Federation Plans a Post-Pandemic Campaign

By Rabbi Rachel Esserman

Running a Campaign during a pandemic was very difficult. Just ask Shelley Hubal, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Binghamton. “Last year’s Campaign was different from any other,” she said. “There was no Super Sunday event and it wasn’t even safe for those making phone calls to gather at the Jewish Community Center. They made phone calls from home. But our community showed its spirit by answering those calls and pledging early.”
Hubal is hoping that same spirit will continue this year. In order to include more of the community in the event and help speed the allocation process, she’s moved Super Sunday to August 29. (For more information about Super Sunday, see the article on this page.) “We changed the date of Super Sunday for several reasons,” she said. “We want to reach snow birds before they leave. The JCC and Hillel Academy do large fund-raisers in the fall, and we do not want to interfere with them. Plus the holidays are early this year so we wanted to get the process moving before people’s lives get even busier.”

According to Hubal, the past year has been a difficult one for many local Jewish organizations due to the pandemic, which means the Federation allocations are an important part of their budget. “We are hoping to raise $290,000,” she noted. “This would cover most of our allocations. COVID has reduced advertising for The Reporter, reduced the JCC’s income and has increased the needs for Jewish Family Service. So, our organizations are all in great need.”

One way to help the Federation plan for the future is by pledging early. “If we know how much money we’ll be raising before the allocation process, that is an enormous help,” Hubal said. “It also makes it easier on our volunteers since there are fewer phone calls to make and less follow-up to do.”

The Federation is looking for volunteers to make calls and write thank-you notes in support of the Campaign. “We learned last year that organizing the Campaign virtually so volunteers can do the work from home is easy,” said Hubal. “We hope to continue that this year.”
Although the past year was difficult, Hubal noted that the local community rose to the occasion. “I am so proud of the way we came together and raised money to help our Jewish organizations,” she said. “We have a wonderful community and I know that it will rise to the occasion again this year.”