I have never spearheaded a large fundraising campaign before. Fundraising is a critical skill for the director of the Jewish Federation and, I must confess, my lack of experience did worry me before the 2020 campaign began at the end of October. After hours of preparing and organizing, the campaign arrived and it has been a very good experience. There is lots to learn, but I want to share with you what I have come to know.
Over the last several weeks there have been many volunteers in and out of the Federation office. It is no easy feat to organize community members willing to give their time to ask others for money. Some were campaign veterans and others neophytes like myself. What I witnessed was a dedication to something larger than oneself. These volunteers were hardworking and a great pleasure to be around. I made an effort to learn what drove them to help. One person reflected, there is always a need and I feel I must do my part. Another shared his feeling that it is our duty to bring community members together, united for a common cause. One volunteer explained that not asking someone to give is leaving them out, even if they give a small sum, at least they are part of us. I never thought of it that way! Another true campaign veteran really spoke to my heart when she reminded me that if we do not take of ourselves, nobody else will. She is right. If we want to have a healthy, vibrant Jewish community now and for the next generation we must all do our part. I want to thank the campaign volunteers for sharing their motivations. Each one has helped me to clarify my inner dialogue on the importance of giving.
Twenty four years ago, when I first moved to Binghamton, there were many challenges facing the Jewish community. Those challenges remain. Our donor base is shrinking and our needs are not. This is a reality and I wish I had an easy way to change it. I do have faith that we will remain strong. I am uplifted by each generous spirit I meet.
Hundreds of campaign calls have been made over the last several weeks and there is still more work to be done. With very little exception our calls have been answered with kindness. To this I say to the community, thank you. Thank you for answering the call. Thank you for contributing to something larger than yourself. Thank you for keeping the Binghamton Jewish community healthy. Every contribution is meaningful.
If you have not pledged yet, please call the Federation office at 607-724-2332. I promise you, whatever your reason for giving, it will feel good to help.