Recently, the CEO of The Chesed Fund, Yoshi Falber, alongside Chief Strategy Officer Simcha Rosenblum, held a round table discussion at the Torah U’Mesorah convention, meeting with dozens of executive directors, board members, and principles of Yeshivas and Schools.
A key takeaway was the importance crowdfunding plays, and will continue to play, in the sustainability and growth of Jewish educational institutions. “The theme of this year’s convention was the need to pay Rabbis and Moros a proper salary,” explains Falber. “And although askanim have stepped up and pledged $25 million for this purpose, it’s clear that crowdfunding will be a vital part of making this mission a success.”
The Chesed Fund team met with dozens of representatives from different schools to discuss their crowdfunding and fundraising needs. A recurring theme was the need for personalized support and strategic advice along the fundraising journey.
“Many people don’t have a team, it’s just them,” explains Rosenblum. “And they don’t realize the value of human capital they have on their hands, and how to tap into it for the benefit of the greater good.”
There are specific techniques to vastly improve the effectiveness of a crowdfunding campaign, and yet many people don’t receive the support they deserve or don’t’ realize that there’s a sliding scale of value and costs in the world of crowdfunding platforms.
“People want to know that you’ll be there for them to assist with their challenges, not just give them a platform and walk away,” advises Rosenblum. “At the same time, they don’t realize that you can shop around, they assume that all platforms deliver the same services at the same cost.”
He relates one example of an institution that raised $400,000 on a platform, and paid 10% of the total amount raised, including private pledges. That’s $40,000 in platform and strategy fees. By comparison, a similar campaign run on The Chesed Fund, would have cost around $6,000, all included.
Rosenblum also provides some concrete examples of how strategy can vastly impact a campaign. “There are ways to mobilize students and parents to your cause,” he says. Not through a “top down” approach, but by crafting peer to peer networks and creative incentives that create buy-in from the community. “The right strategy can make all the difference,” he concludes.
“Klal Yisrael is so powerful, when aligned with da’as torah, so much can be achieved,” summarizes Falber.”Jewish education is a core Jewish value, and I’m sure that in the coming months, we’ll see a growth in the number of institutions tapping into The Chesed Fund’s unique features and services which are uniquely positioned to help yeshivas and mosdos bring to life their vision for the next generation.”