Dazzling Technology Tools...But to What End?

I recently observed a trainer at my local JCC teaching someone to use a piece of gym equipment. In just a few minutes, he learned a new skill and was on his way toward his fitness goals.

As the trainer was walking away, the man called after her, “Thanks so much. I’ve been trying to strengthen my triceps for years!” The trainer stopped and apologetically explained, “Actually, that machine works on your biceps.” 


If the person being trained on the gym equipment had articulated his interest in triceps up front, the trainer could have directed him to the right equipment, and THEN helped teach the skills to master it.

So….how is this relevant to your camp? 

There are dozens of communications channels and other technology tools available to your organization, with more being developed every day. As the Technology Program Manager at JCamp 180, I am often asked how an organization can use whatever the new technology is – from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram to Snapchat to…whatever hot technology is making headlines as you read this.

But mastering any of these technologies misses the point. First you have to determine your goals. Although the JCC member is now an expert at the machine that tones your biceps, it doesn’t do much for reaching his goal of strengthening his triceps! If they had started with their goal instead of asking about a particular machine, the trainer could have directed them to the right equipment and THEN helped teach them the skills to master THAT equipment.

Similarly, think about your communications goals first. What are you trying to accomplish? Who do you want to reach? Only then can you find the right tool for the job. Master THAT tool and you’ll really be on your way to reaching your goals. 

Written by Kevin Martone. Kevin is the Technology Program Manager with JCamp 180. His focus area is in applying technology (database management, communications) to support fundraising and outreach efforts. Kevin leads JTEC (JCamp 180 Training in Effective Communications) and co-leads Data2Donors, a program to help camps prioritize their database for improved Alumni outreach and fundraising.

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