Ideas for Jewish Helping Hands projects come from many sources. They may be suggested by friends and supporters. They may come from agencies seeking to partner with Jewish Helping Hands. They may even be inspired by newspaper or magazine articles. JHH operates within the framework of the American Jewish community, yet projects can be in the United States or overseas, and prospective beneficiaries can be Jewish or non-Jewish. When JHH considers a potential project, it judges it against several benchmarks:
- Real need, real impact—A potential project must address a serious, pressing human need with a solution which makes a real difference, providing meaningful, tangible improvement in the lives of the beneficiaries.
- Manageable scale—A potential project must be small enough that it is possible to maintain a real sense of connection between supporters and beneficiaries, and small enough that the desired impact can be achieved with JHH’s level of resources.
- Credible, trustworthy management—A potential project must be operated by local sponsors who create a track record for honest, effective management, and who are not tainted by graft or corruption.
- Reliable local partner—Jewish Helping Hands will adopt a potential project only if it can identify a trustworthy partner in the project’s local community. JHH relies on this partner (an individual or organization) to connect between JHH and the project, transferring detailed information about needs and outcomes, how JHH investments are being utilized, unanticipated consequences, and the like.
- Site Visit—Before approving any potential project, key JHH leaders visit the project, meet the people involved, and see with their own eyes that the above criteria are fulfilled. Sometimes, these site visits generate new project ideas.