11 Lessons from GIFT

By Laurie Herrick, Mentor & GIFT Director, JCamp 180

Note: Lessons crowd-sourced from GIFT alumni

As the second cohort of GIFT participants completed their year-long course at our Annual Conference in November, we asked them: What were your top takeaways from GIFT? Here's what they said that you can utilize at your camp, too.

  1. The language you use to convey goals, plans and future possibilities is crucial to making those possibilities happen.
  2. Being focused, positive and intentional is essential in creating a culture of philanthropy within your organization.
  3. Keep your mind open to new possibilities; approach new ideas with a more optimistic and constructive viewpoint.
  4. Setting manageable goals and creating benchmarks is a vital first step for any fundraising project - keep your eye on the goal!
  5. Board support is critical to creating a culture of philanthropy.
  6. The reading materials and interactive sessions in GIFT were great opportunities for gaining deeper insight about my work and its impact on those around me who also believe in our mission. It has fostered my growth as a fundraiser and thinker. Seek out new ideas and sources of information to continual grow. (You can start on the JCamp 180 Knowledge Center.)
  7. An excited, confident coworker who partners with me in development efforts is really helpful. Together we've learned so much from GIFT and have affirmed our theory -- our different styles complement each other and serve camp well. Development should not happen in a vacuum.
  8. Deeply consider your camp's mission; practice your "elevator speech." This will help you feel confident about your camp's cause and secure in your ability to connect genuinely with prospective donors and explain why they should partner with camp.
  9. Leadership can happen at any level of an organization, and we should all be empowered to make change possible.
  10. Be confident in you and your camp's ability to gain partners in support of camp. Have an abundance mindset.
  11. I take with me a new family of like-minded, ruach-filled GIFT compatriots. Find and connect with a network of peers to support your work and grow your knowledge. Everyone can start with the JewishCamps Google Group.