The Ins and Outs of Jewish Fundraisers
From Chinese Auctions to ad journals.
Jewish fundraisers come in all shapes and sizes. No matter what community you are part of, you must pay your dues, and then you must give more money. On the other hand many Jews complain about the cost of Jewish life so it occurred to me that the best advice I could think of would be to be thrifty in your Jewishness and avoid fundraisers.
For me, I got out of America. I had to. I did not have enough money, and I knew there were issues when my accountant suggested I convert.
But I was in America for long enough and I learned some important ways of getting out of fundraisers that may help you pay your kid’s tuition.
All places of worship build a building and then spend the next 80 years chasing down money to keep the building. This is known as the building fund.
First step in avoiding the building fund is to stay away from any shul that has a thermometer. Any large piece of cardboard with a non-digital thermometer on it means they need money. Do not worry about the building’s health, even if its temperature is 12 degrees Fahrenheit.
These are people that other people like, who have a lot of friends. The organizations use these people to get others to come out to the fundraiser.
Over the years, I have made it a point to have friends that nobody likes. I was going broke on friends who were affable. I noticed a disturbing pattern; the shul was honoring these people. These friendly people offering to pay for dinner, when you go out together, is just a guise before the big blow of the $1800 you will be putting out for their honorees dinner. If you can find unlovable friends who are also poor, you have struck gold.
Stay away from the dinner where they honor people at all cost. Don’t feel bad about missing the dinner. I would suggest sitting at home and microwaving a TV dinner. You will save a good $500.
You will know it is a fundraiser when the Feldberg family gets honored for being great community members. When people get honored for accomplishing nothing, that is a clear sign it is a fundraiser. If there is more than one couple on the bill, that is another clear sign it is a fundraiser and that the person who deserves to get honored, and is second on the poster, is not popular enough. Nobody cares that you brought the children out of Sudan. Do you have friends? That is what we care about.
For this reason, you should also avoid friends who have solved any worldwide crisis, such as starvation or disease. Your friends should be unhelpful and unfriendly people.
You will also feel better about yourself when you don’t offend the people of the Far East by taking part in the ‘Chinese Auction.’ That is an offensive way to say ‘raffle,’ and something that non-profits do at dinners, to keep Chinese people from wanting to convert to Western religions.
This is a journal for the people to see that people cared that they were honored.
I say ‘Mazel Tov’ in person. I don’t need my ‘Mazel Tov’ taking up a full page of letterhead, for $1,200. ‘Mazel Tov’ should not be that expensive. I already paid $500 for the dinner.
Don’t be friends with anybody that runs. They will ask you to pay for their hobby, and camouflage it with raising money for some charity. What you are really funding is their yearly winter trip down to Miami.
If you get a message about sponsoring a marathon, ask them to sponsor your hobbies. You like amusement parks, ask them to sponsor your trip down Disney World this winter.
Double your donation. This is the new community scam. And it’s always an emergency. ‘Somebody is willing to donate $100,000, but only if you match their grant over the next 24 hours.’ People with money are only rich for a day. That is why the matching grant is always on the 24-hour crisis cycle. Don’t let the crisis get to you. The building fund will still be there tomorrow, with the ancient looking thermometer.
Don’t be fooled, this has nothing to do with the Super Bowl. Instead, the Jewish Federation calls you on this day. My parents were out all day. I had to sit by the phone and lie to anybody who called. It was the worst Sunday of my childhood. Lesson: On Super Sunday, hide in your home and make your children lie.
You know who is going to call you? Your friends. Know your friends and make sure that none of them are stealth agents with underhanded ulterior motives of caring about community.
The Appeal Card
Never flip over a tab on a piece of paper. You think those are just numbers. No. Those things are money. As fun as it is to flip the tabs, this is not a game. This is not Monopoly. They will hunt you down for that crease you put in the postcard looking thing.
Save the Date
Stay away from anything that says ‘Save the Date.’ That means that something expensive is coming up.
If you get one of these, pretend you didn’t see it and plan a trip for the ‘Date.’ Save it for something you will enjoy, which is cheaper than the fundraiser. A family trip to the Netherlands is a good way to save the money.
This turns every person into a charity organization. And they get you digitally.
It is tough to tell who really needs the money with crowdfunding. You have people who need limb and kidney transplants, people who are starving, other people are having a bad day who need money to cheer them up, somebody who wants to transfer their songs from cassette to CD. The moral compass of crowdfunding charitable needs is very hazy. If it is somebody raising money for a marathon, make sure you defriend them.
Friends are bad. Facebook started now with this new ‘donate money on my birthday to greenery.’ Stay away from all people with birthdays.
To avoid fundraisers altogether, do what I did and move to Israel. In Israel, the fundraisers for the community take place in America. If you still live in America, make sure to get rid of all friends that you like. And remember, never pay your dues.