Planning For An Uncertain Future

Few people could have predicted a year as uncertain and unprecedented as 2020. That leaves many of us asking, what’s next? 

Leaders of the community’s Jewish agencies and organizations have looked into their crystal balls through scenario planning workshops facilitated by the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City.

The local initiative built on work started in the spring by the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA). The organization hired a consultant to work with hundreds of Jewish organizational leaders to create four scenarios for the coming months and weeks.

The planning started with two critical questions: What are the possibilities for social gathering, and will financial stability improve or worsen over the next 24 months?

JFNA then enabled Federation professionals to run scenario planning workshops in their own communities, with ideas like “core bets” and “side bets” and with optional JFNA-recommended facilitators. Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City took the opportunity to help its partner agencies.

“We all collectively face an incredibly uncertain future that contains many unknowns,” said Helene Lotman, Federation president and CEO. “By looking at these potential scenarios, we—as individual organizations and as a community—can have a stronger plan going forward.”

The process allows organizations to be nimble, said Derek Gale, Federation’s vice president and chief operating officer.

“If we think scenario A is the most likely, we’ll plan for it and put more resources behind it, but we will also have a plan for if it goes to scenario C,” he said. “We’re not caught off guard, we can pivot and go in that direction.”

Much work remains for the agencies to refine their ideas, but some potential themes emerged, including technology sharing and marketing collaboration.