Reimagining Financial Support for Your 21st Century Congregation
We hear over and over again that current dues models of synagogue financial support are not working. Temple leaders are searching for new and innovative
dues models to restructure their finances and to strengthen their members' involvement.
The Reimagining Financial Support for Your 21st Century Congregation Community of Practice is exploring the connection between
financial support and member engagement. Our premise is that we can increase financial contributions to our temples by strengthening personal relationships
within the congregation. Making relationships central to this equation, refocuses our priorities on the people and how they relate to each other, to the
congregation and to their financial obligation.
Participating congregations are experimenting with and creating innovative, relational-based financial models that can increase both congregational funding
and membership engagement.
Who Are We
The URJ Reimagining Financial Support for Your 21st Century Congregation Community of Practice consists of seventeen URJ congregations, who share a concern about the financial health and future of their communities. They range from 208 family members
to 1044 family members, from the east coast to the west coast. Each congregation team includes at least one lay leader and one staff member. In order to
participate, congregations were expected to be: 1) financially sound; 2) already working toward being a relational community; 3) open to the idea of
experimenting with new financial dues models; 4) willing to allocate staff and lay support; and 5) transparent, open to learning from others, and open to
sharing successes and challenges.
Participating congregational leaders will gain knowledge about the intricacies of financial support, discover successful engagement practices, strengthen
their professional networks and create and implement new and innovative models of engagement and financial support that will propel their congregations
into the future.
Schedule (24 Month Commitment)
The participating congregations will work together formally for 24 months to push the boundaries of existing congregational efforts, experiment in their
own communities, receive peer support and guidance along the way, create congregational changes and garner skills that will benefit all areas of
congregational life. They will participate in monthly virtual gatherings and e-learning opportunities. The results of their strategic experiments will be
shared with congregations outside the communities of practice and with the Reform Movement at large.
General Topics Covered
Based on our premise that we can increase financial contributions to our temples by strengthening personal relationships within the congregational
community, we began our research with understanding how to build a relational culture and how to measure its success. Then we moved into exploring the best
principles of fundraising and analyzing current congregational dues models. Ultimately, each of the 17 congregations will create a new dues model fit for
their congregation and implement it with the support of their Board of Trustees.
Specific Topics Addressed
Building a Relational Congregation
How to Measure the Success of a Relational Culture
Understanding the Connection Between Temple Finances and Congregational Culture
Fundraising and Development Essentials*
Exploring Dues Models that Work
Understanding the Voluntary Dues Model
Understanding the Congregations Who Have Successfully Transformed Their Dues Models
* The Webinar on Fundraising Essentials is available to all URJ congregations by contacting the URJ Knowledge Network at firstname.lastname@example.org. This outstanding 90-minute webinar explains the basic rules of fundraising and development, discusses new trends in philanthropy and current challenges
of fundraising, and suggests ways to create a culture of philanthropy in congregations, and outlines ways to plan and execute a congregational development
strategy. The Fundraising Essentials webinar is planned and presented by Naomi Levine, Executive Director, and Richard Brown, Visiting Clinical Professor,
at the New York University George H. Heyman Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising.