OD in all volunteer organizations - The case of Hadassah Israel
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CALL US: 800-208-0219

In many cases becoming more professionalized mean more employed staff including in managerial positions - a change that might raise philosophical issues in an all volunteer's organization. A tension is introduced whereby some employees are contractually tied to the organization being required to carry out certain duties whilst other ‘voluntary’ members are there by free will and cannot be ‘ordered around’ in the same manner and can leave without obligation.

Hadassah-Israel(H-I) is a women’s, Zionist, volunteer organization connected to Hadassah International and the Hadassah Women’s Zionist Organization of America. Areas of special interest, awareness, involvement and activity are: health promotion, Immigrants Absorption, education, the status of women, environmental issues and the quality of life.H-I support Hadassah’s projects and institutions in Israel(Hospitals, Medical and Nursing schools, Colleges, YouthVillages, Research Institutions).

The stages of the wave of professionalization prior to the introduction of the OD consultant were: 1.Courses and workshop designed mostly to develop the volunteers and the leadership (existing and prospected). 2.Courses and workshop designed to improve aspects such as PR, Fund raising etc.

The OD process

The OD process included diagnosis followed bythe development of astrategic plan called “Hadassah 2002” that included improvement on 3 levels. All three levels were supported by extensive training and development activities:

Organizational level:

• Development of a mission statement and a strategic program.
• Installation of a steering committee and sub committees.
• Improving basic organizational processes such as decision making and time management.
• Improving the organizational structure mostly through empowering the vice presidents and creating a management forum and through better job descriptions.
• Introducing a PR consultant.
• Employing an organizational manager.

Chapter level

• Introducing a mentoring program for new and existing chapters - coached mostly by the chapter presidents.
• Improving information flow between chapters and head office.

Members Level (volunteers)

• Training and workshops (perceived as an internal motivator).
• Improved coverage for personal expenses connected with volunteerwork.

The plan was developed with the intention of making the volunteers more professional (to develop in-house skills, reducing the need to ‘buy-in’ external expertise).

Example of Intervention: Inter - cultural Relationship

One of the “big issues” in Hadassah Israel is that there are two different internal cultures (English speakers - mostly ex-American Jewish women that came to live in Israel; and Hebrew speakers). Each group has it’s own chapter and their activities are different. This ‘division’ was treated as a “Pandora Box” - better not to be touched.

Stage 1

In the first stage, a letter was send to all the membership. The aim of the letter was to ‘open the Pandora's Box’ in a challenging, but safe way in order to encourage members from the two different cultures within Hadassah to value the contribution of each other. The message in the letter was that the contributions were different but all equally valuable.

Stage 2

A workshop was built using the 7 Forms of Interaction Model. The aim of this workshop was to learn to appreciate the differences between the two cultures and the strength that combining forces could bring to the organization. In each workshop, a more or less even number of Hebrew and English speakers participated. The workshops were carried out in both Hebrew and English, and included the following parts:

1.A play describing a joint project carried out by an English and a Hebrew speaking chapters. The play was acted by two volunteers, one from each culture.

2.Working separately (English - Hebrew) with two facilitator On issues such as: strengths and weaknesses of my group/ the other group, projects I want to volunteer for etc.

3.Working together on the same issues.

Stage 3

The workshops were a big success on the emotional level. On the practical level (working together) some more work had to be carried out to put systems in place, e.g. mentoring chapter presidents and facilitating actual common projects.

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This was given to Oskar from the gold of a worker’s teeth inscribed with the Talmud’s message “He who saves the life of one man, saves the world entire”.

Israel the ark

After the war, Israel became Oskar’s passion. He believed that if he could save the lives of his Schindlerjuden who he called his children, in the midst of the world’s worst killing centers, Auschwitz-Birkenau, then how much more was God going to save them when they are in His Haven. Oskar visited Israel much as he could and always received with a heroes welcome. His one request was to be buried in Jerusalem, close to his Jews and the Messiah’s coming. Oskar said, “My home is in Israel”.


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