Local Jewish community studies are a fixture of Jewish communal life in the United States. But how are the findings used after a study is completed and shared with the community? Early last summer (2919), we gathered lay and professional leaders from 15 communities that have conducted studies with CMJS/SSRI for a two-day meeting, “From Research to Action: Using Community Studies Data for Program Planning and Policy.” We asked them to share what they had learned or hoped to learn from their local study and discuss best practices around strategic planning, fundraising, and rollouts.
Community representatives shared a range of action steps their federations and agencies had taken as a result of report findings. Some mentioned earmarking funds for programs in an underserved geographic area after learning that their Jewish population had spread there. Others used their study to help decide which programs should be scaled up and which should be merged or eliminated. Study results were used by communities to reconsider the role and structure of the federation, to guide strategic planning, and to aid in fundraising efforts for new initiatives. Shari Merrill, Chief Impact Officer, Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, described a “paradigm shift” in fundraising, allocating funds, and the community engagement model as a result of the 2017 Washington, DC study. Continue reading