HAYIDION The Prizmah Journal

Internal Marketing to Board Members: How Empowered Lay Leaders Can Make a Difference

by Debbie Gober Issue: Marketing Across the Spectrum

The David Posnack Hebrew Day School (DPHDS) is a kindergarten through twelfth grade institution that consists of three campuses, two elementary campuses and one upper school campus comprised of a middle school and a high school. Although the DPHDS has been in existence for over thirty years, the high school only started in 1998. Because of the competitive religious and secular private schools in the area, the DPHDS has to offer something unique and special to its students. As with most Hebrew day schools, the DPHDS has a strict dual curriculum which has been instrumental in helping our students develop great time management and study skills. In fact, returning alumni have said that the dual curriculum has benefited their college career.

Our school’s successes are also a result of the hard work of its professional and lay leaders’ collaborative efforts.

We firmly believe that lay leaders have a key role in the success of the school. We emphasize the need for parents and community members to get involved with the school. Several board committees are open for membership and numerous committees for specific school events are available for additional participation. Individuals usually become more involved in the areas of their passion, for instance Judaic or general education, fund raising, and financial committees. Eventually, people may become members of the board of directors, initially the general board and then possibly the executive board. The responsibilities of the board are made public and include attendance, participation on committees, and active role in fund raising. I believe that the reason for many of our long term volunteers and board members is the genuine love for the school, the satisfaction of being a part of its success, and the commitment one has to the continuity of our Jewish heritage.

In addition, we believe that recognition and appreciation for our volunteers are crucial. This is often accomplished through our website and weekly e-mail newsletter, as well as the community’s many publications. Our students, volunteers, professional and lay leaders frequently are featured in area newspapers.

Our school’s successes are also a result of the hard work of its professional and lay leaders’ collaborative efforts. Tuition alone cannot provide for all the services needed to produce the results we’ve seen from our high school and even lower school students; therefore, lay leaders partner with professionals to raise funds for the DPHDS. This past year, an annual campaign was created to enhance many school services. Fortunately, many people believe in Winston Churchill’s saying that “we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Raising almost $500,000, the campaign also allowed donors’ gifts to be restricted to specific funds such as athletics, performing arts, and technology. Donors were recognized at all school functions, and they took great pride in the numerous accomplishments of our students, such as our athletic teams’ regional championships, our Robotics team’s success as a competition finalist, and our several Cappy nominations (county wide high school theater recognitions) for our school’s musical production.

Lay leaders and the professional staff are continuously working together at the David Posnack Hebrew Day School to improve its physical facilities, increase its programs, enhance its courses, and ensure the continuity of our Jewish heritage. Today’s students reap the benefits of the hard work, which have been done on their behalf, but our alumni prove that the school has achieved its goal of producing future Jewish leaders. We all must remember what the Mishnah says: It is not for you to complete the work, but neither are you free to abstain from it.

Debbie Gober is the Immediate Past President of the David Posnack Hebrew Day School. Debbie can be reached at: talkdebbie@aol.com

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