Measuring Success through DC Volunteerism

Conversion Rate: A Monthly Column from a DC Young Professional on the Israeli Economy (and other Misc thoughts…)image-3

Sometimes you start a monthly column on GTJ and then you get a new job. And sometimes that new job is a bit demanding of your time and that monthly column needs to be restarted a year later. Sometimes is now.

Welcome (back) to the New Conversion Rate…

I was driving up to the Jersey Shore with a couple of friends for Father’s Day weekend. As we are all active Jewish young professionals, we do what active young Jewish professionals do – start talking about upcoming marquee Jewish events in DC and which ones we’re going to go to. IMPACT? Falafel Frenzy? JNFuture’s Anchor DC Boat Cruise? GTJ’s next HH? AIPAC Policy Conference? Hanukkah on the Hill? Etc.

We weigh the options at hand by discussing cost vs. value, big events vs. small events, and more.

Our conversation steers from who is going to these events to how do we measure their success? Is it purely the amount of revenue raised, the amount of people that attend, did it sell out, did it make a profit, did it cultivate a passive volunteer to become an active leader, or can we gauge success on another metric?

We learn that a recent large Jewish event lost money, but everyone there had a great time. Is that still success?

We discussed the experience of a first time visitor of another large Jewish event being turned away at the door after schlepping from Montgomery County into DC for an open/free event that was “sold out.” The person was trying to get in and was seeing people walk out of the door but he wasn’t allowed in regardless. And the staffers of the organization were giving him a bit of attitude. He’s never attending any event from that group again and others who heard his story were disappointed in how the situation was handled. Apparently it didn’t need to be a situation. (And yes, I used situation twice there because as I earlier mentioned – we were on our way to the Jersey Shore.) So was this sold-out event a success to this individual? Was it a success to the organization?

Measuring success might seem to be more science based but sometimes it is an art-form, or maybe at the least a social science.

langsner_schwartz_presidentSo here’s an alternative measure of success. Over the last few years in DC I have volunteered my time for a number of groups whose missions I value. I’m not as active as I used to be across the board but I do what I feel I can, where I think I can, without diluting my volunteerism. I want to see a direct return on investment (ROI) of my time and treasure that I donate to a cause – whether it be a Jewish cause, a pro-Israel cause, or another cause. I often find the scarcity of my available time to be a higher treasure than making a meaningful financial gift. We all have $18, $36, $100, or more sitting around that could either go to a good cause rather than a night out on any given day.

These days I split my time between Israel Bonds and JNFutures because I can see, feel, and comprehend the direct impact that those groups make in advancing a cause that I am passionate about – literally and figuratively growing Israel.

I’m a new JNFuture member and I’m excited for what will be my first official responsibility this summer. I’m proud to support and bring recognition to the great work of JNF in advancing Israel’s clean water programs and of course in its historic work in planting 250 million trees across Israel. 250 MILLION!!! That is ROI. That is a return on investment in time and treasure. We’ll be celebrating how the Jewish National Fund is responsible for over 12 percent of Israel’s water capabilities (i.e. storage,Ad Photo reservoirs, sustainability technology) on a night on the Potomac River via a cruise for 300 young Jewish professionals on July 18.  I recently learned that JNF was more than just trees and although this will be my first JNF event, it certainly will not be my last.

I am passionate about supporting Israel and helping to advance Israel’s economy and Israel’s prosperity. That is why I started Conversion Rate on GTJ, why I blog for The Times of Israel, and why I want you to join me on the Potomac this month.

Conversion Rate represents the views of Jason Langsner.  Langsner has been active in the DC Jewish community for over 10 years.  He formerly drove the digital strategy for B’nai B’rith International.  He is an active volunteer leader in a number of Jewish communal organizations at local and national levels. He has staffed a Taglit-Birthright trip and is a former runner-up to GTJ’s Jewish Guy of the Year.

2 replies
  1. Evan Hoffman
    Evan Hoffman says:

    I am also excited to attend JNFuture’s Anchor DC event! This Saturday night boat cruise with cocktails, food, dancing, and site-seeing is a first of its kind event in the DC young professional scene. I am certain it will be one of the premier events of the year, all in support of one of the most important charities to Israel. Did you know JNF has also built a rocket-proof playground in Sderot and a 1,700 acre river walk in Be’er Sheva? Hope to see you at Anchor DC! Buy tickets at:

    • Jason Langsner
      Jason Langsner says:

      Evan – I didn’t know that. I’ll have to visit that playground on my next visit to Israel.

      Thanks for reading the post and your comment.


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