URJ CoP Reimagining Financial Support

Reimagining Financial Support for Your 21st Century Congregation
Reimagining Financial Support for Your 21st Century Congregation

We hear over and over again that current models of synagogue financial support are not working. Temple leaders are searching for new and innovative models to restructure their finances and to strengthen their members' involvement.

The Reimagining Financial Support for Your 21st Century Congregation Community of Practice explored the connection between financial support and member engagement. Our premise was 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 experimented with and creating innovative, relational-based dues, fees and philanthropic models of finance that can increase both congregational funding and membership engagement.

The URJ Reimagining Financial Support for Your 21st Century Congregation Community of Practice brought together congregations interested in exploring various financial models from March 2013-March 2015. It was comprised of seventeen congregations that shared an interest in understanding the complexities and new thinking of financial sustainability for congregations. Through participation in this process, the leaders learned together about key challenges and opportunities for enhancing financial practices, studied best principles from across the field, and identified and executed a pilot experiment to scale-up their efforts at home.

Topics Covered

  • 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 urj1800@urj.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.