy Wolber
Information Management Systems / Presented by Laura Quinn
Effective Internet Presence / Presented by Katya Andresen
Evaluation: Technology ROI / Presented by Beth Kanter
The Human Side of Technology / Presented by James Weinberg
Allison Fine, author of Momentum was the keynote speaker at ACHARAI, the Shoshana S. Cardin Leadership Development Institute’s “Technology: Threat or Promise” event on Thursday, November 20. After setting the stage to help participants see the landscape of the field, Allison pointed to the group of teens seated at the back tables. These people are the future employees, and consumers of what our Jewish organizations have to offer. Allison urged us to listen to them, carefully. How are they using these tools, how are they making decisions, what do they want? The bottom line: communities are no longer being built from the top down, they are powered from the bottom up. We must empower and engage these young people to bring them into our community and organizations.
These teens came to the program to both learn and teach. One of the several break out sessions, led by Darim’s Director of the Learning Network, Caren Levine, employed the teens to help participants get hands-on experience with social media tools, such as wikis and blogs. The teens were able to help lower barriers to entry, so participants could experiment with the technology in a safe and supportive place.
While the teens were instrumental in assisting the program, I think they walked away with more than they expected. Those who attended my session on social media theory and practice told me they had many “ah-ha moments” — that while they don’t think twice about the technology, they’d never paused to think about how it can be used strategically to help achieve a specific goal, and they were excited to see examples of really fun stuff happening online in the Jewish world.
Hats off to Debs Weinberg and her team for organizing such a thoughtful, educational and inspiring event. In my vision, the next stage of Jewish organizational life will fuse experienced strategic thinkers with younger “we’ve grown up on this stuff” staff to shift organizational practice into relevant 21st century modes. These young people may have walked in thinking they were contributing to the teaching, but they left with much more. Sitting in on the debrief after the conference, I was amazed to hear what they had learned. The skills they developed in this one day will position them to be incredibly valuable in the job market as they graduate in the coming years.
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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