12 Mar

Synagogue Self-Assessment: Are you Positioned to Survive or Thrive?

Synagogues no longer can take for granted business as usual. To assess your synagogue’s real situation, start with an honest assessment using the questions below in partnership with your executive staff and lay leadership.

  1. Vision
  • Does your synagogue have a current, clear, compelling and inspirational vision?
  • Do you have a current strategic plan to move the synagogue toward its vision?
  • Is your strategic plan a working document?
  1. Finances
  • Have you analyzed your expenses and thought about ways to reduce costs both in the short and long terms?
  • Have analyzed projected revenue figures based on membership and demographic trends?
  • Are you optimizing your assets?
  • Do you have a mature culture of philanthropy?
  • Do you have a diverse philanthropic portfolio?
  1. Collaboration
  • Do you actively look for opportunities to collaborate with other synagogues and organizations?
  • What are some areas or opportunities that might exist for your synagogue to collaborate with other institutions?
  • Who might be likely collaborators?
  1. Membership
  • Are you currently in a shrinking, retention or growth mode?
  • Have you studied your membership trends and data and looked at your area demographics?
  • Do you think your current membership model is sustainable? Have you researched other models?
  • Are you practicing radical hospitality?
  • How can you reduce barriers?
  • How can you meet members where they are?
  • Do you foster a “raving fans” culture?
  1. Marketing
  • Do you have a marketing plan?
  • Is your website clear, fresh and up-to-date?
  • Have you trained everyone to be ambassadors?
  • Are you leveraging your “raving fans”?
  • Do you communicate in real-time on multiple channels?
  1. Operations
  • How does the back-end of the temple run?
  • Do you have the right people on the bus?
  • Are you taking advantage of the latest technologies?
  • How would most of your members describe the level of customer service they receive?
  1. Leadership

        Lay Leadership

  • Do you cultivate, on-board, train and develop your board with intentionality?
  • Do you have a strong succession plan in place?
  • Are you investing in your leaders?
  • Are your lay leaders and staff working in partnership?

        Professional Leadership

  • Do you have the right people on the bus?
  • What additional functions or roles do you need or want to add?
  1. Programs and Services
  • Have you done a mapping of your existing services and programs?
  • Are you evaluating your programs?
  • Are you offering programs outside your physical space?
  • Are you creating a culture that supports innovation?
  • Are you offering innovative service and programs?
  1. The Rabbi’s Role(s)
  • What are your Rabbi’s primary roles?
  • What new roles have she/he recently taken on or are planning to assume?
  • What are she/he NOT doing – or plan to stop doing – so she/her can perform these new roles?
  • How do you prioritize responsibilities?

If you take this assessment and need help optimizing your organization, please reach out for a free 30-minute consultation. I want your synagogue not just to survive but to thrive.

Nanette Fridman, MPP, JD, is President of Fridman Strategies, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in strategic planning, financial resource development, governance and leadership coaching for nonprofits. She is the author of “On Board: What Current and Aspiring Board Members Must Know About Nonprofits & Board Service.”

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There are 1 comments on this post.

  1. Susan Levine

    March 12, 2017

    This is a great list that’s applicable for almost any non-profit. I see lots of crossover for day schools as well. Very helpful!

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