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When the coronavirus pandemic forced us to cancel our annual gala, Congregation Kol Ami in White Plains, N.Y., turned to technology to raise needed funds and to bring our community together.
In the spirit of the long-ago Jerry Lewis phone-a-thons, Kol Ami held a 24-hour long "Zoom-a-Thon" called Come Together, which was streamed on our website, Facebook, and YouTube. We kicked off with a Saturday-night Havdalah service and broadcasted for 24 hours – until 7pm the next day.
Executed with roughly three weeks of prep time, the broadcast included world-class talent from within and outside our congregational community, as well as from other parts of the world. Some of the features included:
Throughout it all, we made gentle asks for support while also acknowledging that many people may not be able to give at this time.
From donations and sponsorships to an online auction to sales of cards for wildly successful family BINGO games, our Zoom-a-Thon raised more $100,000 for the congregation. In addition to being a successful fundraiser, there has likely never been a 24-hour period filled with more laughter, dedication, talent, creativity, and love.
If you are interested in holding a Zoom-a-Thon of your own, here is our tech recipe:
Judy Sarch is the webmaster of Congregation Kol Ami in White Plains, N.Y., where Genna Farley Flemming is also a congregant.