Rabbinic Fundamentals of Fundraising


Online Course for Communal Rabbis Explores Effective Techniques in Raising Funds, Cultivating Relationships 

Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF) and affiliate Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) have launched the “Rabbinic Fundamentals of Fundraising,” a continuing rabbinic education mini-course that aims to develop communal rabbis’ skills and techniques in fundraising and cultivating lasting relationships with congregants beyond their requisite pastoral interactions.

The four-part online lecture series explores the motivations behind philanthropic giving and examine best practices and the ethics of fundraising. The course, which boasts 43 participants from around the world, including rabbis in North America, Australia and Israel, began on April 19 with an in-depth look at the “rabbi’s role” in several fundraising scenarios.

“We have been supporting our rabbis in numerous ways for years, and there is consistent interest in nuanced instruction from trained professionals, specifically in the area of fundraising. This webinar provides a platform for the rabbis to discuss and learn about the basics of setting up and running building campaigns, capital funds, endowments and other major gifts in real-time from the top experts in the respective fields,” said Rabbi Naphtali Lavenda, director of online rabbinic programming at the CJF.

“While communal rabbis are interested in attending conferences to enhance and inform their rabbinic education, their unpredictable schedules present a real obstacle. As such, we are trying a new model of shorter modules and flexible learning to allow rabbis to maximize their participation in the course and gain the information and skills they require to serve their communities and institutions better.”

Throughout the month-long training, participants will receive a thorough selection of reference materials and related articles. In between classes, participants interact with one another via the course’s dedicated online forum and schedule offline conversations with the instructors, communal professionals and master fundraisers.

“Rabbinic Fundamentals of Fundraising” was cultivated by Rabbi Lavenda, with the guidance of Dr. Saul Andron, director of the Certificate in Jewish Philanthropy at YU’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work, and Dan Forman, senior philanthropic adviser and former vice president of Institutional Advancement at YU. The course is the fourth virtual continuing rabbinic education course organized and run by the CJF in coordination with RIETS. In previous years, CJF ran online courses on the issues surrounding infertility, every stage of Jewish relationships and addressing child abuse.

For more information, contact rabbinicprogramming@yu.edu.