Data-Based Decision Making

“How are we doing? Are we spending too much on insurance? On meals? On programming? What governance structure do other camps use? What’s the “average” camper to staff ratio? What’s the “norm” for scholarship funding?”

If your board is not asking questions such as these, JCamp 180 believes that they should be. And we’re creating a tool to give you the answers to these and dozens of other questions to help guide your leadership decision making. But it starts with YOUR data.  

Since 2016 JCamp 180 has been part of the consortium of organizations led by the Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC) that have developed and sponsored the Camp Census program. This annual assessment asks camps to complete a survey about a wide variety of areas, including operations, governance, programs, staffing and more. Each fall, responders dutifully complete the questionnaire, which results in an aggregated Camp Census report which is often broken down by various segments. If you’ve never reviewed those reports from FJC, take some time to check them out.

What’s next?

In addition to the field-wide analysis that FJC has been sharing, we wanted to provide camps with more individualized feedback.

JCamp 180 has begun developing camp dashboards for both Day and Overnight Camps. This project personalizes and summarizes each organization’s “Camp Census” input into dashboards - displays which present data in visual and understandable ways. It provides your leadership team with answers to the questions posed at the beginning of this blog, and many others, and benchmarks your camp against other camps. 

Over the next few months we’ll be refining the dashboards, with a goal of making the first generation of dashboards available to camps in advance of the 2019 JCamp 180 conference. Please continue to watch our blogs and newsletters for information this project. As a teaser, the image at the top of this blog is a sample of what one section of a dashboard might look like.  

These dashboards are only as good as the data that camps input to Camp Census, so we are encouraging you to continue to be thoughtful and careful in filling out the Camp Census survey. The more accurate your data, the more useful and actionable the dashboards will be to your team

We see great potential for the data for both the field and for individual camps. We hope you’ll agree!

Written by Mark P. Gold. Mark is the former Director of JCamp 180; he now provides conference support and continues to provide mentoring services to a limited number of camps. His focus areas at JCamp 180 include promoting Jewish Camp financial literacy and overseeing PJ Goes to Camp (part of One Happy Camper).

Who we are: JCamp 180 is a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF). Our goal is to significantly enhance the long-term effectiveness of nonprofit Jewish camps in North America. To meet this goal, we provide affiliated Jewish camps with consulting services, annual conferences, shared resources, professional development, and matching grant opportunities. Find more at