For 15 years, the Minneapolis Community Kollel had been raising a nice amount of money at their annual dinners.
Last summer, they ran their first online crowdfunding campaign. And raised $629,000 – almost double what their dinners had been bringing in.
After the campaign dust had settled, Rabbi Avigdor Goldberger, CEO of the kollel, shared with me a bulleted list of the lessons he’d learned through this experience.
I asked his permission to share his insights with you (lightly edited).
Because they’re great illustrations of crucial concepts I wish more leaders of mosdos Torah would know. Like:
- How much of a game-changer mindset can be when running a campaign.
- How helpful it can be to make a fundraising “cheshbon hanefesh” so we can use our experiences to improve our future efforts.
- How working with a coach or mentor can transform our fundraising.
Now, for the lessons list:
1. Think Big
Good things happen when you work up the courage to cast an ambitious vision. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Very often, they’ll pay off beautifully.
2. Be Strategic (Enough)
You can’t go into a campaign blindly hoping things will work out. You need to follow a solid strategy. At the same time, though, don’t stress too much about your strategy. Roadblocks and hiccups will come up no matter what.
3. Take It One Step at a Time
You don’t need to have everything perfectly laid out and watertight on day one. You don’t need to know exactly how you’ll get to your goal. Each step forward reveals the next curve in the road that will lead to your destination.
4. Roll with the Punches
Expect that things will go wrong. Don’t panic when they do. Keep the big picture in mind. Be flexible. Glitches are expected. They’re not the end of the world.
5. Get Good Partners – and Equip Them Well
The more partners (teams, ambassadors, etc.) you have on board, the more value you can bring to your campaign. And, of course, do everything you possibly can to set your primary partners up for success.
6. Be the Cheerleader
As the leader in the picture, your core job is to keep everyone passionate about your vision (and your money goal). As well, remain endlessly positive and calm. Sure, things may get tense in the campaign process, but the success at the end will cure all.
7. Give Credit Where It’s Due
Make sure the people whose help you couldn’t do without become aware of how deeply you appreciate them. Also, make sure you appreciate how deeply worthy your cause is. After all, you’re just an agent for good – tremendous good.
Thus end Reb Avigdor’s seven points. I’m going to tack on one more:
8. Your resources are limited, especially time. You can’t do everything. Be crystal clear on what you plan to do – and what you don’t plan to do.
Case in point: for this particular campaign, Reb Avigdor focused totally on two things: raising funds, and getting resources to his ambassadors so they could better raise funds.
Plenty of things took a back seat. The copy wasn’t as robust as other campaigns, nor the design as glamorous. There wasn’t even a video.
Yet the campaign resulted in the Minneapolis Community Kollel’s most successful fundraiser ever.
I’m glad I can share their success-breeding mindsets with you.
Avraham Lewis guides leaders of mosdos Torah to exceed their fundraising expectations and magnify their impact on Klal Yisrael.