Catch a Rising Star

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Ben Gonsher
16 Feb 2011

For numerous charitable organizations faced with challenges during these difficult economic times, one of the most interesting publications around is FundRaising Success magazine. Established in 2003, the publication’s goal is straightforward: provide nonprofits with the most useful and pertinent information, strategies, and expert advice to help them generate the necessary fund-raising revenues to fulfill their mission.

As an added incentive to subscribers, the magazine promotes its annual “Fund-raising Professionals of the Year Awards”; where nominations are open to anyone who raises money to support the work of nonprofit organizations. The Orthodox Union is pleased to announce that one of this year’s “Rising Star” award recipients is Rabbi Ben Gonsher, Southern NCSY Director of Institutional Advancement.

Profiled in FS Magazine’s February edition, Rabbi Gonsher’s name was submitted by Southern NCSY ‘s Executive Director Todd Cohn, who praised Gonsher’s perseverance, passion, and eagerness to do that which others around him shied away from. Gonsher, who previously served as Executive Director of Kansas City’s Community Kollel, first came to the position in September 2010, but he quickly dispensed with traditional approaches and redefined staff attitudes towards generating revenue; calling him a fund-raiser is inaccurate according to Cohn, what Rabbi Gonsher has become is an NCSY friend-raiser.

“Ben brought with him intense people skills and immediately set out to meet as many players within the organization and the community it serves as possible. His enthusiasm and energy turned out to be highly contagious.

Cohn outlines Ben’s many accomplishments, including doing away with expensive, time-consuming special events in favor of more one-on-one meetings with donors; producing the organization’s first useful database; creating its first multichannel year-end campaign; orchestrating an $18,000 increase in a prior donor’s contributions; and soliciting $15,000 from a new partner.” (Fundraising Success Magazine)

Gonsher has reached out extensively to community partners, synagogue rabbis and presidents, Jewish Federation executives, youth directors and other strategic leaders. He has traveled across the state in an effort to develop relationships and often accompanies NCSY teens on weekend retreats.

Gonsher’s key to success comes from a focus on building relationships and recognizing that “asking for money” is only one aspect of the process to secure revenues. By taking this approach, he has been able to establish, solidify and reactivate crucial partnerships, creating a reputation of professionalism and trust for Southern NCSY.

OU Managing Director Rabbi Steven Burg, in praising Gonsher’s talent and dedication, added the following:

“Rabbi Gonsher has taken friend-raising to a whole new level. Due to his affable personality and his passion for the work of NCSY, Rabbi Gonsher has connected with numerous partners all over Southern Florida. NCSY is proud to have him as a star team member.”

The Orthodox Union recognizes FS Magazine’s unique “Rising Star” award tribute to one of its own and extends its congratulations and appreciation for all of Rabbi Gonsher’s achievements.

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.