Times have changed; the importance of the Jewish Federation Annual Campaign hasn’t

Joel Frankel

By Joel Frankel

Ring ring. Ring ring. Hi, this is Jane. I am calling today as a Super Sunday Volunteer on behalf of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis. Thank you for your past support of our Annual Campaign. Last year you pledged $X, can we count on you for $X this year? The needs of our community are ever-growing and we need your help.

Not that many years ago close to 1,000 volunteers from our Jewish community would cram together, sitting elbow-to-elbow, making phone calls on the Sunday after the Super Bowl to take part in an annual tradition known as Super Sunday. Collectively, volunteers would make over 10,000 phone calls in one day. It was so loud at times that people couldn’t hear the person on the other end of the phone. The ruach in the room was infectious. People knew why they were there. They felt proud to help other community members do the mitzvah of making a donation to the annual campaign. They knew they were making an impact.

Times have changed. In 1980, when Super Sunday began, the idea of walking around with a tiny computer in your pocket connecting you to people on the other side of the world was something out of science fiction. People often scheduled times on Sundays to talk to their out-of-town relatives because long-distance calling was only five cents a minute on Sundays. The advent of cell phones, email and the 24-hour news cycle have changed the way people communicate and process information. And while we are all technically more available than we have ever been because of those tiny computers, it continues to get harder and harder to connect. For non-profits like Federation, it is simply more challenging these days to break through the clutter of the communication that people receive. Phone calls, emails, texts, Facebook messages, Snapchats, old-fashioned snail mail. We are all overwhelmed.

What hasn’t changed is why it is important to give to Federation’s annual campaign. When you give to Federation, you are part of something larger than yourself. You are connected to thousands of others who believe in a shared responsibility to our community. Federation changes lives. We keep a finger on the pulse on the greatest needs of our Jewish community by gathering diverse perspectives, and we collaborate with our community partners to meet those needs. It’s more than tzedakah. Federation is people working together and leveraging our collective resources to achieve common goals.

On Aug. 15, Federation is kicking off our 100 Days to Make an Impact to raise money for our annual campaign. There will be no Super Sunday this year, but we will give you many other opportunities to donate. Phone calls, emails, texts, Facebook messages, Snapchats, old-fashioned snail mail. We will try them all. We do this because it matters. Your gift matters. It is as true today as it was 40 years ago. The needs of our community are ever-growing and we need your help.

Joel Frankel is the Director of Campaign Operations for Federation. If you have any questions about the investments Federation makes with the funds raised from the Annual Campaign, you can contact him directly at 314-442-3843 or [email protected]