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Called to Witness Five Year Campaign
Evaluation and Post-Campaign Report
Reconciling Ministries Network, July 2012
Overall...
This shift has occurred at all levels of the movement. Quantitative outcomes include increased
presence at Annual Conferen...
Organizing Method: Leadership
Jurisdictional Organizers (Previously, “National Trainers”)
• Calling or hearing from their ...
Organizing Method: Strategies and Connections
Recruitment
• ACTs and team participants/leaders continue to struggle to tak...
Training and Teaching Methods
Trainings – General
• Post-training evaluations were very positive about JOs presentations; ...
Knowledge and Skill Gaps
Self-Reported in Post Training Evaluations
Many of these are collected from JO’s post training re...
Plan for Nashville Evaluation Meeting (July 23)
8:00 am Greetings & Breakfast
Goals, Devotion & Check-Ins
8:30 am Review o...
3:45 pm Final business and prayer
8
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RMN - CTW - Report

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The final report for the board of directors of outputs and outcomes from the five year organizing and training campaign I directed and evaluated while working for Reconciling Ministries Network

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RMN - CTW - Report

  1. 1. Called to Witness Five Year Campaign Evaluation and Post-Campaign Report Reconciling Ministries Network, July 2012 Overall, the 2005-2012 Called to Witness campaign shifted the Reconciling Ministries Network from a pastorally (mercy) focused, reactive movement into one with an organizing strategic plan with proactive strategy and clear tactics and methods for implementing that strategy. Throughout the five years, numerical campaign goals were set high, and while overall participation, and quality of leadership grew at every level, very few times did the final numbers exceed goals. Failure to effect policy change at the General Conference 2012 will be perceived by some as a failure of the Called to Witness campaign. Shifts in goals, and concentrated focus on high-impact annual conferences in 2012 merited lower numbers than original goals had set (for example, 1122 volunteers were trained rather than the original 1500 hoped for in 2007.) Year JO s Event s (Trainin g) AC s Goal (ACs) RUM’s Trained Goal (RUMs) Post-Training Action Goal (Action) CTW 1 22 22 22 500 500 240 Delegate meetings NA AMA 5 35 38 34 1024 750 464 Delegate Meetings NA BOL 12 33 33 45 736 1000 House Parties 500 BOLT 17 37 41 50 1014 1250 47 Annual Conf. Witnesses 50 LYN 20 49 50 54 1122 1300 776 Delegate meetings 606 However, the campaign focused on goals which were far more broad than simple deletion of an onerous phrase in a book of policy. Goals for the five year campaign were stated as: 1. Strengthen and empower our Reconciling Constituency 2. To create Regional Action Teams (ACTs) 3. To increase the number of Reconciling congregations Overall, even with modified goals for participation, the large numbers of active volunteers represent the amazing mobilization of Reconciling United Methodists for inclusion. Active annual conference teams have grown each year, to the point that in 2012 when volunteers created and mailed 52 Annual conference display kits to teams before General Conference, and after the event an additional 2 kits were assembled upon special request by additional teams (for a total of 54). This widespread visibility of the movement, and local leaders at Annual Conference meetings represents one of the most powerful outcomes of this campaign and stepping stones towards RMN’s next plan. 1
  2. 2. This shift has occurred at all levels of the movement. Quantitative outcomes include increased presence at Annual Conference meetings, growth in RMN’s organizational fund participation, a significant increase of RUMs listed in the database, a shift in participation at the regional level from meeting only during Annual Conference to many teams which now meet two or three times annually; and accelerating numbers of new Reconciling Congregations. Some of these tangible increases are listed in the chart below: Year RMN Budget Individual Giving New RUMS Total # RUM’s New RC’s Total RCs CTW $580,256 $234,016 NA+ 21,391 41 362 AMA $633,216 $217,246 585 21,976 36 398 BOL $758,846 $257,192 1057 23,033 37 445 BOLT $702,990 $307,101 907 23,940 52 487 LYN $1,018,282 $369,301 NA+ NA+ 21* 508 + data not available * Jan 1 - Jul 1 However, some of the more significant changes are less quantifiable. Examples include a change in the type of questions asked, the increasing rarity of a church who has never even considered discussing inclusion, the almost universal trend towards a larger, more inclusive list of non-discrimination identities in Reconciling statements, and a growing mutual understanding between leaders and movement-stakeholders of the need for continued, pervasive work towards inclusion at all levels and locations of our denomination. A part of that shift, and one which will be discussed in Nashville and throughout the fall by the RMN Board of Directors is the impact upon the staff and organization itself. Corresponding changes include a growth in staff, the 2012 transition to hiring three regional organizers, and others. As we examine the five year campaign, much of the basic evaluation has been well done and well documented each year. From year to year, we examined end-of-training-day evaluations, remarks and surveys from participants and movement leaders, and the continued feedback from Jurisdictional Organizers (originally, National Trainers). Because of this in depth, ongoing evaluation, campaign outcomes have already been discussed in great depth and will not be the primary focus of the meeting on July 23. However, three major topics of our method will be constructively considered in order to help inform the upcoming strategic planning discussions. These topics are: (1) Organizing Methods (2) Training Methods (3) Knowledge Gaps and Questions As RMN engages in a new strategy for engaging reconciling leaders and congregation, examination of these three specific aspects of the CTW campaign will be most beneficial for future planning. 2
  3. 3. Organizing Method: Leadership Jurisdictional Organizers (Previously, “National Trainers”) • Calling or hearing from their coach was the single most common positive JO report about support . (It is notable that JOs who reported being willing or likely to initiate communication with their coach were often those who experienced the greatest success overall). • Experienced jurisdictional organizers commented each year about how much their knowledge and confidence increased with each year of the campaign. • JOs reported gaining a strong sense of teamwork and motivation when leaders (coaching, RMN staff, etc) were especially faithful about sending reminders, distributing meeting notes and accomplishing other logistical tasks in a timely and predictable manner • While a bias against conference calls appears to persists, many participants also reported helpful troubleshooting, mutual encouragement, and the importance of information sharing and timeline accountability which arose from schedule, regular, mandatory conference calls • JOs commended different aspects of the coaching methods of each of the four LYN coaches, with cross-team themes which included: • Coach regularly called or was available for conversations by phone and email • A variety of approaches towards the personal/work life balance of relationships were appreciated • The stories of struggle and success of the coach were important to building teamwork • Emphasis upon positive reinforcement inspired many who were self-admitted over achievers • Firm accountability when errors were made or tasks ignored was appreciated by many • A coach’s ability to overcome logistical problems was seen as a reflection of her overall competence and enhanced the JOs sense of accomplishment in her leadership • A number of comments focused upon a specific example of very logistical or detailed advice (e.g. coach said to practice my story 10 times, coach said to review the presentation on the training) • Day of and end of year evaluations of training for JOs were mixed regarding length-of-day, intensity of weekend trainings and efficacy of a large volume of information shared: some prefer long days, others resent any meeting over a few hours, some felt the comprehensive introduction was effective, others were overwhelmed. Again, a notable correlation exists between JO success and positive reflections upon training and initial campaign preparation. • Building relationships between JOs previously unknown to one another was reported to have happened almost exclusively at in-person events. Ongoing social media contact and phone calls were reported as happening between JOs who had made a significant personal connection at Convocation(SANS) or the BOL Power Summit • Items of note: • Reliability, perseverance and commitment were the only characteristics shared by successful JO’s • Other personality characteristics, work habits and previous experience varied tremendously. In the 2009-2010 year, when recruitment focused primarily upon personal recommendations, more JOs struggled or dropped out of the campaign; however it was only halfway through that campaign cycle that we implemented small support groups and coaching. • General reliability and attendance were strongly correlated with JO self-reporting of success and accomplishment of quantifiable goals. Attendance included conference calls and meetings, willingness to initiate communication and taking personal responsibility for completing or identifying tasks, reaching goals and meeting deadlines Annual Conference Leaders and Annual Conference Teams (ACTs) • In early years of the campaign, when organizers/trainers were serving large numbers of Annual Conference teams, national and regional conference calls for ACT leaders were well attended, but as the campaign progressed, these calls gradually became poorly attended and were eventually disbanded in the final year. • Early calls served to maintain connection between the wider campaign and local groups. We surmise that as local groups were strengthened and developed strong relationship with JOs, the need for direct connection to the campaign was otherwise fulfilled 3
  4. 4. Organizing Method: Strategies and Connections Recruitment • ACTs and team participants/leaders continue to struggle to take ownership/responsibility for turn out at a training • JOs varied, but the largest trainings did NOT happen where the JO was a significant portion of the recruitment. West Ohio and Southwest Texas both held 80+ person events in which the JO supported and encouraged the team but actually participated in virtually none of the recruitment. • Large attendance trainings were almost always planned by teams of 6-8 participants • Intra-ACT struggles (disagreements over power, personality or other issues) reliably indicated poor turnout for a training • Various obstacles and struggles with transitioning leadership within Annual conference often discouraged new leadership from emerging. Examples of this trend include • Nebraska – very strong older leader whose reputation for competence combined with a past power struggle with another leader discouraged new leadership from emerging • Indiana – strong group dissipated when leaders brought in new people but continued participating and griped when things weren’t done as they were accustomed to • North Carolina – past strong team in a very conservative state weakened over time when expectations for change and success were not met; identification of new leadership was delayed by a lack of hope in existing ACT • Some methods of recruitment were universally successful, and others could be strong supplemental actions for teams who have previously not attempted them • Personal Invitations – whether at church or by phone remain the most effect (highest turn out rate) method of contact • Advertisements, articles and invitations in Annual Conference media (newsletters, Reporter magazine, websites, eblasts, etc) were surprisingly effective in every AC which permitted this – including conservative areas • Postcards or invitations letters were the most effective method of mass-contacting participants • E-blasts and social media were strong reinforcement invitations to the above recruitment tactics • Group invitations to prospective or existing RCs, seminaries, colleges, assisted living or other communities were a great way of recruiting local action teams who were often better about follow up action than single participants • In the years where recruitment began at a national event (Convo), participation was overall higher. The momentum generated by small success was a strong factor in overcoming obstacles or hesitancies. Follow Up • In many of the most effective areas, follow up was accomplished by a combination of JO and ACT • JO reliability in follow up was a strong indicator of the ACT’s and participants reliability and ability to reach goals • Follow-up and reporting was weakest in 2009-2010 BOL, the year when there was no RMN or church-designated campaign end-point ; reporting of house parties was shockingly low even as sign-ups and donations grew • Reporting improved in LYN in the places where JOs were committed to contacting participants and ACTs themselves • Methods of reporting had some but not great effect on the levels of participation: • Online surveys engaged participants who received invitations via email, • Paper evaluations at the end of trainings were extremely successful, • Participants did not generally follow a passed out web address to a survey to report actions taken • Participants did report actions when/if an ACT leader or JO spoke with them on the phone • Overall, follow up had to be initiated by the RMN office or JO, and ACTs have not yet taken ownership/responsibility for following up with their participants Strategy • Many teams express or can be observed to have no sense of team or trust in one another’s or their team’s overall ability to accomplish much • End of training action invitations were often most successful when they provided options for multiple levels or methods of engagement. • Actions were most often actually accomplished when they were begun at a training or group meeting. E.g. first invitations to trainings issued, phone calls to set up delegate meetings, teams formed and setting dates for house parties. • Balancing the urgency of a campaign and ongoing nature of this community building work was often the key factor in a participant’s understanding of the meaning (i.e. relationship to wider movement) and attainability of a task. • Many participants don’t have a CLUE how to design tactics 4
  5. 5. Training and Teaching Methods Trainings – General • Post-training evaluations were very positive about JOs presentations; a significant percent of comments revealed a depth of perceived connection – volunteers related strongly to JOs and rooted for their success. • Participants respond well to presenters/trainers who show enthusiasm, confidence or a sense of expertise • “Tell fewer stories” might be the only critique almost never offered in this campaign • Participants who attend trainings report willingness to participate in follow up; effective trainers and/or ACT organizers are needed order to convert this intention into action • Trainings with multiple staff or JOs generally received a solid mixture of positive comments about both trainers • No length of training will ever satisfy every participant (factors which influence comments upon training length include comfort of chairs, room temperature, trainer’s demeanor, participant’s attitudes, weather…) • Methods and Exercises • Telling and coaching stories was consistently throughout the five years the highest rated part of every training • A significant portion of participants express a desire for social or team-building times • The balance between exercise and lecture(instruction) time was not unanimously agreed upon, • trainings with no or shortened introduction to RMN, CTW, or mention of the overall GC strategy drew questions throughout the five years, and • trainings with long periods of discussion/instruction time due to trainer style or curriculum received larger numbers of “too long” critiques • Participants often report appreciation for thorough training manuals, but need assistance during a training presentation to know when or how to use these materials to supplement/complement the ongoing program • PowerPoint presentations drew mixed reactions from participants, but were generally vital for training JOs to complete a training, and were strongly appreciated by a large portion of participants. • Although post-training evaluations in years 3 and 4 asked for pre-training preparation materials, when they were available and distributed, very few participants would have read any materials or considered their story • Attendance, Repetition, and Repeat-Volunteers • Participants continue to be heavily older and white • After year 3, participants stopped complaining about attending “yet another training” … whether this was because those who would complain were no longer attending or because the trainings were differentiated sufficiently to alleviate concerns, we can only speculate. • With each additional year of storytelling training, enthusiasm for the storytelling unit grew or remained steady in volunteer evaluations and participation; the power of this repetition is also evidenced in the prevalence of comments on other RMN surveys (e.g. strategic plan feedback) regarding the power and importance of storytelling • The most committed ACT leaders rarely complained and their comments on evaluations expressed how much they appreciated the in depth and review of specific methods Contextualizing and Adaptation • JOs needed to be given explicit permission (and often coaching or guidance) to adapt trainings to particular contexts • A strong correlation existed between comments in participants evaluations which related to the JO/trainer on a personal level and the sense that a training was contextualized, appropriate and well suited for their region’s particular context and challenges 5
  6. 6. Knowledge and Skill Gaps Self-Reported in Post Training Evaluations Many of these are collected from JO’s post training reports • Many volunteers need clear direction, guidance, or personal conversation about how to apply concepts to their local area / community or concerns. These volunteers respond well to specific action plans, direct invitations and clear plans. • Introductions to RMN and basic UMC policy were almost always requested by 1-3 persons during the evaluation of a training • Introductions to LGBT community / queer theory were requested less often in RMN or UMC information • Many participants reported the desire or need to get to know other individuals, congregations or groups with similar goals or who have been through the Reconciling Process • Participants continue to ask for Biblical resources, and especially those which will prepare progressives to talk about their understanding of the Bible. • Some participants asked questions about our ‘theory of change’ (e.g. how do we actually affect change?) • Many are still asking for information about how to influence African delegates (and get good work done in Africa) • Many participants requested more information about marriage (how to support it politically, what that means logistically for their individual congregations, etc.) • In 2012, a significant number of participants also asked for more information about General Conference process, ways to influence votes more directly, etc. • Respondents continue to ask lots of questions about gender identity • UMC 101 workshops are well attended when offered • Many continue to express confusion or ask about the exact requirements of the Reconciling Process Observed deficiencies: • ACTs continue to struggle with involving new participants at meaningful levels or transitioning • Participants continue to struggle with working in coalition and around multiple identities (i.e. doing antiracist work). • ACTs continue to seek direction and strategy from RMN national office • Many JOs report that reporting of Annual Conference Team events to RMN is very incomplete. In other words, a significant amount of regional and local work is taking place but not being reported or share with the RMN office or board. • ACTs (and people who plan events) continue to fail to take responsibility for ensuring gender identity hospitality (including unisex toilets) What JOs reported ignorance about • JOs continued to need more storytelling and presentation practice than we were able to offer during an initial in-person training (but with coaching, stronger JOs could practice on their own). • Many JOs reported not having enough specific information about General Conference or legislation 6
  7. 7. Plan for Nashville Evaluation Meeting (July 23) 8:00 am Greetings & Breakfast Goals, Devotion & Check-Ins 8:30 am Review of Evaluation Data Numeric Campaign Goals & Participation Numbers of Campaign Participation (Benchmark Goals) Responses to Surveys, Training Evaluation Forms, JO interviews 9:00 am Specific Feedback to review: What people requested more information about What JOs reported ignorance about Gaps in common knowledge about RMN and/or RC Process 10:10 am Intersectional and Coalitional work: Addressing racism; gender identity; broadening our work without losing focus Critique and Recommendations 10:25 am Break for Coffee, Tea, Diet Coke and sunshine 10:40 am Review of Reconciling Movement Transition to strategic, grassroots actions Numbers, Trainings, Leadership Development (JOs) , Excellence Timeline of Movement Growth How annual transitions strengthened campaign plans (Training tweaks) 11:45 am Training Methods What worked / what didn’t Interactive, Instructive, characteristics of successful exercises Methods which results in best follow-through Lengths of training, methods for increasing attention/participation Resources and Materials 12:30 pm Lunch 1:45 pm Organizing Methods (Modifying Campaign for enduring community building work) ACTs and Leadership Development of individuals Conference Calls Recurring Struggle: Recruitment & Follow-Up National, AC, and local levels 2:00 pm What worked, Major Barriers & Our Successful Responses JO Teams, Coaching and Developing Long-Distance Collegiality Long Distance Considerations and Methods Challenges (Support & Supervision) 2:30 pm Break 2:45 pm Additional Elements Money Logistics & Technology Communications and Relationship to wider RMN Message 3:15 pm For the Future: Transition from Pastoral(Mercy) to Strategic(Justice) Effect on growth of Funding / movement growth (RUMs, RCs) 7
  8. 8. 3:45 pm Final business and prayer 8

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