Communicating with customers is one of the lynchpins of success in my business. Listening to their needs, objectives and passions drive our strategies and activities. Similarly, educating our customers on our values and means of supporting their goals is essential to developing an effective and lasting partnership.
As the Federation Board Chair and long-time volunteer, I have been listening to our donors – our customers – to better understand how the organization can regain the relevance that served as such an important part of our Jewish community in San Diego (and around the world) for over 80 years. Today, I am (belatedly) beginning an effort to communicate back to you. My goal is to do so weekly, but my day job sometimes overwhelms me, so forgive me for any misses. I hope to communicate the “why” and “how” of Federation, especially as we pursue paradigmatic change to our model to connect donors more directly to their passion of being Jewish. Whether Jewish continuity for our children and grandchildren is your concern; whether caring for Jews in need in San Diego or around the world is your focus; or whether creating a more engaged, stronger, and more inclusive community in San Diego is of greatest importance, I will strive to help connect your passion to what Federation is doing. At times, I will devote this blank sheet of paper to commenting on issues important to us as Jews, because I like to comment on issues. Note that, while I am compelled to walk a fine line between representing Federation and my personal views (which has not been easy the past several years), I will try to be fair and diplomatic. I am open to more energetic conversations over coffee or a beer. In today’s day of decreased civility, the last result I seek is to create division. Disagreement is healthy, but at the end of the day our strength lies in our cohesiveness as a people. As we are unfortunately reminded fairly regularly (e.g. Poland’s recent law outlawing connection of Poles to the Nazi atrocities), the only group truly looking out for Jews are fellow Jews. But I digress…
As Federation continues its path of change, the “Why” remains constant. As has always been the case, the entire Federation system exists to serve the community – to make it stronger; to ensure its future; to care for those nobody else will; to support Israel (politics aside). What is changing is the how. Rather than serve as an umbrella organization where our customers cannot feel the true satisfaction of their generosity, Federation will continue to partner with the INCREDIBLE organizations and synagogues in our community and abroad to effectively and directly connect you to the impact of your dollars – where you want those dollars to go. YOU ARE HEROES. Truly, you are ensuring the future of the Jewish community and saving lives, literally. We need to better communicate the incredible mitzvahs you do.
Federation is essential to our future as a Jewish community in San Diego. I truly believe that statement. In a future edition, I will explain why and hope to earn your agreement.
I welcome your comments. I ask that civil discourse govern. I can argue with the best of them (thanks to my parents paying for law school – no, I never practiced law), so I love disagreement. I’m also sensitive, so try not to insult me too harshly…
Thank you all for reading this far and enduring the suppressed journalist in me. Most importantly, thank you for your incredible support of the Jewish community, no matter the means you do so.