IN any leadership position you have the privilege of delivering good news and the hard job of sometimes facing the cold hard reality of what is not an ideal situation.
As the president of JCA, fundraising in the current financial environment is something that presents me with incredible challenges. The investment market has taken a huge hit over the past year – people who have been dedicated donors and supporters of JCA have seen their portfolios reduced in ways that have rendered them cash poor and unable to commit at this stage to their usual annual contributions. We are in a cash-poor market – that has never happened to the top end of our market before. It is not to say that there won’t be a turnaround in the future, but the status depends on a market that returns to a more robust state.
We are not only impacted by a decimated share market. We are also fundraising in a very crowded space. Donor fatigue from crisis after crisis – fires, floods and the war in the Ukraine have stretched people to capacity.
So why JCA and why would I ask you to contribute to local community amid all this uncertainty and global turmoil?
We often say that we live in one of the best countries in the world and that we have a community structure that is the envy of other Jewish communities. This comes at a cost that we are all responsible for. Our robust and strong community is a collective effort that takes the help of many.
As this article goes to print on the eve of the financial year end, our fundraising thermometer displays over $9.6 million.
I would like to take the opportunity to commend so many that have already stepped up in a big way. Approaching the halfway mark of JCA campaign 2022 allows us to reflect on our progress to date and consider the support we have received from so many already. This support enables our 25 organisations to meet the needs of our local Jewish community, who rely on their services and programs.
Over 2500 donors have already given to our campaign. In addition, 6.2 per cent are first time JCA donors, while 7.5 per cent are donors that have returned to us after lapsing for a year or two, many due to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic – another element that has impacted our world in a way we could never have imagined.
My appeal to our community is that if you are someone who, for whatever reason was forced to take a break from supporting JCA – now would be a good opportunity to remind yourself of the impact you collectively make to people that receive services and are part of programs delivered by our 25 supported organisations. The role that you can play in keeping this community strong, cannot be understated. Some examples of incredible impact can be shown when:
- Last year alone, our donors were responsible for ensuring that over 45,000 people (students and visitors) learned the lessons of the Holocaust by visiting the Sydney Jewish Museum.
- With the support of JCA, CSG was able to train over 300 volunteers who keep our community safe.
- Over 580 students at public schools attended programs run by the Board of Jewish Education.
- COA was able to deliver over 40,000 kosher meals on wheels to seniors in our community living independently at home.
While the investment market is bad, making an investment in the community is where you get the best return.
We need more new donors – we need the people that perhaps feel that a smaller contribution is not as meaningful as a big one. My message to you is that every dollar counts to us. Every dollar counts to your community.
Our target this year of $15M is not something we take lightly. We need to meet the needs laid out when our organisations come to the table for allocations later this year, I want to be able to confidently say that we have the backing of our community and that no one walks away with unmet needs.
In closing, I’d like to appeal to everyone in our community. We are over half way to achieving our annual target of $15M and we are relying on everyone to continue to give. In return our promise to you is to always work in the very best interest of all of our community.
If you can, we can.
Ian Sandler is the president of JCA.
To make a donation to JCA 2022 campaign go to jca.org.au