Half-way through the campaign year, totals are looking good for the 2010-11 annual campaign of the Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey. Those tasked with raising the funds for all the work it does here and abroad are hoping to build on that optimism next week.
On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings, volunteers will be back at the phones at the Wilf Jewish Community Campus in Scotch Plains — like on Super Sunday, the December phonathon — calling members of the community to ask for their support. The organizers dub these the Days of Momentum, and they are hoping people respond generously if they receive a call.
That support would be for the regular campaign, not for the emergency relief fund established this week to help victims of the earthquake off Japan and the tsunami that followed.
According to Amy Cooper, the federation’s associate executive vice president and director of financial resource development, the campaign got off to a good start last year and through Super Sunday, with $524,000 raised that day. That success, she said, was thanks to some particularly generous givers and it raised hopes for a more successful campaign than the past few years have seen.
But that still left leaders with concerns about the numbers of donors. With longtime major givers passing away, or retiring to other regions, across-the-board workers in Jewish philanthropy are facing a tough challenge to bring in new supporters. Even while the Super Sunday figure was higher than the year before, the total number of donors was sharply lower.
Since then, Cooper said, with the help of volunteers making calls, that figure has improved somewhat — and she is hoping the trend continues next week. “We don’t want to count on anything too soon,” she said, “but so far things are going well, and we’re urging people to answer their phones if the volunteers call.”
Don Rosenthal of Westfield is chair of financial resource development for the federation. He said, “People in our community, like in the rest of the country, have had our share of hard times, but now the markets are doing well, and the economy at least isn’t getting worse. There seems to be more willingness to come forward, a little less cautiousness.
“The people who understand how much is needed are stepping up to the plate, which is terrific.”