ROI, I Love You, But…

July 9, 2010

Broken Heart of Social Media

This could have been my love letter to ROI.  But it’s not. I’m frustrated. ROI, you can do better and I want to lay out a basic outline of how.

Social Media Bonanza

If you’re not familiar with ROI, this organization is focused around an annual global summit of young Jewish innovators. It is supported by a PR company that does advance media, a blog, a Facebook page, a YouTube channel, a Flickr account, and a Twitter feed as well as hashtag– all linked here.

So what could I possibly be complaining about? They have all their bases covered, right?

Well, no. I don’t think they fully practice what they preach– and I’m saying this as a 2009 ROI fellow as well as someone who has been in contact with ROI offering them my support on numerous occasions with regard to social media and web content. I’m saying this out of love: ROI, you can do better.

What’s the Problem, Exactly?

The two primary problems I identify are as follows:

  • There’s a disconnect between the Summit and the rest of the year, and
  • A disconnect between those actively participating in the Summit and those on the outside

With all the excitement generated for the Summit, there’s no carry through for those who aren’t participating. The ROI blog is updated minimally and there don’t seem to be many blog posts coming from participants– which makes sense because they’re really, really busy.

The primary way to follow the Summit is via ROI’s hashtag, which is #roicom. But how much can you really say in 152 characters? Well, I believe that you can get your point across quite effectively, but it has to be a concerted effort: not just comments but actual commentary.

— Now you have an idea of the problem. Keep reading to hear the solution. —

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Slingshot Fund Shows Promise for the Next Generation of Jewish Philanthropists

December 16, 2007

Envisioning the Future
Photo by Nic McPhee

The promise to the next generation has always been bigger and better. But when it comes to Jewish philanthropy, young entrepreneurs are shaking their heads– “We want our own vision,” they say. “That was yours.”

So what is the future of Jewish philanthropy and Jewish organizations? Today’s leader in cutting edge philanthropy is the Slingshot Fund. If Jewish innovation is what you want, then the Slingshot Fund is where to get it.

Why You Should Care About the Slingshot Fund

The epitome of an 21st century organization geared to take on the challenges of the upcoming decade, Slingshot is best known for its annually released “Slingshot Resource Guide to American Jewish Innovation.”

In its efforts to identify and sponsor organizations in the Jewish community based on emerging interests and priorities, Slingshot serves as a catalyst and a conduit for getting young social entrepreneurs involved in Jewish giving.

8 Grants for 5768

The Slingshot Fund’s $360,000 inaugural grants were announced this week. Here are the 8 lucky grantees:

  • Goldring/Woldenberg Institute for Southern Jewish Life, providing educational and rabbinic services to isolated Jewish communities, and documenting Southern Jewish lie
  • JDub Records, promoting Jewish values and community connections through reggae and hip hop (think: Matisyahu)
  • Jewish Funds for Justice, promoting vibrant Jewish communities and skillful leaders
  • Just Vision, using media and educational tools to raise awareness and encourage civic participation in grassroots peacebuilding
  • Ikar, creating new models for spiritual Jewish communities, with novel experimentation with rituals, study, and social justice
  •, connecting families and Jewish communities across religious and spiritual modalities
  • Reboot, creating multi-media experiences in Jewish culture through literature, entertainment and social action for young adults
  • Storahtelling, performing weekly Torah portions and stories in schools and synagogues

What We Can Learn From This List

Now you know the who, but what about the why? What can we learn about current trends in Jewish philanthropy from this list? What does it tell us about how we envision our future?

It is no secret that young Jews are feeling increasingly disconnected from the large scale federated system of Jewish philanthropy housed in the United Jewish Communities.

Young people want more control than the federations can offer. They want direct routes to giving, transparent processes, and fuller accountability than their parents’ generation. Gone are the days when we trust in institutions and middle men to do our giving for us. We want direct control to ensure the maximum impact of our philanthropic dollar.

In a world where the prerequisites to social inclusion are often deemed insurmountable, young social activists are looking for answers. Slingshot provides a solution.

Look to this year’s Slingshot grantees and Guide members as leaders in taking on the Jewish community challenges that are to come.

(Keep reading for recommendations on learning more.)

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