Conference Learnings

Click below for 15 short, high-impact ideas from your peers to change the trajectory of your fundraising.
  1. Because of Camp
  2. Donor Conversations & Relationships
  3. Keeping Fundraising Fun
  4. Matching Camp Needs with Donor Interests
  5. Thinking Bigger
  6. Donors are People
  7. Engaging Board Members and CITs
  8. Donor Visits During Camp Preparation
  9. Donor Touchpoints
  10. Leading with your Camp's Vision
  11. Leveraging Data at Camp
  12. Prepare for Success
  13. Planting a Seed
  14. Camp is a Year-Round Experience
  15. Why Us

Marisa Reby, Development Manager, Camp Northland - B'nai Brith

Because of Camp

Rabbi Isaac Saposnik, Executive Director, Havaya

Donor Conversations & Relationships

“I want donors to say to me, ‘How can I help?’ Because then it's a conversation. Then it really is the relationship… We're giving the donor the opportunity for it to be their idea. To say, ‘I want to build up this organization I care about - let me help you.’”

Key Learnings
  • Prioritize the relationship over the ask in some situations. They can be so excited after a conversation that they get the kavod (honor) of being the one who decides how they can make a difference.
  • Keep in mind: some donors need to be asked and will not give without the ask – you need to listen and get to know your donors to find out what is best for them.

Joanna Wasel, Board President, Camp Hatikvah

Keeping Fundraising Fun

Megan Abraham, Chief Advancement Officer, JCC Chicago (Camp Chi, Apachi Day Camps)

Matching Camp Needs with Donor Interests

“Our outdoor adventure campaign – “Outpost Village” – (gave us) an opportunity to engage (alumni) in fundraising…and allowed them to really get excited about maintaining the capital structures at our camp…We need to…help (donors) understand the real needs of our camp… (We must) hone our messaging and understand the needs of donors in a way that gets the donors themselves excited about contributing to the causes that impact camp the most.”

Key Learnings
  • Important to show alumni and other prospects the purpose and vision behind a specific need or campaign at camp.
  • When they understand the vision, you can connect their interests and memories of camp to the needs of camp.
  • This also provides great opportunities for stewardship, connecting the finished campaign with the donors’ interests. For example, Camp Chi invited donors – alumni, board members, current camp families – to a first flag pole event at camp to celebrate their impact in completing the project they supported – a new structure for outdoor adventure called “Outpost Village."

Kelley Korbin, Fundraising Chair, Habonim Dror Camp Miriam

Thinking Bigger

Note: GLI - mentioned by Kelley in this short video - is the GIFT Leadership Institute.

Rabbi Bill Kaplan, Executive Director, Shalom Institute (Camp JCA Shalom and Camp Gesher)

Donors are People

Mollie Breger, Associate Development Director, Camp Tawonga

Engaging Board Members and CITs

Rabbi Kenny Pollack, Director, Sephardic Adventure Camp

Donor Visits During Camp Preparation

“For me that was really meaningful because our donors can see us working, preparing camp.”

Key Learnings
  • Camps can bring donors to visit camp BEFORE the season starts, while we are still preparing for the summer.
  • It is less disruptive to the camp program.
  • There is less of a capacity issue – ALL donors can be invited.
  • Donors can see areas of need and create funding opportunities.

Lani Hart, Development Director, URJ Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute (OSRUI)

Donor Touchpoints

Jacob Fijman, Development Director, URJ Henry S. Jacobs Camp

Leading with your Camp's Vision

“We always say that for Jacobs Camp, our purpose is to secure the future of Judaism in the deep south. When I share [this vision] with…potential donors, it resonates with them. They understand and - however they connect to Judaism - they can all connect to making sure Judaism is around in the deep south for years to come.”

Key Learnings
  • It’s important to define the vision and purpose for our camp.
  • We need to share our vision as widely as we can to as many potential donors as we can.
  • We can get caught up in a specific need (new building, scholarships, etc.) but the vision is what motivates and drives people to support camp.

Ami Hersh, Director, Ramah Day Camp in Nyack

Leveraging Data at Camp

“The trick of the trade…for (camp) is to use that data to improve our work, but never lose that mom-and-pop feel of the touchpoints that we have with our families and with our staff and our donors.”

Key Learnings
  • We have tremendous amounts of data about our camp families, where they live, where they go to school, when during the year they enroll in camp, etc.
  • We have similar data about our donors and giving.
  • We can use this data to make better decisions and improve the ROI on investments of resources.

Irving Potter, Chairman, B'nai B'rith Camp

Prepare for Success

“I just think you cannot be over prepared. I'm a big believer in spontaneity established through preparation.”

Key Learnings
  • Before a donor meeting or call, plan what you’ll say, possible things they might say, and what your response will be to each potential response.
  • You can be nimble if you prepare sufficiently.

Ken Shifman, Executive Director, Camp Avoda

Planting a Seed

Jeanne Ellinport, Camp Committee Chair, URJ 6 Points Sports Academy

Camp is a Year-Round Experience

“Physically a camper may be (at camp) for two months, but it's a year-round experience.”

Key Learnings
  • Connecting campers with camp and each other all year long has many benefits
  • Find ways for campers to experience the ruach of camp throughout the year

Matthew Jadd, Assistant Director, Habonim Dror Camp Gesher

Why Us?

“Why us? There are so many amazing Jewish camps and there are amazing non-Jewish camps. Why are they going to pick (our camp)? What are they going to see as the benefit afterwards?”

Key Learnings
  • It is important to develop and share the value proposition of your camp. What is unique about your camp? What is the long-term benefit to children when they attend your camp?
  • Camps need to share the impact of supporting their camp. Not just helping the camp survive the latest crisis, but to ensure the camp thrives for years to come. What is the impact of camp for generations to come?
Thank you to the 15 volunteers documented here who shared ideas from their own camps or ideas they heard from their peers at the conference to make those ideas available to you and the rest of the field.