New Years are always a good time to look ahead. So what do I see in the future for ICPJ?
- Stronger member follow-up. I think one of the major areas ICPJ can grow in is following up after someone signs up or comes to an event. If we consistently thank people for coming, listen to their interests, and invite them to get more involved, I believe it will yield more members, more money, and more impact.
- Open to grassroots initiatives: ICPJ should strengthen its culture and structure so that we are open to people coming in to lead new initiatives, with clear agreements to how we can support and nurture them. Not all innovation can or should come from the Board or staff.
- A commitment to build grassroots leaders. All our program committees should be empowered to lead themselves in their programs that support the ICPJ’s mission as a whole. This means that staff may need to do less doing and more teaching so that our members have the skills and abilities to organize campaigns, work with the press, lead lobbying efforts, run meetings, and so on. This training component is essential if we are to be open to new initiatives. Without it, we are setting people up for, if not failure, at least mediocrity.
- Increase our reach and diversity. I think we have growth potential getting out of our comfort zone and building ties with communities of color, evangelicals, Ypsi, Western Washtenaw, and other religious groups.
- Results-focused campaigns. This one is controversial. ICPJ has a grand vision of a world free of war and injustice. I think we can do a better job of identifying the campaigns that will take us there and that will let us look back and see how we’ve made progress. Let’s identify some changes we can win, then dedicate the resources necessary to win them! What would it take to move Dingell to oppose the SOA? What would it take to increase bus service to Ypsi and Willow Run? Can we do that? If so, let’s do it! Let’s put the energy and intensity into winning some of these changes rather than always being weighed down by them.
- Highly responsive. I confess, I think we’ve been slow to adequately respond to emerging issues like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our structure is great for doing what we’ve always done. Not so great for taking on new issues. In the future, I want to see ICPJ be more nimble in responding to these new issues. If that comes from people approaching us as described above, that’s great. If not, we need to be able to lead a response. (The hard part is figuring out how to balance this responsiveness with fidelity toward our long-standing concerns. I still haven’t figured that one out).
This is a top-of-the-head, speaking for myself only blog post. The Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice is a community, and where we go in the future is up to the community as a whole. These are my thoughts. I may not get my way in all of them, and in conversation with the community my thoughts may change.