Welcome to the canvasser portal!

Thank you for volunteering to canvass. Your work reaching out to donors is critical to the success of our Annual Campaign. You are our voice in the community and help us share our message, make connections, and build relationships while successfully raising the funds that allow us to pursue our mission of advancing and promoting an exceptional quality of Jewish life.

For your information, please see the 2022 Financials here.

Vital reference material - please read before your canvass!

Below, please find two rows of important information to support you and help you achieve successful canvasses. Colourful sections link to quick-reads and are good to keep handy at each call. All information has been compiled in the Canvasser Guide which can be downloaded and printed for your convenience.



Main messaging for the 2024 Campaign:

1. Protecting Our Most Vulnerable
While the global pandemic has subsided, needs for emergency funding continue in our community. The Federation continues to provide support to mitigate the ongoing impact of the pandemic on the community’s most vulnerable population. This includes addressing the rise in food insecurity within our community.

2. Countering Antisemitism

Federation has increased our efforts in the realm of advocacy and countering antisemitism. From hiring additional advocacy staff to approving additional strategic funding to further support advocacy efforts, Federation is ensuring a safe space for everyone to participate in Jewish life.   We ensure Jewish voices are heard and that there is the training, tools, and resources needed to keep Jewish Ottawa vibrant and safe.

3. Ensuring Access To Jewish Life And Education

Federation ensures that everyone has access to the Jewish Superhighway and education, and the ability to enjoy meaningful Jewish journeys. To support this, Federation invests deeply into Jewish education through support for day schools, as well a new tuition incentive for supplementary schools. Federation also funds a vast array of Jewish experiences through Microgrants, and other programs like PJ Library, all aimed at igniting a lifetime of Jewish pride and connection.

What are the goals of the Jewish Superhighway?

The vision has four goals:
• Inspired Jewish experiences for all ages
• Enriched Jewish education and learning
• Compassionate care for our most vulnerable
• A safe and secure community

What are the steps to a successful canvas?

1. Show your appreciation 
• A “thank you” is the best way to start a conversation.
• Be sincere and clear – thank them for meeting with you, thank them for their time and thank them for their gift.
• End with a “thank you” – every donor should feel our gratitude (regardless of the outcome)!
2. Find the donor’s passion
• Canvassing is about making a connection so that you build a personal relationship with each donor. 
• Know how to share your story and passion – look for the right moments and opportunities, and remember it is ultimately about helping the donor find THEIR passion. Try and get the donor to share their story.
3. Know before you go
• Make your own gift first – lead by example.
• Do your homework: review the donor’s pledge card so you know their history. 
For example, did they donate to the Emergency Campaign for Community Resilience or the Ukraine Relief Fund?
• Read everything provided on the Canvasser Portal and/or Canvasser Guide, and become familiar with the goals.
•  Ask an experienced canvasser, team captain or staff member for advice – they are here to help. 
• Think through what an appropriate gift might be from the donor and listen carefully to how they are doing.
4. Learn to listen … listen to learn
• The best canvassers do more listening and less talking.
• Listening lets you find out what the donor is passionate about.
• Use active listening — ask follow-up questions.
• Once you have made an ask, say nothing. Wait for the speaker to reply (even if there is an awkward pause).


Who is Federation and why give to Federation?

The Jewish Federation of Ottawa is the only charity exclusively committed to the mission of supporting Jewish people in need and strengthening Jewish life here in Ottawa and around the globe.

Who does Federation fund and how much do they receive?

Through regular allocations and strategic funding, Federation fuels approximately 50 different organizations. I am happy to share links to our allocations summary and impact reports that shares a specific financial breakdown of how Annual Campaign funds are invested in the Jewish people and which organizations receive our support. 2022 Financial Report (June 2021 - July 2022)

What are Federation’s fundraising expenses?

Federation’s cost of fundraising is less than 12% of funds raised. We are proud that this percentage is among the lowest for any major non-profit organization in North America. We are able to do this through prudent management and an effective partnership between an efficient professional staff and hundreds of volunteers.

How does Federation make a difference?

Through community-wide reach and strategy.
Annual Campaign allocations benefit more than 50 organizations in every area of community life: poverty relief, countering antisemitism, Jewish education, supporting Israel and Jews overseas, and more. We have an incomparable network to mobilize and address big challenges in a holistic way. Federation funds work across the full range of our community’s needs. Reach, resources and deep expertise enable Federation to mount a powerful response to any emerging crisis.

Why is Federation the best organization to help the Jewish community?

The pandemic was an important example of why our community needs Federation. The crisis impacted our community in so many ways and it was not enough to focus on just one area. Vulnerable Jews need a range of social services, from the Ottawa Kosher Food Bank to financial assistance to rent subsidies to employment services. Most community members in need require a variety of programs in order to overcome poverty and return to self-sufficiency, which is why Federation brings together our agencies to collaborate and ensure a
client-centred approach.

For these reasons, we ask donors to make a gift to the Annual Campaign — which tackles challenges in a holistic way — and don’t provide an option for donors to designate their gifts for any one agency.


"I don’t approve of the government of Israel and/or its policies."

We don’t support any particular government or political party – we help the people of Israel. Funds go to support social services and humanitarian needs, particularly in the northern periphery of Israel. For example, your gift helps fund programs for youth-at-risk, expanding their educational and career opportunities, like STEM (science, tech, engineering, arts and math) programs in elementary and junior high schools; therapy & emotional group services for young people; and programs for Bet Gesher, a recreation centre for young adults aged 18-30 with special needs. None of your charitable dollars go beyond the Green Line and none go to the Israeli government or the IDF.

"Why does Federation continue to invest in projects in Israel?

Our Annual Campaign is focused on ensuring a strong Ottawa Jewish community recovery. At the same time, Federation and our community have always had a very strong relationship with Israel. Even during these challenging times, we remain committed to supporting some of Israel’s most vulnerable citizens. In Israel, Federation’s Annual Campaign investments focus on our partner region in the northern periphery where we have helped with employment, education and at-risk youth.

Specific examples of how Federations help in Israel

Through the P2G partnership program  that supports our partner region in the north of Israel, the Jewish Federation of Ottawa alongside Federations in Atlantic Canada, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Winnipeg have helped these humanitarian projects:

A program to create a support group for day care principals in Kiryat Shmona, an area facing frequent rocket attacks, terrorist incursions.

• The 60+ Greenhouse Project to support social and recreational activities for seniors. Projects include art classes, multi-generational gatherings and activities, hiking, walking club and informational lectures.

The first ever Terry Fox Run in the north of Israel with fundraising benefiting the Bar Ilan Institute for Cancer Research in Safed. About 1,500 children from the region participated.

•The Reim Program, which supports children and young adults on the autistic spectrum, many of them also experiencing severe learning disabilities, with the aim of helping participants create friendships. 


"I cannot afford to give due to economic concerns."

If you cannot make the same gift, please do not feel that a smaller gift isn’t important. Every gift is valued. And remember, the pledge you make today isn’t due until December 31, 2024. You can pay your gift in full at that time, or you can pay installments throughout the year.” 

If it sounds like they are in significant need, do NOT proceed

If the person you are speaking to has lost a job, are isolated and need help, then do  NOT proceed with a fundraising ask. Simply listen and conclude with some of the following lines, based on context.
“I’m so sorry to hear about your situation. Please know that we’re here for you and that Federation has a wide network of support in place. Would you like a member of Federation’s team to get in touch with you to see how they may be able to assist?”


"I am unhappy with what one of your funded agencies is doing."

The Federation funds major beneficiary agencies based on their adherence to our funding formula which mandates that programming serve the Jewish community. Reporting requirements ensure that the Grants and Evaluation Committee review the use and effectiveness of funding. While Federation will share our perspective with agencies, we must respect their independence.

"Does Federation support all denominations of Judaism equally?"

Federation’s mission is to foster an inclusive environment that honours and supports diverse opinions and respectful discourse. Our only concern is to help provide a productive environment that reflects the diversity within our community. We do our best to be supportive of all denominations.

"I am worried that Federation has political leanings."

We do not support any particular political leaning and our only concern is to help provide a productive environment that reflects the diversity within our community.

"Can I designate my gift to a specific agency or program?"

There are many agencies doing great work in our community. We encourage you to make them a part of your charitable giving. At the same time, Federation is the only organization that has the resources, strategy, and community-wide reach to take care of the comprehensive needs of our community.

"Can I get involved in any other way, besides donating funds?"

Yes please! If you are interested, I would be happy to share your contact information with the Community Building team and they can connect with you to get you involved in volunteer opportunities.


Concerns require logical, honest and compelling answers.

Expressing a concern is a good thing. It means the donor is thinking about giving.
Concerns are like questions and require logical, honest and compelling answers. Deliver appropriate information, and remember to never argue or suggest that the donor is wrong.

• Recognize the type of concern.

• Identify and address the actual concern. Consider using the feel, felt, found method: “I am sorry that you feel that way, at times I have also felt that ... and I have found …”

• Remember that NO does not always mean NO – it can mean:
“I do not KNOW…” or it can mean
“yes at a future date”
A donor may simply need more time to get back on solid financial footing before being able to give. We can work with a “maybe later.”

• Remember this not personal.

• Use your listening skills: this can be a great indicator of what is really important to the donor.

• Allow the donor to talk, never cut them off.

• React positively: tackle the concern, not the prospective donor. Avoid argumentative language (for example the word “but”).

• Be honest. If you do not have an answer, say so and get back to the donor with the information as soon as possible (this is actually a great opportunity for another conversation!)

• After answering and discussing the concern, restate the suggested amount and wait, then allow the donor to speak.

• If you need support, do not hesitate to contact Micah Garten at 613-798-4696 x270 or mgarten@jewishottawa.com, or Yulia Elgin at 613-798-4696 x296 or yelgin@jewishottawa.com.

• Always make sure the conversation ends on a positive note (regardless of the outcome).

  • The message

    This page explains fully, why donors should give to the 2024 Annual Campaign.

  • Why Federation?

    This report explains the role of Federation and why communal giving is so important.

It's Moments Like This

For almost 90 years, Federation has been providing support in virtually every type of Jewish moment.

  • Help with calls

    Need some help getting the ball rolling? Read this sample script to get prepared.

  • Be prepared

    Review this checklist, including payment options, before you canvass.

Canvasser Training

Learn the art of effective communication and tips to Overcome challenges.

Who is Federation?

Remember your Campaign team is also here to support you if you have any questions or concerns.
Micah Garten, Director of Development at mgarten@jewishottawa.com or 613-798-4696 x270 or
Yulia Elgin, Interim Annual Campaign Manager at yelgin@jewishottawa.com or 613-798-4696 x296.

Consider offering donors the option to donate regularly with Monthly Mitzvah Club!