- BJBE’s diligent and intentional approach resulted in financial success and a more inclusive membership model, which helped their community take a huge leap.
- Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, BJBE was able to increase annual revenue for the new membership model and raise $1.5 million towards their major gift effort.
Congregation BJBE is a Reform synagogue in the Chicago suburb of Deerfield, Illinois. Like many synagogues throughout the United States, BJBE’s traditional dues model created barriers for entry to synagogue life. BJBE believed in an open-door policy and strived to open their congregation to all who wanted to be a part of their spiritual community. CCS was hired as a trusted partner to elevate BJBE’s fundraising and operations in order to serve their community.
BJBE and CCS worked together to develop their Shared Sacred Partnership membership program, which gives families the freedom and responsibility to consider an annual commitment that is meaningful, affordable, and will support BJBE’s annual financial needs. CCS helped BJBE build cultivation and stewardship practices to ensure that those who could give more would help cover those that could not give as much. This approach was informed by a deep analysis of BJBE’s membership database to ensure programmatic success. In partnership with CCS Analytics, wealth screens and prospect segmentation built a foundation for this work. Lastly, CCS built all marketing and communication materials for the congregation to launch this effort. These materials guided listening sessions and focus groups along with standalone resources to clarify the new model.
CCS was great to work with. We appreciated their collaborative style and they were very nimble as we needed to make adjustments along the way. Once BJBE decided to make the change, we never could have moved forward without CCS.Marti Greenburg, Financial Development Chair, Congregation BJBE
As with many congregations that we work with across the United States who have implemented this model, BJBE saw an increase in membership, annual fundraising, and overall donor and member satisfaction. In year one, BJBE welcomed 96 new member households and 66% of members increased or maintained their financial commitment from the prior year. Overall, BJBE raised $1.5 million towards their major gift effort. This shift engaged the community at all levels, from BJBE leadership to new members. Not only are congregants more engaged with the mission of the synagogue, but the culture of philanthropy is broader and deeper than ever before.
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BJBE’s shift to this new membership model achieved their goals of opening their doors to more families in the community and increasing their annual revenue. It also helped to build a better culture of philanthropy within the congregation. Everyone understands that they need to do what they can to keep BJBE financially secure, thus enabling them to serve the community. Members started thinking about what they can do and should do rather than what they have to do. It was a pleasure to work with the innovative leaders on the BJBE team as trailblazers and influencers for synagogues across the country.Erin Kupferman, Assistant Vice President, CCS Fundraising
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