Nonprofit Tech Tips from a Wired Rabbi

You’ve heard me harp on about how religious and secular nonprofits need to get with the program and start using technology to build community. A post I came across on the Jewish Common Sense blog by Rabbi Randall J. Konigsburg proves I’m not the only one talking about it.

Konisburg’s call-to-action pleads, “if we Rabbis can’t change, if the community can’t change, then we will fade into history.” Even if that change is a challenge, it’s necessary. To help soothe the transition from an old-fashioned world to a brave new one, he gives loads of insight for churches and synagogues.

His posting outlines all sorts of friendly upgrades synagogues can make (which can be applied to any church and many nonprofit environments), with special emphasis on technology. A few helpful takeaways, in no particular order, which you can use as a checklist for getting your own technology policy in gear:

  • Forget websites that open up to a picture of a building. Home pages should have pictures of people having fun.
  • Do congregants share information online through a listserv?
  • Is there a social network group so they can see which friends will be attending a program this week?
  • How many congregations have free wifi in the lobby or in a meeting room so waiting parents can use their laptops while they wait for children in lessons?
  • Websites must be updated weekly and have up to the minute information.
  • It should be possible to sign up for a program and even pay for it online.
  • You can mail notices to seniors, but young people want their messages by email.
  • Adult Education classes should be recorded and placed as podcasts on the website, for those who missed, in a timely fashion. Even better, video the class and post it as a webcast.
  • Rabbis, Cantors, and Educators need to use blogs and the web to stay in touch and teach modern Jews.
  • Event pictures and video should be posted on the web within days if not hours.
  • And why not have a section of the synagogue website for members only?
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