Reflections on an extraordinary fundraising campaign

By Daniel Clyne, February 9, 2012
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Over the past two months, I have had the privilege to be part of one of the most inspiring demonstrations of collective action and Jewish values that could be conceived of by any Jewish Society. From the moment Rebecca Schapira uttered the idea to me in the informal, yet ever so glamorous, setting of her kitchen, to the spectacular event on February 1, the entire journey has been extremely exciting.

What manifested itself was an event in which 100 Jewish students raised over £100 each with all the money being split equally between Tzedek, Save a Child's Heart, One Family, Tikvah, Age UK, Aegis, Chaplaincy and the Union of Jewish Students.

It seemed like there was a pretty high mountain to climb

This culminated in an evening which consisted of a huge game of Twister between all of the 100 for 100 participants, with the winner receiving a free return flight to Israel courtesy of El Al and UJS, and copious amounts of cake, crisps and alcohol being consumed before an amazing time at Nottingham's most popular clubbing night.

But going back to its conception, it seemed like there was a pretty high mountain to climb, with the most frequent question from friends and other students being, "It's a great idea in theory, but how can you be sure that you will get 100 Jewish students to commit to investing their time and effort into something like this?"

I would be lying if I said that we were never in doubt and had all the answers but we had a few ideas. We tried to create a buzz by circulating silly videos, introducing mini-fundraising competitions between friends, printing t-shirts and launching a relentless assault on social media!

But the reality is that the success of this event was mostly out of our hands. Its success would be dependent almost entirely on the values and commitment of Nottingham JSoc.

Fast forward two months and 100 for 100 has been an incredible success. With Nottingham JSoc having raised more than £11,100, I can now answer the question that was so frequently asked throughout the entire period and that puzzled us both.

How can anyone be sure that 100 Jewish students will commit to investing their time and effort into something like this? Because it is in their nature. Jewish students and, more generally, the Jewish community do incredible things every day. 100for100 was merely a microcosm of what we stand for as active Jewish people and the reality is that there should never have been any doubt that Nottingham JSoc would rise to the challenge. And, my word, how high they rose.

If any student at any other JSoc feels deterred from starting something similar, just remember how wonderful our community is. And then, all of a sudden, you realise that the mountain that you have to climb is a lot smaller than you thought.

Daniel Clyne is a law student at Nottingham University. Follow him on Twitter here. A version of this piece appears on the UJS website here.

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Last updated: 11:22am, February 9 2012