Sharing Your Joyous Events with Kulanu
What is Kulanu?
Kulanu is a non-profit organization, founded in 1994 by Jews of varied backgrounds and religious practices and dedicated to supporting isolated and emerging Jewish communities around the world. We help people reconnect with their Jewish roots, and work with communities in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas to enrich their Jewish learning and practice of Judaism. We work on projects for sustainable development and infrastructure improvement with communities in Asia and Africa. In addition, we operate an online boutique that sells books, CDs, handicrafts and Judaica from and about the communities. You can read more about our work with different communities at www.kulanu.org and order products from www.kulanuboutique.com
Who Can Help?
Anyone can help!
Kulanu is the Hebrew word for "all of us". It was founded as a grassroots effort to encourage each of us living within strong, vibrant Jewish communities, particularly in North America, to reach out to Jews living in isolation - as well as groups and individuals attempting to trace Jewish roots - and help bring them into the “all of us” that is the worldwide Jewish community.
Sharing your joyous event with Kulanu is a particularly effective way to become involved.
Before you start planning, visit the Mitzvah Project page on Kulanu's web site, www.kulanu.org/mitzvahprojects. After you've read the material there, send us an email or call the Kulanu office at 1-212-877-8082 between 1pm and 5:30pm EST on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, to let the Mitzvah Project Team know about your idea. It is very important that we know of your project before you start work.
Why is a Kulanu Mitzvah Project So Important?
Kulanu cannot continue to do its work without donor support, and one of the hardest parts of fundraising is finding new donors. By inviting your friends and family to contribute to Kulanu, you are introducing them to "all of us" - most people are fascinated to discover all the far-away places where Jewish communities are emerging, and are inspired to get involved in supporting them. Every donor receives Kulanu's newsletter for one year (published two to three times annually), so they can continue to learn about Kulanu's work with Jewish communities around the world.
How Do I Help?
Here's an easy and effective way to support the knowledge and connections of Jews everywhere: Write a personal letter saying what Kulanu and its mission means to you, and include it with the invitations to your wedding, anniversary party, birthday or other celebration. Kulanu supporters often raise $1,000 to $4,000 simply by doing this, and they are delighted at how easily they can make a difference. When you include the letter with your invitation, even people who can't come to the event can still help.
To see your impact growing "live" - and to make it easy for your freinds and family to contribute - create a Personal Fundraising Page (PFP)! This web-based social media program allows you to easily create your own page (or simply pick one of Kulanu's templates) where people can read your message and donate directly online, or even register as part of your team. For an example, check out David's PFP.
What Should My Letter Say?
Please note that we ask you to send your letter to the Kulanu Mitzvah Project team first, before sending it out to your invitees.
The letter should tell about Kulanu and the work that we do. You may want to mention how you learned of Kulanu or talk about one or more of its projects or communities, and why you think it is important. Kulanu has sample letters available to get you started.
Your letter should end by telling donors that they have the option of either donating online or sending checks directly to Kulanu (not to you). The checks must be payable to "Kulanu." They should put your name in the Memo field of their check, or in the Comments field online (when a donor gives through your own PFP, they don't have to do that - gifts are automatically credited to your fundraiser when they go through your PFP link).
Here's an example of how to say this:
Please donate online at www.kulanu.org, or mail a check, payable to "Kulanu" to:
c/o Harriet Bograd, President
165 West End Ave., Apt. 3R
New York, NY 10023
Please mention my name in the online comments field or in the memo field of your check.
Do I Need to Inform Kulanu of My Project?
Yes. This enables us to track accurately the donations sent as a result of your letter. In addition, it is important that we:
- review and approve your fundraising letter before you send it out,
- get to know you and your project, so that we can answer questions if donors call Kulanu directly, and
- cheer you on!
Who Will Send Thank You Letters?
When Kulanu receives a contribution in your honor, we will promptly send the donor a thank you letter, which also confirms that their donation is tax-deductible. Kulanu will also let you know who has made donations in your honor so you can send your own personal thank you to each donor. (And again, you and everyone else will be able to see the donations come in when you use a PFP.)
Can I Say How the Money Will be Spent?
You can ask for donations to support all of the work that Kulanu does or for one of the Kulanu funds listed on the Getting Involved page on the Kulanu web site.
Because Kulanu is volunteer-driven, we must limit the number of funds we manage. Any restriction on the money that you raise must be approved by us in advance.
How Does Kulanu Use the Money It Receives?
The funds you raise will be used to assist the communities that we work with in Uganda, Cameroon, India, Zimbabwe, El Salvador, and elsewhere. No more than 10% of the funds collected are used for overhead and operating expenses such as Kulanu's small part-time staff, mailings, and newsletter. Our programs cover a broad range of activities including education, research, introductions and contacts, and development.
How Can I Learn More About Kulanu, the Communities it Works With, and the Work that It Does?
- Visit www.kulanu.org
- Read the Kulanu newsletter at www.kulanu.org/newsletters
- Watch our slideshow at www.kulanu.org/about-kulanu/
- Read Under One Canopy: Readings in Jewish Diversity (available from kulanuboutique.com), compiled and edited by honorary Kulanu Board member and former newsletter editor, Karen Primack.
What Else Can I Do To Enrich My Celebration and Raise Awareness about Kulanu?
- Miriam from MA showed a slide show about the Abayudaya at her wedding shower.
- Joel in MD discussed Kulanu's work in Nigeria in his bar mitzvah d'var torah, and he arranged for an article in the Washington Jewish Week about Nigerian Jews, Kulanu, and his bar mitzvah project.
- Paige in CA set up an exhibit about Kulanu at her bat mitzvah.
- Sandon in CT bought Abayudaya music CDs from Kulanu's online marketplace (www.kulanuboutique.com) and gave them as party favors.
What Else Can I Do to Raise Funds?
- Sandon in CT made and sold jewelry and donated proceeds.
- Lynne's family asked invitees to donate to the Abayudaya in honor of her 85th birthday, and surprised Lynne with this gift at her celebration.
- Justin in NJ made a haunted house in his basement for Halloween, invited the kids in the neighborhood, and asked for donations for Kulanu. He showed the Abayudaya slide show nearby.
- Juliana in VA sold Mirembe Kawomera Coffee (www.DeliciousPeace.com). She sold it for more than the price she paid, and donated the profits to Kulanu.
- Hebrew High School students in Ithaca, NY had a concert to raise money.
- Zak from NY had his bar mitzvah in Uganda, and instead of paying for a big party, his family donated two classrooms to the Abayudaya school, and worked with local kids to decorate the rooms.
Should I Collect Things to Send Overseas?
No, not unless you or one of your friends will be traveling overseas to personally deliver what you've collected. Most of the time, the shipping costs are very expensive and there are many problems in making use of shipped goods.
Thank You for sharing your joyous occasion with Kulanu and isolated and emerging Jewish communities around the world!
Please use our Mitzvah Project Contact Form to let us know your thoughts and ideas, as well as questions. You can also call the Kulanu office at 1-212-877-8082 between 1pm and 5:30pm EST on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays to discuss your plans. We hope to hear from you soon!