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JCF Blog

Sharing is a Mitzvah

Posted by: Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford on 6/24/2015
A friend recently invited me to an event for an organization that’s important to her.  Although I didn’t know much about the work of this organization I was happy to join her and the others she invited. Knowing her, any organization that captures her attention has to be worthwhile.

At the event, we were inspired by the incredible work and impact this organization has on families in the Greater Hartford area.  We happily donated and thanked her for inviting us.  For many of us it was transformative.

Later, my friend told me she was hesitant to invite people. She felt she was imposing on them to do her a personal favor and she was grateful that anyone said yes at all. She was shocked by how many people thanked her.
 
The truth is, most of us felt she was the one who did us a favor by exposing us to this organization’s great work and giving us the opportunity to be involved. When she shared her commitment and passion, indeed shared of herself, not only did she help this organization but she made a difference in our lives as well.

We have often heard of the notion that tzedakah is equal to all other commandments combined, because it is a mitzvah that requires the investment of one’s entire being. Every time we give tzedakah, we are giving our whole selves.
 
Many of us are hesitant to ask others to support the causes to which we are connected, even though these nonprofit organizations rely on fundraising to do their great work. What we really do when we ask is offer people an opportunity to engage in something we are passionate about that will add depth and meaning to their lives.
 
Our work is about making a difference; let’s stop apologizing for giving people this opportunity and embrace the notion that we truly have a valuable treasure that we possess and others want: purpose, impact, and meaning.

Here are a few ideas to keep in mind as you engage in these conversations:

 

  • Being a proud advocate of your organization is an act of love and leadership.
  • It's a privilege to build relationships based on such a great cause.
  • Keep in mind that building relationships takes time and patience. Even though someone might not be ready to give now doesn't mean they don't care about you or your organization. Take the opportunity to listen and receive meaningful feedback that may help you or your organization improve your community building skills.
  • Stay connected over time and make sure your organization stays connected as well. Invite them in, to an important meeting or event, or to learn about important issues or programs.
  • By giving people an opportunity to learn more and get involved, you are also giving them the opportunity to lead, to make change and to have impact.
Think about what makes you nervous when you talk with others about investing financially in your organization and show yourself some compassion.  You are doing amazing and important work. What if you started thinking differently about what it means to raise money for your cause, and thought about it as the mitzvah that it is?

We’d love to know what you think, if you have other ideas and want to add to the conversation. We’d love to hear from you!

 

 
Rise Roth is vice  president, philanthropy at the Jewish Community Foundation. 

 

 


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