By: Rabbi Zalman Shneur
This week the Menachem Education Foundation embarks on our most ambitious fundraising campaign yet—raising $1.2 million on November 28-29. We have generous matchers who will triple the value of your dollar.
Our campaign is ALL or NOTHING. That means if we do not meet our goal, your donation will be refunded.
Yes, that risk is real. It is in the contract we signed with the fundraising platform. So why do it? Isn’t the whole All or Nothing, matching, crowd-funding thing a little past its prime?
I remember 10 years ago, Yehuda Gurwitz who founded Charidy.com, approached me and shared with me his vision for a website where people can donate online, within a set amount of time with a match and an “all or nothing” risk to incentivize people to give right away.
At the time, MEF only had about 150 donors a year. The idea of crowdfunding seemed way beyond our reach. But then in 2015, I got a call from one of our board members. They were willing to donate $150,000 if we do a matching campaign. How could I say no?
With a lot of legwork, we launched our first campaign. It was an incredibly intense 24 hours but it was amazing. We reached our goal and grew our donor base by 400%. We had 600 individual donors. I couldn’t believe it.
So year after year, MEF kept going. With time, more platforms developed with more fundraising solutions. Many campaigns no longer do a match or remove the “All or Nothing” factor to eliminate the risk of not meeting the goal. 24-hour campaigns have been extended to weeks-long and months-long campaigns.
So, why is MEF still sticking with the original formula and going for “All or Nothing”?
Well, for two reasons.
1. Because Chinuch needs our ALL. And without Chinuch, we truly have nothing.
MEF is simply mirroring the commitment we ask of our educators every day. Imagine a third grader struggling in the classroom, wrestling with the words of Chumash. That child needs more than just a passing effort; they need a teacher who is “all in.” The same goes for our first-year teachers who turn to MEF for support—they don’t just need a kind word; they need us to offer them all the resources we have so they can make it in Chinuch long-term, and we do just that. Our educators give their all every day, and now, we turn to you, our community, to be ALL IN.
2. Because we trust you to pull us through.
In 8 years of Charidy campaigns, our community has never let us down. MEF has translated your confidence in us into even greater Chinuch goals. When our Mechanchim turn to MEF because they want to best serve their students, the only way I can answer their needs is by turning to YOU to support our work.
Many years ago, I was at a Farbrengen and across from me was a top executive of a very prominent Tzedakah organization. He turned to me and said, “Chinuch? Who thinks about Chinuch? No one writes a check for more than $1000 for Chinuch. There’s no chance.”
Yet, here we are, in our 9th campaign, having raised $500,000, then $800,000, and then $1 million for Chinuch. This year, we know we can look you in the eye and say that Chinuch is worth $1.2 million and more. And we know you are behind us.
Because MEF’s mission is not just about sustaining Chinuch; it’s about sustaining the world. The sweet words of Torah and Tefillah from our children are the very things that uphold our world. We need to be ALL IN, standing together to reach our big, communal goals. In today’s economy, we can’t rely on a few big donors to pull us through, but we CAN count on many, like you, to make a difference. We may not have a single benefactor writing a $400,000 check (though if that is you – please give me an urgent call!) but we can ask 400 people to raise $1,000. Or 1,000 generous supporters to give $400.
MEF has always been a grassroots organization, and we need everybody to come together, contributing whatever they can. When we ALL come together, every single person who gives makes a difference. Please support Chinuch so that our children thrive and feel safe and inspired to utter the sweet words of Torah and Tefillah that sustain our world.
The world is waiting for YOU.
Give now at www.charidy.com/MEF