Zalmen Hertz, Founder and CEO of the Righteous Fundraising Team (RFT), was a recent guest on the Zev Brenner show to discuss how he is changing how organizations fundraise. They talked about fundraising and touched on topics as diverse as the rise in antisemitism in New York and how to stay excited about your work.
Hertz joined Brenner, who is a consultant for RFT, and shared the major challenges organizations face when trying to run a fundraising campaign.
“If you are running a shul, a school, or any organization, where do you find the time to organize and run an entire campaign?” Hertz asked as he explained the motivation behind the creation of RFT. Hertz shared that RFT has 30 people on the team who are there for whatever you might need for your campaign.
Crucial Components of a Successful Campaign
Hertz and Brenner discussed the critical components of a successful campaign.
For Hertz, a strategy is crucial to broaden your horizons and reach more people.
With high-profile people on the team, including Zev Brenner and others, RFT can craft a plan that is best suited for each organization. Hertz used the Chassidic concepts of geder and tefisa. You can’t run with any idea unless you define it. First, you need the geder, and then you can have tefisa.
Hertz shared different strategies he has employed with various clients. For one client, he advised him to get his donors involved in the campaign. “Don’t just ask them for money,” he suggested. “Ask them their opinion, get them involved in the campaign. They will become more invested.”
For Brenner, a crucial component of a successful campaign is creating a compelling need that people relate to and want to give to. Many people are fundraising to build a school, a yeshiva, or expand the building. Brenner advises talking about the people that are being helped. Talk about how your donation will make a difference to people. Brenner explained, “You can’t just be building. There has to be a grander goal for people to connect with.”
If it is a building campaign, get creative, advises Hertz. Create a virtual building where people can see the room that their money will build.
Hertz also shared the importance of an SEO strategy for organizations. If someone moves to an area or is looking for a Jewish school, searching for a synagogue near me or a Jewish camp, they are already interested in what you offer.
Make sure that your website comes up first. Many people focus on Social Media advertising, which is essential. But there’s a big difference between advertising on social media and improving your SEO. When you develop your social media strategy, you show up for people who aren’t necessarily looking for what you offer. But if you work on your SEO, you target the people looking for what you already provide. So make sure your website is on top.
Brenner and Hertz touched on various other topics, including the rise of antisemitism in New York. Brenner views antisemitism as part of a general rise in crime. When there is a rise in lawlessness and no respect, then antisemitism rises as well. Brenner thinks cracking down on the general lawlessness will help decrease acts of antisemitism.
Hertz asked Brenner how he managed to stay passionate after hosting a radio show for 40 years. For Brenner, it’s easy. “There’s always something new. There’s always an interesting story to share. But you’ve got to love what you do. And I do.”
As for Hertz, it might not be 40 years in the field, but he is undoubtedly passionate about helping organizations raise money in this current climate, which can be a challenge. But, as Hertz says, he loves a challenge.