Thanks to an ongoing collaboration between Darim Online and SYNERGY: UJA-Federation of New York and Synagogues Together, we’re pleased to bring you the next series in our Social Media Boot Camp for New York area synagogues. All staff and lay leaders from congregations in the UJA Federation of New York catchment area are invited to register for the series free of charge. Not in the area and interested in learning with us? Become a member of Darim Online! Last year’s series focused on the uses of specific social media tools, such as Facebook and Twitter. This year, we’ll be focusing on the implications of these social media tools and their impact on society and business, with the goal of evolving your congregation for success in the networked age. Our 6 webinars will focus on strategy, staffing and leadership as they pertain to the mission, function and sustainability of synagogues. Join Lisa Colton, founder and president of Darim Online, and special guests, for a tour through Evolving the Synagogue as a Networked Nonprofit, inspired and informed by Beth Kanter and Allison Fine’s valuable book, The Networked Nonprofit. October 26, 2011 The Synagogue as a Networked Nonprofit Given shifts in society, culture and technology, successful organizations are evolving the ways they work to be more nimble, efficient and social. The synagogue’s origins are as a network — a group of people in a similar area who have similar observances, needs, values, and goals. Thus, today’s empowered culture is a great opportunity to realign the synagogue’s work with its origins, and to help the organization function more successfully in our networked age. Join us to learn about the principles outlined in Beth Kanter and Allison Fine’s book The Networked Nonprofit, and to explore case studies of organizations making this shift, from synagogues to local and national nonprofits. This webinar will set the stage for the next 5 in the series, and will inspire you to think differently about your work. November 17, 2011 The Skills and Mindset of a Success Community Weaver Every synagogue seeks to build community among its members and beyond. A rich and successful community leads to achieving all other aspects of a synagogue’s mission and goals, from education to tikkun olam, membership dues and event participation. One of the most important functions of leadership is to weave and support this community. Today, these responsibilities are often embedded in positions with titles like “Program Director” and “Membership Coordinator”. Join us to learn about the value of community weaving, the attributes of a successful community weaver, why both staff and board members need to be involved, and why your congregation needs to be in the business of weaving. Eager to learn more? Check out June Holly’s blog: http://www.networkweaving.com January 11, 2012 Staffing Beyond the Accidental Techie Oftentimes, congregations find someone on staff who’s good with technology, or at least likes to play around and can help out others. Sometimes this is an educator or preschool director, sometimes it’s the youngest person on staff, sometimes it’s the rabbi! This is what we call the “accidental techie”. They weren’t hired to do this, but have fallen into it. As your congregation is beginning to participate in social media, who has stepped up to lead the effort? Is that position really the one that should have this responsibility? Is that the best way for them to spend their time? And how is everyone on staff empowered to use today’s tools to do their work (like they do with email and the telephone)? Join us to discuss staffing needs, how to evolve to the right place, and how everyone should have at least some role. February 9, 2012 Social Giving How and why is the rise of social media affecting philanthropic giving? While the fundamentals of development haven’t changed significantly, the ways you go about storytelling, generating enthusiasm and motivating donors has been turned upside down in the last few years. Accordingly, as a networked nonprofit your approach to marketing a fundraising campaign needs to evolve as well. Join us to learn about the tools, strategies, and opportunities of social media based fundraising, and learn from interesting case studies in the field. March 14, 2012 Social Media for Jewish Learning: The Social Sermon Let’s consider 2 common functions of a synagogue: Jewish learning, and Shabbat services. In both cases, the dynamic is based on a hierarchical model, rather than a networked one: A teacher at the front of the class, and the rabbi talking to the congregation from behind a podium. Let’s consider how social media tools can help us evolve these dynamics to create conversation, support collaboration, and engage more voices in our community. Join us to learn about The Social Sermon and explore how rabbis and educators can put blogs, Facebook and Twitter to use in some creative ways to discuss the weekly Torah portion and build relationships, participation and engagement in your congregation online and in person. May 17, 2012 Return on Engagement: How to Measure the Impact of Your Socializing ROI ROI ROI. We’re always hearing about the return on investment of time, energy and dollars. How do you measure what something is worth? Reflecting back on our previous 5 topics, we’ll look at how to measure engagement, why it’s essential for your success, and how focusing on it can be the key for evolving your synagogue to thrive in the networked age. Interested in learning more about how Jewish organizations can function as networked nonprofits? Join the conversation in our online book group!
Several years ago during a conversation with Harlene Appelman of The Covenant Foundation, I learned an important term: The Positive Deviant. Harlene uses this term (and now so do I) to describe those people who are doing things in new and different ways, perhaps disrupting systems and organizations from the inside out in good, productive, and important ways. They are the people who are worthy of cheerleading and supporting because they are making change on the ground, and their work will — in time — impact many people. In the field of nonprofit technology, we have another term for these sorts of folks: The Accidental Techie. As defined by Webster’s Online Dictionary:
In the field of nonprofit technology, an accidental techie is an individual who has gravitated toward responsibility for an organization’s information technology infrastructure, even though his or her professional training or job description did not include tasks of this kind.
In other words, someone’s filling the void, charting new territory, and becoming a resource for others in their organization. More often than not, we find the accidental techies in synagogues are the educators. Today in the last of our 6 part webinar series for NATE and JEA educators, we explored why this is often the case (they love learning curves, rather than being intimidated by them; they are willing to try new things and refresh their approach often; the "new rules of the game" walk in their door every year; and they know technology alone isn’t a silver bullet — the SMARTboard doesn’t educate the student, the teacher does), what their colleagues and organizations actually need, and how it feels to occupy this role. As social media and other technologies are influencing individuals, society, and business, organizations must evolve the way they conduct their work and communicate with their constituents. Enter technology. From data management to communications to customer service. While few will argue about the importance of these tools, most organizations have not actually made the structural changes to support their use. One important shift is staffing. Who has these responsibilities written into their job description? Who is in charge of listening and engaging community members? When do you need to move from the occasional IT consultant to someone who has expertise in-house? In today’s webinar, educators shared the roles they are playing — from IT support to providing in-house trainings, from being the communications "nag" to the "technology advocate". In some cases participants felt they are swimming upstream in a culture that does not yet recognize the importance or need of these tools and applications, nor recognizes the asset they have in a tech-savvy educator. In other cases, participants felt that their congregation is in fact very appreciative of the expertise they bring, and are so eager to take advantage of it that they don’t have enough time to do their "real" job. This is a moment of important evolution. If you are an accidental technie or positive deviant, please know you’re not alone. It’s so valuable to hear each others stories, to know what’s working well and where you could use some creative ideas and support from your peers. How are you problem solving, balancing your various responsibilities, gaining respect and appreciation for this additional role you are playing, and ultimately advancing and maturing your organization? I invite the NATE and JEA participants — and everyone else — to use the comments on this post as a space for sharing, listening, asking and supporting. Interested in learning more about accidental techies? Judi Sohn, from the Colorectal Cancer Coalition, writing on the NTEN blog Robert Weiner, nonprofit technology consultant, writing on the NTEN blog
We are thrilled to announce our first cohort for the Darim Social Media Boot Camp for Educators, chosen from among over 50 applicants. Included among them are national educational organizations, congregations, and a day school. We were excited to receive over 50 applications for this cohort, and it was very difficult to make these decisions! We weighed organizational readiness, innovation in institutional design and/or project design, team formation and creativity in thinking and culture, among other attributes. We appreciate all of the work put into the process, and we look forward to continuing conversations with all applicants in one way or another. And now, announcing the 2011-12 cohort! Drumroll please… Centropa Support the work of Centropa’s United States education department and its educators through the use of social media, including curricular resources and professional development. Team Leader: Lauren Granite, US Education Director Congregation B’nai Amoona, St. Louis Create a mission driven vision that takes advantage of social media and other 21st century technology tools to create strong and meaningful connections with a focus on integrating family education, adult education, and experiential education. Team Leader: Jennifer Newfeld, Director of Congregational Learning IKAR, Los Angeles Create family-based learning activities and interacting with Jewish ideas and values through home-based Judaism that complements students’ face to face learning. Team Leader: Rabbi Rebecca Rosenthal, Director of Education Jewish Enrichment Center, Chicago Develop a strategic “networked nonprofit” model of leadership that includes school professionals, parents, and volunteers. Team Leader: Rebecca Milder, Director Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation, Evanston Investigate new meanings of community and develop a Shabbat chavurah to support reconnection of the family and expand the ways members connect and communicate Shabbat experiences. Team Leader: Terri Ginsberg Bernsohn, Religious School Director Matan Develop online professional development events for Matan’s Jewish education institutes and support associated communities of learning for leaders and future leaders in Jewish special needs inclusion. Team Leader: Meredith Polsky, Special Education Coordinator Temple Beth Abraham, Tarrytown, NY Create multiple points of community building and engagement for current and potential congregational members with support from social media and personal learning networks. Team Leader: Pamela Barkley, Director of Education Temple Judea, Coral Gables, FL Strengthen communication and engagement with parents and families in a strategic way to build and augment the synagogue’s educational community. Team Leader: Beth Young, Director of Education The Weber School, Atlanta Use social media to provide students with opportunities to develop social and academic relationships with Israeli teenagers with whom they will be visiting during a 5 week Israel component in the middle of the school year. Team Leader: Rachel Schwartz, Teacher, History and Judaics Departments University of Washington, Stroum Jewish Studies Program, Seattle Develop a localized, interactive, and immersive digital ecosystem for Jewish studies students, beginning at the University of Washington and eventually expanding to other universities. Team Leader: Professor Noam Pianko These teams exhibited exceptional enthusiasm, readiness, and vision and we look forward to working with them this year! We’re thankful to the Covenant Foundation for supporting our work with this cohort. In addition, as part of this funding, Darim will be presenting a series of webinars over the coming year with a focus on innovation and social media in Jewish education, including guest experts such as David Bryfman. All Darim Online members are welcome to join these webinars. Not a member yet? Sign up here. Finally, Darim is running a six part webinar series for congregational educators this summer, starting July 5, in conjunction with NATE and JEA. Learn more and sign up here: NATE members click here and JEA members click here
My 7 year old son has been learning how to ride a 2 wheel bike. Over the past several weeks his attitude has shifted from excitement to intimidation to frustration to despondence and back again. He got in a bad mood when we suggested practicing, blamed the bike for malfunctioning, and claimed a slightly skinned knee prevented him from any further effort. At one point he screamed, “I quit!”, which prompted our older neighbor (rocking on her porch swing) to call out, “No, Eli, never give up! You’ll get it!”.
Of course, he learned how to ride a bike. There was a breakthrough moment when he felt the balance, and another when he realized dad had let go for over 10 feet without telling him. But getting there was not easy, simple, or predictable. Building the skills he needed did not happen in a linear progression, and he did not get any positive feedback on his progress for 85% of the learning curve. Ultimately, he learned how to feel his body and feel the bike, and let go of trying to over-think the endeavor. Now he’s tearing down dirt paths.
It’s not so different learning to be a networked, social media savvy nonprofit. Sometimes you try and try and nothing happens. Sometimes you skin your knees a bit, or get frustrated with the equipment, or feel like you don’t even want to practice anymore. In the Avi Chai Academy, the Jewish Day Schools have just completed a 3 week match campaign through Facebook Causes. Everyone struggled, everyone learned. Some had their breakthrough moment, and others did not. So they’ll keep practicing and soon they’ll find their balance just like Eli eventually did on his bike. And when they do, they’ll recognize all sorts of other possibilities now available to them, like mountain biking, and renting bikes on vacation, and entering a triathlon with a friend.
Learning new things is not comfortable. We’ve all had plenty of practice studying for tests or memorizing facts, but not all learning happens in this bookish-academic-structured way. Sometimes learning is more fluid — it’s about developing instincts, or rewriting the rules of engagement or the patterns of working that we’re used to. Social media is not a memorizing-the-facts sort of learning. It’s more like the feeling the balance of the bike and understanding your center of gravity and the power of shifting your weight sort of learning.
And as my son can tell you, you can expect to crash and burn at least a hundred times before you have your first ah-ha moment. And that ah-ha moment is just the beginning, it’s not the end. It’s just that little burst of confidence that you need to persevere to the next stage of learning.
More important than actually learning how to ride a bike was a life lesson Eli learned about perseverance. Now he knows that he will face challenges and resistance from time to time in life. He will feel frustration, and it will occur to him that he should just give up. But now he also knows that if he just keeps at it, the breakthrough moment will eventually come. Today he asked me if it’s hard to learn how to ride a unicycle. Oh boy.
Eli’s first solo ride down the block:
Is your day school high school/ yeshiva integrating online learning in general studies as part of its formal course catalogue? Is your school gearing up to launch such a program during the 2011-2012 academic year? If so, check out the new DigitalJLearning Network, a partnership of The Jewish Education Project, JESNA, and the AVI CHAI Foundation. This new initiative provides the opportunity for up to 15 North American day school and yeshiva high schools to work collaboratively to document their work, share resources, and tap into expertise regarding the adoption and integration of online courses. Participating schools will be eligible to apply for a grant of up to $5000 from the AVI CHAI Foundation to advance their work in this area. Details, including Network structures, school eligibility and expectations, and a link to the application can be found here. The deadline for applications is June 17, 2011 and recipients will be announced on or around June 30. What are you waiting for? Apply now to be part of the national vanguard of Jewish day high schools integrating online curriculum into general studies! Not quite ready but want to learn more about online learning? Check out the DigitalJLearning website.
Last call for applications – the deadline for the new Darim Online Social Media Boot Camp for Educators is Monday, May 2, 11:59pm: Learn more… and apply – now!! The short of it: The program will support innovative Jewish educators in using social media effectively in their work, and assist their organizations in evolving models for success in the digital age. A Little More About the Program Darim is seeking to mentor up to 10 Jewish educational organizations, represented by 3-5 person teams, that are engaged in innovation and risk taking and which serve North American Jews. These teams will participate in a year long professional development and coaching experience to advance their work. The program includes:
- Participation in Darim’s series of monthly skill-building webinars which includes Darim’s overall Learning Network for Educators (teachers, directors of education, rabbis, lay leaders, and others interested in Jewish education);
- Private coaching and consulting with Darim consultants to address strategic and tactical goals, and to help design, implement, and refine a technology-supported project. Teams from each organization will meet with a coach approximately twice a month over the academic year, with additional communications as needed;
- Connection with other members of the Social Media Boot Camp, to learn from each others’ experience and projects through an online community and webinar-based sharing;
- Membership to Darim Online and access to its other Learning Network events and resources.
The long of it, including eligibility, program structure, and a link to the application form, can be found here. The deadline for applications is Monday, May 2, 2011, 11:59pm. Got a great, innovative, social media-y Jewish education idea? What are you waiting for? The Social Media Boot Camp for Educators program is made possible through a generous grant by The Covenant Foundation.
(Cross posted from a guest post on the Avi Chai Foundation blog) And… They’re off! As you may have heard, the Avi Chai Foundation has gathered a diverse cohort of New York and New Jersey Day Schools to learn about social media tools and strategies, and to support them in developing their own “experiments” to develop their networks, engage with parents and alumni, and ramp up development efforts over the next several months. After two full workshops, online exchanges and a bit of homework, the teams (2 from each school) are off and running with their project plans. Or maybe, more accurately we should say that they are playing and experimenting — because this is how we learn. One thing that I enjoy about this cohort is that they ask great questions. While reading about the four children (Wise, Wicked, Simple and One that does not know how to ask) this year at our Pesach seder, I began thinking about how these archetypes apply to (adult) students of social media. When teaching about something as new and different as a communications revolution, I see all of these archetypes (and, honestly, I experience all of them myself too). In the most successful situations, I’ve seen participants progress from one to the next as their openness, comfort, curiosity and enthusiasm grow. Inspired by the four children in the Haggadah, I offer you four (non-judgemental) archetypes of the social media learner: The accidental techie comes eager to learn, ready to experiment, and with some solid social media experience under their belt. They know the tools (largely self-taught), can learn by exploring themselves, and are willing to assume a pioneering role for their organization. Encourage the accidental techie to play a leadership role in the organization, to teach others, and to explain the opportunities and successes taking place that others might miss. Give them the time and encouragement to continue to explore and innovate online, and make sure they have peers and mentors to support them. The implementer is concerned with the “how-to” of social media. This person accepts the responsibility to use the tools in their job, and is developing a skill set to be able to effectively execute this role. Without an instinctual understanding of social media culture, this person may tend to post only about events, or neglect the need to be listening and engaging online as well as speaking. An early stage implementer applies the old paradigm social norms to the new paradigm spaces. An advanced implementer has learned these skills and they are on the verge of becoming instinctual and natural as he or she develops this “fluency” – it’s not unlike learning a language. Continue to point out to this person the idiosyncrasies that take their work from good to great. The deer-in-headlights is the one who doesn’t know how to ask. While they may be overwhelmed and feel like a fish out of water, this person is curious and listening. This person needs to know that there are no stupid questions – that we are all learning all the time, and that the rate of change is in fact ridiculously fast. Make sure this participant realizes that they are not alone (most of the room feels this way too!) and help them to feel confidence and success in at least a few places. Celebrate the small successes, and guide them to focus on a small number of basic tasks in order to develop their own foundation from which they can play and experiment. The nay-sayer resists acknowledging that communications revolution applies to their work. They are often heard saying, “We’ve always done it this way and it’s working just fine,” or “Our community doesn’t use these things.” The nay-sayer is often scared of change (aren’t we all?) and finds it safer and easier to deny the influence of social media tools and culture on their work than to wrestle with the inevitable questions and issues that we all must face. The best way to engage the nay-sayer is to help them see the value of these tools personally (“oh, photos of my grandson on Facebook! This is great!” or “Wow, someone volunteered to bring snack to the soccer game in 3 minutes – that’s incredible!”) before considering how to apply them to their professional work. The participants in the Academy are largely the first two archetypes. They are eager, curious, and are asking deep, meaningful, and profound questions. Some are “implementer” questions (How can we upload a video of students that we can link to for parents without making it publicly available?); some are more strategic (Should we have multiple Facebook Pages for Lower, Middle and High schools, and another for alumni, or should we consolidate into one Page?); and others are philosophical or ethical (How can we model and teach responsible online behavior for our students when we’re not in control of what people post on our wall? Should we condone use of social media when this can lead to gossip or slander?). I know that as they begin the implement their projects, the questions will become more frequent and more fascinating. They are keeping me on my toes, and I love it! On May 5th we’ll conduct our third full day workshop. Their toolboxes will be full, their goals articulated, and coaches holding their hands for the next important phase of this experience – putting it into practice. As each school team embarks on developing their project, we’ll be learning together, reflecting and revising, and sharing with each other and with you as well. Stay tuned. We may have questions for you. In the meantime, take a moment to reflect on which archetype you are. What defines your current experience with and feelings about social media either personally or professionally? What do you need to move from one stage to the next?
We are so excited about Darim’s partnership with the AVI CHAI Foundation on their Social Media Academy! The Academy was created to help Jewish day schools integrate social media into their strategies for home-school communications, student recruitment, alumni outreach, and fundraising.
Ten high schools are taking part in a series of 3 face to face full-day meetings, an offering of over 20 webinars, an ongoing Facebook Group discussion, and coaching sessions to help them develop and implement strategic social-media enhanced communications plans for their schools.
The Academy reflects the work that the Foundation has been doing with social media guru Allison Fine over the past year, and was created in response to a recent survey that the Foundation conducted of around 300 day schools regarding their use of social media.
The Academy met twice in March face to face. Participants learned about a number of foundational social media tools, started creating their plans based on a “POST” planning process (inspired by the book Groundswell — People, Objectives, Strategy and Technology), debriefed what they’ve experimented with and implemented between the two meetings, and shared emerging best practices with each other.
The good people from Big Duck guided the group through determining appropriate metrics for analyzing social media and creating social media policies. Big Duck will also provide individualized coaching sessions to each school team on a regular basis.
Kudos to AVI CHAI for taking such great strides in modeling the learning process that they have undertaken themselves as a learning organization, and extending their active support to other professionals in Jewish education. We can’t wait to share more of what we are learning as well!
Read more about the Allison Fine’s reflections on the Social Media Academy here:
Thanks to the 70 people who came out this morning to learn, share, problem solve and mature the Jewish community’s use of technology, new models of leadership and creative thinking. Due to the overloaded wifi network (a problem when you bring 2000 techo-philes into one hotel network), the live evaluation and feedbacks were slow to post today. Thus, I’ve embedded them here, both for the participants and others who may be interested. We used Poll Everywhere to enable everyone to text in their questions and see what others were thinking. You can also find the slides and other related links below.
And slides from today:
Weve said it before and well say it again: the Schusterman Family Foundation and Darim Online will be at NTENs annual Nonprofit Technology Conference in Washington, D.C., March 17-19, and we think you should us join there.
While we wont repeat all of our Top 10 Reasons to Go to the 2011 Nonprofit Technology Conference, we do want to highlight the three exciting Jewish-themed gatherings weve got planned just for you.
1) The State of the Jewish Digital Nation. Thursday, March 17 8-11 am Washington Hilton
The Schusterman Family Foundation and Darim Online are hosting an affinity group meeting that will inspire, educate and assist you in your work. The agenda offers both an expansive and detailed update on the field, including:
- A debrief of the Jewish New Media Innovation Fund from Adam Simon of the Schusterman Family Foundation;
- New Rules of the New Media Game from Lisa Colton of Darim Online;
- Case studies from accomplished organizations inside and outside of the Jewish community; and
- A fantastic problem-solving adventure led by NTEN rockstar and Senior Manager of Marketing & Communications at TechSoup Global, Rachel Weidinger.
We know its early in the morning, but well make you a deal: you can come in your pajamas and well provide breakfast.
2) Field trip to the Sixth and I Synagogue
Thursday, March 17 Early evening 600 I Street Northwest
In anticipation of Purima holiday on which we are actually commanded to be joyful and engage in revelrywe will take a field trip to the historic Sixth and I synagogue for a private viewing of JT Waldman’s illustrated Megillat Esther. Wine, beer and noshes will be provided. Learn more about Waldmans work and Sixth and I
Thanks to the Jewish Communal Service Association for hosting this event!
3) Shabbat Dinner
Friday, March 18 6:00-8:00 pm Location TBD
Join your friends and colleagues for Shabbat dinner to share, schmooze, reflect and relax. Dinner location is being finalized, but it will be within walking distance from the hotel and kosher-style options will be available. This will be the perfect preamble to the many NTC after parties that will kickoff in the hotel around 8:00 pm.
So there you have itthree awesome events designed with you in mind. There is no cost to attend any of them (except perhaps a cab or metro ride to Sixth and I), and they are open to Jewish professionals and lay leaders whether or not they are registered to attend the full NTC conference. We do, however, need you to let us know if and when you will be joining us so we can plan for space and food, and forward details to you. Please complete this quick form to let us know where we can expect you: http://bit.ly/Jewish11ntc
Feel free to forward this information to those who you know are coming to NTC, or who are in the D.C. area and may be interested in participating. If you do plan to attend the entire conference, you can also still take advantage of our discounted rate by following these steps:
- If youre new to NTEN, youll have to set up a free and easy account. (Or login to your NTEN account.)
- Go to 2011 Nonprofit Technology Conference
- Select Darim Online in the How did you hear? field when registering to receive the NTEN member rate.
Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions. We look forward to seeing you in Washington, D.C., on March 17!
Your friends at the Schusterman Family Foundation and Darim Online