NEVADA | Scotch, Steak and Successful Men’s Engagement Initiatives

Dec 14, 2020

Spotlight on Megan Stolberg-Weintraub, Director of Annual Giving and Women’s Philanthropy at Jewish Nevada and the community’s vibrant Men’s Engagement template and programming.

How did this Men Engagement program come together?

After working with Women’s Philanthropy and seeing a nationally curated Women’s Philanthropy movement, NWP, we thought there was something missing when it came to men. Historically, there had not been an established men’s division. At the end of 2017, a local lay leader approached the Federation looking to start up men’s programming. It all started with a scotch tasting event at a steakhouse with a goal of engaging this group of men (about 25 in attendance), making them donors, and increasing our annual campaign fundraising. And thus, the Men's division was born. After two years of working to engage this group, we were at the point where we could plan and execute a campaign event. The first official campaign event took place in November 2019 and was an exclusive behind the scenes tour of the Las Vegas Raiders new stadium. The event was limited to 30 people, had a $1,000 minimum gift and a $250 cover. It sold out in 48 hours. Clearly we had a space to fill!

How did you market this event to sell out so quickly?

When we started to develop the men’s engagement strategy in 2017, we pulled a list of our previous donors and event attendees and handpicked through our network 100-150 men with capacity and invited them to the first event. This list has continued to grow as people are learning more about these men’s events and wanting to get involved. The list now sits at about 250 people. The Men’s Division events do not use Facebook events or flyers – the only means of communication is this listserv. Our Men’s Division chair helps draft each email and replies to recipients as if they are his peers (which in most cases they are). We have taken a curated and targeted approach to marketing our men’s events instead of marketing out to the masses.

How have you brought these newly engaged donors into your leadership circles?

Well, as the men’s division grew, we started to develop a committee. Most of the men that participate are business owners or c-suite executives, so we found that meeting over zoom was very productive even in pre-COVID times. We wanted to make Federation easy and accessible to these men. The Men’s Division is for the active Jewish man who prioritizes being Jewish. Along the way, tons of social, communal, and more personal and professional benefits coincide. Most men who are involved in the men’s division are 35-55. Prior to COVID, we scheduled for an event every two months. Even during COVID we were able to keep up the same cadence but moved the events online. The Men’s Division committee would come up with the concepts, use their connections to find a location and then hand it off to us to run with the logistics. We hope that the Men’s Division can be a first step into bring some new faces to our Board of Directors and other leadership positions within the Federation.

During these events, is there a Federation pitch or story? How do men become familiar with Federation?

Yes! During each program, we make sure to include some sort of Federation education piece. We try not to oversell Federation but make sure that it is included in every event and program that the Men’s Division puts together.  

Is there any sort of minimum giving level or recognition?

Yes! We have an annual event with a minimum giving level of $1,000 to attend . We are planning to increase that minimum giving level to $1,800 and formally calling it the Solomon Society. Our chair and leadership lead the way with their giving, and they in turn inspire others. These trends follow what we already see and know from Pomegranate and Lion of Judah giving in Women’s philanthropy. We had planned to do a backyard event sponsored by a member of the Men’s Division. Due to COVID, we adjusted the event to be virtual with $1,800, minimum giving level. The day of the event each attendee was delivered a steak box which included steaks, seasonings, sauces, and grilling instructions. They also received a Men’s Division backpack. The guys enjoyed their steaks while listening to a fireside chat, followed by a Q & A session with Marc Badain, President of the Raiders. We gave out the first Men’s Division Lifetime Mensch Award. This will become an annual event (hopefully in person in the future) and each year we will have an honoree.

As you look towards the future, what do you hope to come of this?

We would like to see this become an established campaign movement just like Lion of Judah or Pomegranate. There are established men who are not giving to campaign because they do not feel connected, we hope this will help them get their foot in the door and see the value in Federation.  

Megan Stolberg-Weintraub will join us for a zoom session on MARCH 16TH at 12:00 PM (ET) // 9:00 AM (PT). Register below.