By Community Staff
The Jewish Federation of Louisville’s 2021-22 Annual Campaign will be donor-centric and data-driven as it aims to reach new donors and reconnect with old ones.
The campaign will also place great emphasis on sharing with donors the excitement surrounding the soon-to-open Trager Family Jewish Community Center and inviting everyone to be a part of an historic time in Louisville’s Jewish community.
The Federation has announced that David Kaplan, an attorney with Kaplan Johnson Abate & Bird, LLP and vice chair of the Jewish Community of Louisville Board of Directors, will head the campaign for a second straight year. He is coming off a 2020-21 appeal – a virtual one because of the COVID pandemic – which still yielded significant results.
“The community really stepped up last year, and I was moved by that,” Kaplan said. “This was happening all over the country. I really felt like we rose to the occasion during the pandemic, and we got a positive response.”
In some ways, donors pushed themselves to give more.
“I was surprised to see that last year donors increased their gifts more than we’ve seen in prior years,” Kaplan said. “It was a very healthy percentage increase.”
On the downside, the virtual campaign precluded efforts to reach as many people as in previous years.
“The outreach was tough because we couldn’t connect with people in person,” Kaplan said. “I do think we may have missed some people that in the past we would have connected with at events.”
That may not be a problem this year if the campaign reintroduces in-person events to compliment virtual events, which it will do with the Major Gift event in December.
“It will be great to see so many donors in-person, but for those who are unable to join, we will offer a virtual option,” said Stacy Gordon-Funk, senior vice president of philanthropy at the Federation.
Likewise, it’s not yet clear if Super Sunday will be live this year.
“We did very well virtually last year,” Gordon-Funk said. “I personally miss that coming-together kind of interaction, but we’ll see. It’s kind of a hurry and wait situation.”
This year’s “hybrid” campaign of in-person and virtual events will employ new strategies based on data from previous campaigns that has been analyzed with the help of the Jigsaw Analytics Group, a campaign strategy firm that specializes in working with Jewish federations.
According to Kaplan, Jigsaw has identified “patterns and opportunities” that the Federation couldn’t as easily see without digging more deeply into the data.
“I think it’s going to allow us to target opportunities a little bit better and be more efficient with our time,” he said.
The new resources are meant to build upon the success of the 2020-21 campaign, which raised over $1.8 million despite the lack of live events.
New media channels will also play a more high-profile role in this campaign. Videos and text could be used to engage donors or simply to thank them for increasing their gifts.
“We are trying to look at ways to reach people where they are,” Kaplan said. “Some people don’t want to have an in-person solicitation anymore or get a phone call at an inconvenient time. For some donors, a text message with a personalized video might be a welcome change.”
But the biggest point of pride for this year’s campaign will be the new Trager Family Jewish Community Center and the excitement surrounding the winter 2022 opening.
“We feel like it’s going to be the new front porch for the Jewish community,” Kaplan said, “so that’s something we’re going to be able to take advantage of very soon.”
Gordon-Funk hopes the appeal of the new building will inspire donors to support with their dollars what happens inside of it.
“We have this building, and we want to engage as many in the Jewish community as we can with the great programming taking place,” she said. “I hope it will be an inspiration or motivation for people to give, because the success is there for all to see.”