JCamp 180
News & Events


By Mark Gold

Mark Gold, Director of the Grinspoon Institute
With Shimini Atzeret and Simchat Torah just around the corner (as this newsletter is being written), in New England we have begun to note the changing leaves and the changing season. As much as we may not want to admit it, we're well into the final quarter of the calendar year. With Thanksgiving closer than the Fourth of July, it's time to think about end of year solicitations. With this in mind, we're reprinting Dan Kirsch's article about year-end appeals and highlighting the upcoming webinar by Julia Riseman and Jill Paul on annual appeal letters. With five matching grant programs still active and over 40 camps in our Legacy program, almost everyone reading this newsletter should be able to benefit from one or both of these year-end Institute offerings.

The Grinspoon Institute continues to emphasize the importance of coordinating board planning and fundraising programs. This month this newsletter highlights the achievement of yet another camp that successfully coordinated these efforts. The Board of Directors of Camp Sabra developed a strategic plan, used as a basis for their organization and activities. They are well on their way to achieving their strategic plan's goals and I encourage you to examine how you can emulate their success in your own planning program.

Our conference design team is putting the final touches on the details of The Grinspoon Institute Annual Conference, taking place on November 13th and 14th in Springfield, MA. With over 350 people now registered, our workshops are sure to offer opportunities for learning and sharing for everyone. In addition to over three dozen workshops and peer led sessions, the Conference will mark the beginning of a new cohort of Legacy camps and a new session of the Grinspoon Institute Fundraiser's Training program (GIFT). I hope that your travel plans are made and you too are looking forward to a rewarding and educational conference. We're thrilled that you will be with us at the Conference and look forward to hosting you for what will be a busy - but fulfilling two day event.



Be Noticed - How to Make Your Camp's Appeal Letter Stand Out

By Dan Kirsch

The deluge is about to happen. No ark is going to save you from it.

As the High Holy Days come to an end, you can bet your mailbox will soon be flooded with appeal letters seeking donations from all kinds of organizations.

In the face of the coming deluge, Grinspoon Institute Mentor Dan Kirsch offers tips to make your camp's appeal letter stand out for your readers and prompt them to act.


Camp Case: Camp Sabra

By Mark Cantor & Terri Grossman
Chairman of the Board & Director, Camp Sabra

Camp Sabra
In 2007, Camp Sabra began a formal relationship with the Grinspoon Institute for Jewish Philanthropy and Mentor Jill Paul. One of the first tasks we worked on together was to complete a first-ever strategic plan at camp. We immediately set out to define our strengths, weaknesses, and the critical success factors for the long-term vitality of Camp Sabra. The process was an eye-opening one - it helped us to remember what makes camp special: the spirit of camp, the programs, the people, and the 100's of acres of gorgeous land along the Lake of the Ozarks. We also realized the infrastructure was a critical success factor that we had ignored for far too long.

With Jill's help, we laid out a plan to leverage our strengths and work to create a conceptual design plan. Architects helped us craft a design that would improve the facilities but maintain the culture (and Ozark stone theme) throughout camp. We wanted to ensure that alums from the beginnings of camp would still feel the connection to an improved camp.

The plan includes the following projects aimed at improving the infrastructure of Camp Sabra:

  • Dig a fresh 600 foot well to support the dining hall at camp for generations (already complete)
  • Build a new medical center
  • Build a new outdoor sports pavilion
  • Build a new theater
  • Build all new cabins
  • Repurpose existing facilities for more appropriate uses

In addition, the committee created strategic initiatives to:

  • Improve our lay committee structure to recruit new people and to create sub-committees which are aligned with the strategic initiatives
  • Re-engage our alumni
  • Improve staff quality/support - we have hired a full time development professional, engaged in leadership development with Foundation for Jewish Camp, and worked with BBYO to create a position that includes both BBYO and summers as Administration at Sabra
  • Improved Marketing - comprehensive marketing plan will be implemented this year, including more direct interaction with the JCC's Director of Communication and Marketing
  • Improved Programming at camp through pre-planning and evaluation

With a plan in place, we set out on the next phase: embarking on the first major fundraising campaign in the history of Camp Sabra - a $6 Million Capital Campaign we call the "Forever CAMPaign." After just one year, we have already raised $1 Million towards our goal. This amount includes the generous matching donations from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.

Thanks to the hands-on work of our Mentor Jill Paul and the matching grant funds from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, Camp Sabra is well-positioned for a long future offering Jewish children amazing summer experiences that foster joyous Jewish identities.


Camp Legacy Program - Opening Round 5!

Since 2009, 41 camps have participated in the Grinspoon Institute's legacy training initiative. That means that over 30 of our camps have yet to join. Please find the full description of the 2012-14 Camp Legacy Initiative on our website and sign up for the Overview Session at our November conference. If you have any questions, see your Mentor or contact David Sharken at 413 439-1955 or david@hgf.org.


GIFT Participants Announced!

Apply for GIFT today!
Congratulations to everyone who will participate in our second GIFT (Grinspoon Institute Fundraiser's Training) program. With so many applications, selection created a challenging dilemma for Grinspoon Institute staff.

The GIFT program is a highly interactive year-long course created to help create a quantum leap in fundraising success for camps. The curriculum includes webinars, cohort groups and a project designed by the course participant to accelerate their own professional development and the fundraising success of their camp.

This year's course is noteworthy because participants will be asking lay leaders and board members to step forward and support their projects and participate in the course. Course work begins at our Conference in November with graduation scheduled for next year's Conference.

If you would like to learn more about GIFT, we invite you to attend the Introduction to GIFT session at the Grinspoon Institute Annual Conference on Sunday November 13. If you have not already done so, contact Marcus Simon to register for this session: marcus@hgf.org.

Click here to see the list of our GIFT2 participants.


October Grinspoon Institute Webinar

Do you dread writing yet another appeal letter to ask for money for your cause? Do you struggle to write appeal letters that draw the reader in and motivate them to give?

Grinspoon Institute Mentors Jill Paul and Julia Riseman will address how to weave YOUR camps' special story into a powerful annual appeal in our next Grinspoon Institute Webinar: Move 'Em to Act - Crafting Effective Annual Appeals.

Jill and Julia will discuss specific best practices for getting your prospects' attention and encouraging them to give ... as well as common mistakes you'll want to avoid. Are you getting ready to write your year-end email or direct mail solicitation? On Tuesday, October 25, 2011, Jill and Julia will help you craft effective appeal letters your prospects can't resist.

Register now for Move 'Em to Act - Crafting Effective Annual Appeals.