Quite corny, but always ends as pure true. Doing good to others is doing good to yourself.
Got to confess, I did not hold this opinion for all of my life. I sometimes fall into the evil trap, I sometimes do not believe there is good; however, when I eventually go through challenges, I am a better person, and so you are.
You are a better person, because you did good – you helped someone. So in fact you improved a bad situation. Most of the good people do not even know they incredibly helped someone, watch St. Vincent and judge for yourself…
I am sure he did not plan to be that positively influential, but so you are when you are doing without planning. You never know how much and why you influence someone’s life.
So next time you are somewhere, try to do good to others intentionally, be aware of your unlimited opportunities to sprinkle good and positive around you. Help someone on the road (even when giving them the option to change a lane safely), on the supermarket (you may entertain a kid when his parent is trying to pack, push, put, pay, etc.), you may even consider raise your hand and ask why if you think your company will do harm to the environment.
Just do good, it pays. It pays because it makes you a better person; and when you do good intentionally, you will do it also unintentionally (-:
Can we predict the future?! Future thinking is essential for every community, especially a dynamic and changing community such as the Jewish community in the GTA.
In this article, I would like to shortly describe the potential reality of Toronto’s Jewish community within 10-30 years from today. I based my analysis on the UN data, Statistics Canada data, UJA data and publications, and futurism methodology for the probable future. This article is focused on critical meta-trends which may affect the Jewish community in the GTA as a group. However, please bear in mind, the probable future methodology has up to 70% reliability, so consider actions and plans carefully.
I summarize the article by pointing out the most relevant and urgent needs and suggest routes to address them.
Demography and fertility
There is a wide agreement that the world population is in significant decrease. This trend may continue and affect the balance between young (up to 5 years old) and old (65 years and up). Consequently, humanity will be older, and the shrinking number of young people will need to carry the economy and pay health costs for the increasing number of elderly. Canada and Ontario are not going to experience it differently, and the demographic shift will occur between 2030 and 2050. In addition, even when skilled immigration is taken into account, which artificially increases the labour force, the shift will eventually occur, if delayed a bit. Demographic research done for the Jewish community in GTA about a decade ago shows the demographic shift is close and probably will happen in advance of mainstream Canadian society, i.e. 5-15 years from today, and will increase gradually.
Canadian immigration policy is rapidly changing, but it is safe to assume that Canada will continue to accept immigrants steadily, at a 20% ratio, more or less. The majority of immigrants choose to live in GTA; so, too, the Jewish immigrants. An independent census done by UJA in 2001 has shown that 19% of the Jewish population are immigrants. Forecasts from 2009 mistakenly predicted an increase in the immigrant numbers in the community due to improper use of extrapolative methods. The facts show that immigrant numbers are steady and even decreased a bit. However, when additional variables enter into the equation – the forecast requires re-thinking. Firstly, the fertility rate among Israeli woman is 2.9 children, yet among Jewish-Canadian – 1.8. Therefore, the next Israeli generation will be larger and more significant than today. Secondly, from 2025-2040 Israeli immigrants will reach their top consumptive and productive age (40-60 years old). Hence, their economic value within the community will be gradually increasing. Thirdly, intermarriage among Israelis is close to zero, whereas among Jewish-Canadians the intermarriage rate is about 20%. As a result, the Israeli section within the community will preserve Jewish identity almost completely within that time.
Labour and income A province of Ontario publication from 2011 shows beyond a doubt that immigrant income is very low, and in fact there is always an income gap between immigrant and Canadian born individuals. Additional governmental data show that immigrants cost billions of dollars to the Canadian economy even when their tax payments are taken into account. The Jewish-Israeli immigrant’s situation is pretty similar: two-thirds of households earn less than average income; and only 20% have more than $70k yearly income. Therefore, a major part of the Jewish immigrant is in need for economic assistance. The Jewish immigrant families are larger (as shown above), and we may therefore infer that about two-thirds of the Jewish immigrants are close or slightly above the poverty line. A vital additional variable in this equation is philanthropy. In short, the golden era of philanthropy is over, there is more debt and the inequality of distribution of wealth is growing. Therefore we might assume that fundraising will be increasingly difficult with time.
Social generations and community giving
The World Globalization Index is an important tool for comparison between countries, and it is calculated by an aggregation of social, political, technological, economic and other indicators. Canada is ranked lower with time; whereas in 2006 Canada was ranked in 6th place, in 2013 it was ranked 12th (which is still high, but reflects a steady decrease). When taking the index into account with the above trends, it seems that Canada is stable and highly ranked, however it faces socio-economic challenges which will confront the country with emergency needs to address, such as keeping unemployment rate, population growth, and immigration under control, maintaining the benefit for Canada in both the long and short term alike. In addition, we have to bear in mind the social generation issue. In short, the Baby Boomers (born 1946-64) are holding key positions nowadays, however their influence is about to gradually decrease, and the Millennials (born 1980-2000) will be in charge. The Millennials do not hold the same set of values of Boomers, and their feeling is that the system is in collapse, and that there is an urgent need to fix everything. This generation will take leadership in a very short time, within this foresight timeframe. Therefore, we may assume that Millennials will act in a way of strengthening family and communal values, and less in preserving systems which lost community trust.
Food for thought
This foresight for the Jewish community in the GTA for the next twenty years is complex and complicated. The Jewish community is a small group compared to the general GTA population, as well as to Ontario and Canada as a whole. Yet, this analysis is essential and vital for the future of the community, and we may infer some practical steps and take some action:
There is a need for collective community thinking regarding the demographic shift, with more focus on the increasing number of elderly as opposed to the decreasing number of children. We may assume that the country will not be ready to face this challenge on time, and assist the Jewish community. Moreover, the burden will grow with time.
For the next 20-30 years, the Israeli population in Canada will stay more or less the same size as today, however their purchasing power as well as income will increase. In addition, the Jewish immigrants will hold a key role in preserving Jewish identity as a whole.
There is a need to understand that the economic starting point for Jewish immigrants is much lower than Jewish-Canadian born individuals. Therefore, there is a need to assist them by all means, in order to enable them to establish in Canada, and assist communal needs within one generation ahead.
There is a need to take into account that fundraising is going to be complicated, and it will be difficult to increase the amount of donations. There is a need to rethink and innovate about fundraising (higher payment for services instead of donations by those who are established, using volunteers for communal bodies, etc.).
The Millennials will hold the next leadership positions within this foresight time frame, and will deal with strengthening the community’s values and systems. Therefore there is a need to revise and revisit the traditional way of thinking of how to recruit and engage the community around these values, so it will be supported among as many as possible
In summary, the Jewish community of Toronto needs to revisit and revise its investments as well as its manner of outreach and engagement, in order to enable Millennials to take true leadership positions and integrate the Israelis into the community. The key components to influence our community’s future are in our hands; however the desired change will probably not occur without real actions taken. Hence, involving more groups in planning and implementing alike is essential.
* The article was published in “Shalom Toronto” newspaper in Hebrew as well as in English on March 2015.
Ahhmmm…. got to tell you I am excited.
In the past weeks, I have had the opportunity to meet many professionals virtually, especially thanks to our lovely brother LinkedIn. I found myself in a process of learning, that I missed so much! well, enough with the introductions, let’s start thinking (-:
I would like to take it one step ahead, and correct me if I am wrong, the operations-minded people are usually dealing with something we can touch, or at least can see impact simply just by looking what the organization does – water, agriculture, farms, vaccines, you name it. The impact measurement in this type of organizations is a short and sweet ROI analysis. Efficiency, effectiveness, benchmark, and performance measurement are relatively easy to conduct, as well as goals and objectives setting.
Another important suggestion was to collaborate and cooperate, and even amalgamate organizations that do the same/similar work. I agree with this way of thinking but would like to ask you managers – will you work on your ego and let another organization to work with you or instead of you? Think about it. If it works – there may be great, extremely successful models of business supply chain management, which employ this attitude – more for less – by a chain of organizations. Phrase it like this: The bottom-line is the VALUE profit. As long as there are organizations which may do the same, or even better than your organization – the real impact will be achieved by working together, and collaborate. It also saves you money, and reduces costs!
I know it is the hard part of managers’ ego, but probably one of the realistic ways to save the sector alive in terms of impact.
In short, the question to ask yourself is this – What is your organization’s unique selling proposition? What is your competitive advantage on others? What is the special value your organization creates? You supposed to have a very good answer to this question.
An additional note in this regard, is Collective Impact. Someone referred me to the collective impact website. I researched it, and browsed the web, and I must compliment them for doing the first operations step – creating coalitions and collaborations in order to increase the impact. However, this is only the first necessary step. The sector is getting shrunk, and will continue this trend, therefore there is a vital need to amalgamate or eliminate ineffective programs, not just collaborate.
The Social Value Impact Aspect
The problem of impact comes to life again when we deal with the social hot potato, and you know what?! I am dealing with it!
There is certainly a broad agreement on the need, although I must admit that I am still shocked to see huge foundations refuse to measure themselves (ego and power issues??)… But let’s put it aside. Just another small reference – social enterprises are a relatively small part of the nonprofit sector. I will never call them the “forth sector”, because they are not. I will never agree that they act differently than the third sector, they are value-driven, and this is the crucial aspect. They DO NOT care about money more than value, and DO NOT care about profit and value the same way. Therefore they DO NOT have double bottom-line, but one, and the last is very similar to the pure nonprofits. I can count few real social enterprises, but they will be again the ones we can touch – bakery, restaurant, agriculture, cafe, and the like.
Show me one social services enterprise… it ain’t exist, because it is impossible, and here comes the social impact measurement to help us.
I did not define Standardization last time, so here it is: in my opinion is needs to be simple. The metrics should include up to 4 core elements, which will be relevant across the sector. By this, there will be an option to compare between one organization to another. There is an option to add as many as indicators you like and want, and it won’t harm the metrics, but will give your organization the specific information you are looking for.
So, this is my review, happened somehow to be very small and narrowed…
I rank tools in 1-3 scale. 1=low, 2=medium, 3=high. Hence, the highest total score is 9.
I try to keep it as simple as possible, so do not rank 1-10 or something like that.
An important note! If your organization does not have a work plan which included vision, goals, and objectives, you cannot employ social impact measurement at this time. You MUST define the above in advance. Do not know how to do it? Drop in my post on setting goals, and keep up the good work!
SROI I love this measure, however and in short, this does not apply in many social services and education nonprofits. If you are dealing with employment or any other outcomes which involve money, this may be the measure for you. Usefulness (1): Applies to a narrow type of organizations (usually employment services, financial assistance, micro finance, and similar) Friendliness (1) If you do not learn it thoroughly, and gain lots of knowledge – you probably won’t be able to conduct a reliable SROI analysis Standardization (2) This part gets high score, because lots of research has been done, however there is no option to apply it broadly enough. Total score: 4/9, 44%/100%
GRI / IRIS I like the business attitude. This metrics will not save your life, but definitely will give you a way to benchmark your organization. This tool is used by many for-profits in order to monitor their performance, so I would rank it as the following: Usefulness (1): it gets a low score here, because I am not sure how it is going to help many organizations in their day-to-day management in terms of measuring social outcomes. However some organizations might fall under the suggested social objectives, so I suggest to check it out. Friendliness (2): the tool seems to be highly recommended and highly used by a variety of organizations. It does not gain the 3 points, because it does not fit every organization. Standardization (2): you win the entire pot here. The tool is absolutely standardized, and you may feel free to compare your organizational performance to similar organizations in the industry. It is a huge advantage. I ranked it 2, because it does not apply in every field. Total score: 5/9, 55%/100%
Social Impact Bonds (SIB)
I like the idea of social finance, because it makes much sense. It really builds a reputation for impact investing. In short, the system is designed to invest money in social projects, in order to PREVENT problems from reoccurring in the future (such as second-generation issues, recidivism, unemployment in specific sectors, etc.). The model briefly works by this: funding is given > intervention is made > evaluation of outcomes is conducted > in case of success (i.e. less recidivism, more employment) the government returns money to the investors. Even though I like the idea, I have no clue regarding the metrics and indicators they are using in order to evaluate social programs… it does not seem standardized or friendly, but it is just my outsider opinion.
Moreover, in my opinion, the social impact bonds model seems to fit to a narrow type of outcomes, kinda similar to SROI. Total score: Unknown!
My list is much shorter than expected. I reviewed over 10 tools and methodologies, but did not like them at all, so why to mention them?
With that said, when it comes to social services and education, and other soft, hard-to-touch outcomes, the measures and indicators become useless. No usefulness, no friendliness, no standardization. Nothing helps. Therefore we must agree that there is another way to measure, and you know what?! it is not the kind, the gentle one… it is about achieving your objectives, measuring your VALUE. It is that simple.
Your objectives include “improvement of students’ grades”? Show the improvement, between the beginning of the year and the end. Your objectives include “women’s empowerment”? Define what empowerment is, let’s say, they will be more responsible for their day-to-day tasks. Show they have changed their behavior/attitudes.
Do not use excuses like “they are happy”, “their self esteem is higher”, “I feel it”… these are NOT your objectives, and therefore not the social value you wanted to create.
Future. A single word with crucial meaning. Futures is even more compelling, because its name reveals a secret… a tiny true… there are several futures; not just one, nothing is determined yet. You may plan the future, and if you do it wisely, you can positively change the future, and this is what we all want.
Let’s start with a short introduction, futures thinking is a systematic way to deal with wicked questions, face challenges, and also provide with a set of possible solutions, or suggested routes to take. The method is fascinating and out of ordinary, because it requires to adapt and adjust different practices of dealing with problems. Futures thinking is focusing on four types of futures: possible, probable, preferable, and “wildcards”. I tend to like two types and pursuing my analyses based on them – probable (70% probability that your foresight is correct – you may plan 15 years in advance, i.e. foresee 2030 today), and preferable (the one you create with your team). Whereas the first one does not require you to work in teams, the last will not work without involving a large scale of experts. As a consequence the foresight you do alone is the possible, but still shed light on the unknown; and give you a taste of what preferable futures thinking may result.
The process holds four elements: question, gathering of data, analysis, and interpretation (which leads to another question and so on). At a first glance it seems like any other problem solving process. However, the difference lies in the methodology, and the results are surprising.
In addition, you may want to choose a method to gather and interpret your data. I found the General System Theory as a very useful framework, especially for social issues (so take a look at the link, and learn the materials before you jump to the analysis).
In order to make your life easier I have collected several global trends, that you may use as the basic assumptions for every analysis:
According to Strauss and Howe’s generations theory, we are getting into the forth turning, when millennials are the societal focus;
The millennials are more connected to friends, less connected to institutions;
The millennials are worried of their uncertain future, unlike the boomers;
The millennials are highly educated, and hold various credentials, however their chances to get decent employment opportunities are lower;
Demography: the world population is getting older. Shrinking young population and more elderly. As a result, less young people are going to bear the burden for many elderly.
More migration, more urbanization.
Technology will continue to be developed, and influence life. Changes will occur often and rapidly.
When you done setting your basic global trends, you may start the second layer of assumptions – the local and industry specific ones. In order to retrieve these data, you can find the following sources useful: governmental sources, UN, local foundations, local universities, and any other information bodies, that may publish relevant data. Gather the data, and articulate the assumptions.
The third step is to look at the data, try to find connections to your questions, and interpret it WITH CAUTION.
I hope you find this content useful – feel free to contact me for commenting or any other request. If you would like to start a future thinking process in your business or organization – I will be happy to consult you with that.
Warning! this content is a very short introduction for futures thinking, and I suggest to use it as a tool for strategic thinking and planning. I do not suggest you to use it as a formal foresight, because you need an expert to help you in this process.
Well, how to phrase it? Got to know several managers, and cannot cease myself from writing about them, and today I focus only on good and successful managers, who you want to be or at least have them in your team. I think I will call them leaders (-:
* The Smart And Facilitator: this is my favorite type. I know very few managers who are very experienced, very sharp, very smart, and on the same time give credit to others, like professionals to be part of their teams, and promote the ones who are doing, not the ones who are talking. Want to be this type?
Learn your field and master it, collect a team of outcomes people, not input people, determine your goals and objectives often, let your team express their professional opinion, and lead the organization that way. Get rid of unnecessary.
From my experience, this type is very rare and very rich…
* The Entrepreneur And That’s It: I like these people, I actually love them. Their passion, their enthusiasm, their belief, and above all – their ability to make their dream come true. They have two major advantages: they know to dream and they know to find the right team to bring it to life. Want to be this type?
I think it is mainly a talent, they got a talent to dream and drive themselves and others to pursue it. However, I hope to encourage you – everyone of us is a little entrepreneur, why am I so sure?! show me one person on this planet who never had a successful idea, just one tiny thing they wanted to do and did.
I never considered myself as entrepreneur but my decision to start a blog got me loyal readership within couple of weeks! I still do not consider myself that type, because I am much more a person of consulting and managing existing bodies than starting-up, but it is nice to know that I can also start-up an idea (-; …
* The Innovative Out-Of-The-Box And Still Gentle: I have a soft spot in my heart for these people. They think differently than others, and this is why they bring huge organizational advantage with them everywhere they go. They will ever be successful. Those talented human beings are usually aware that the common man/woman will be terrified or at least completely disagree with their opinion, so they generously let everyone in their team a trial and error. The end is pretty clear – they are right, everyone else is wrong… Anyway, I am not trying to say that they know everything, they kinda took also some skills from the smart and facilitator, but their conclusions are somehow unexpected. Want to be this type?
I think you gotta be born special, if you see a kid who acts weirdly, but somehow ingeniously , that is probably the adult I am talking about. Yet, if you cannot be(at) them – join them – just try to find this type of person to be in your team.
In short: be smart, be cooperative, build your team, and respect knowledge.