ChaiVillageLA’s Member Engagement Program
What is the mission and purpose of this program?
The purpose of this program is to create a village-wide process to envision the future of the community and mobilize members to help with the running of the Village.
As a result, we expect to:
a) change the culture of our village so members celebrate interdependence, making it easier for them to ask for help/support and inspiring them to volunteer more within the larger community beyond the village,
b) via a newly empowered Membership Committee, create a Buddy System for members, ensure that all members receive regular quarterly “touches” in the form of calls, visits and/or invitations to programs, and reach out to members to follow up on how they expressed they wanted to get involved,
c) identify at least 20 members who will take on specific roles,
d) develop a sense of how large our members want ChaiVillageLA to become,
e) set a precedent of asking for and implementing meaningful member input on a regular basis,
In addition, the funds will enable us to make a video of our New Member Orientation/Training to help prepare new members and external volunteers to get involved in our community. Having a video that people can view on their own will accelerate reaching our goal that all members providing or receiving Caring Services complete the training. At this time we have trained 50% of our 218 members.
We will hire a rabbinic or Jewish Communal Service Intern to coordinate 10 house gatherings of 15-20 village members each for our 2019-2020 Community-wide Listening Campaign. Our intern will guide our Steering Committee to determine the questions to be asked at all the gatherings. We will train emergent leaders of our community to facilitate the gatherings. A staff member will be present at each house gathering to document the ideas and concerns.
The Intern will meet one-on-one with 50 members to deepen their connection to ChaiVillageLA and to explore their leadership potential. The Intern will also meet one-on-one with 25 members who have already received or provided caring services, or are likely to need them soon, to gain insight into strengths of our existing services and perceived barriers for requesting them. Finally, the Intern, in partnership with staff, clergy and community leaders, will help create a Build-Your-Own-Synagogue-Village Toolbox for other interested synagogues to use.
We will contract a videographer to create a New Member Orientation/Training video that will be accessible to members and external volunteers.
The beneficiaries of this program will be all ChaiVillageLA members, current and future. In addition, as we are a model for working with faith communities, this program could also benefit all other villages in the country. Locally, the synagogues interested in exploring our model will benefit from our toolkit.
Our demonstrated needs are:
- We do not have replacement leaders for our current and anticipated Steering Committee openings, therefore we want to aid in transitioning to a self-renewing model of leadership.
- While about 30% of our members help in the running of the village, we aspire to have over 50% involved beyond event attendance.
- Members report that they don’t want to ask for help so we want to change their paradigm from a dependent to a more interdependent one.
- We launched a Governance Task Force that will present recommendations to our Steering Committee in March, 2019 about how to transition to a mezzanine level organization.
- Our programming is robust, high-level and diversifying. New people are offering to facilitate programs.
- Our relationships with our two synagogue partners are growing as we do more joint programming and take steps to create a multi-year sustainability plan that is mutually beneficial.
- In November, 2018, we held our first convening of twenty area synagogue clergy and lay leaders and were received with tremendous enthusiasm. In fact, we received a grant from the Jewish Venture Philanthropy Fund to create a promotional video and to hire a coach for other local synagogues who are serious about starting a village. We look forward to learning from how our model may be adapted to the specific culture and circumstances of other synagogues.
How do you measure the success of your program?
- 80% of our members attended a home gathering
- Identified 20 new emergent leaders that are ready to take on a specific role
- Determined our vision for the next 3-5 years, especially in terms of size
- Learned what changes are needed for Caring Services both in terms of services offered and how we promote them
- Increased utilization of caring services as an indication of increased trust and a shift towards a culture of interdependence
- Video is available and 20 members use it