Sharing Your Joyous Events with Kulanu

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What is Kulanu?

Kulanu is an organization of Jews of varied backgrounds and religious practices, founded in 1994, and dedicated to finding and assisting lost and dispersed remnants of the Jewish people.  We help individuals around the world who wish to 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?

Kulanu is the Hebrew word for “all of us.”  It was founded as a grassroots organization to encourage each of us living within strong, vibrant Jewish communities, particularly in North America, to reach out to others living in isolation—Jews, Jewish communities, and others 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 an email to mitzvahprojects @ kulanu.org or call Elliot Yadin, Kulanu’s coordinator for Mitzvah Projects, in the evenings between 7 pm and 10 pm at 301-921-9075, to let us know about your idea.   It is very important that we know of your project before you start work. 

How Can I Help Raise Money?

Here is an easy and effective way to help.  Write a personal letter saying why Kulanu is important 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.

Why Is This So Important?

Kulanu cannot continue to do its work without donor support.  The hardest part of fundraising is finding new donors.  By inviting your friends and family to contribute to Kulanu, you are introducing them to us.  Each donor will receive a one-year subscription to Kulanu's quarterly newsletter, so they can continue to learn about Kulanu's work with Jewish communities around the world.

What Should My Letter Say?

The letter should tell about Kulanu and the work that it does.  You may want to mention how you learned of Kulanu or talk about one or more of its projects and why you think it is important.  Kulanu has a packet of sample letters based on ones that have been used in the past. 

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.

Here's a sample of how to say this:

Please donate online at www.kulanu.org, or mail a check, payable to “Kulanu” to:

Kulanu
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.

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 at http://kulanu.org/getinvolved.

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 Harriet Bograd, Kulanu’s treasurer, 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, Nigeria, India, Zimbabwe, 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?

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 CD's from Kulanu’s boutique (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.