One of the first lessons learned is to limit your issues. We are more effective if we focus on no more than 2 or 3 key issues. It is very hard to limit yourself. There are a lot of exciting issues that the churches in your state are already working. There are also a lot of passionate UUs eagerly looking to expand their work. Even after issues have been selected and the advocacy plan is in place, a new issue may unexpectedly come up – a crisis in the state, a back burner issue moves to the forefront.
First establish a process for selecting issues. The process should be clearly defined and easily explained. Consistent with our principles, the process should be to seek broad input, but also leave opportunities for us to explore our values. You also want to have the ability to act on immediate issues. Therefore, regardless of the selection process, you may want give the Board the ability to act in certain instances where the Board determines it is appropriate for UUs to take action on timely matters that may not be encompassed by the Network’s officially adopted issue(s).
Additional information is available about issue selection in the Social Justice Empowerment Handbook. at uua.org. In the following section of that document, there is an exercise for congregations that can be easily applied to a State Network:
II. Social Justice Congregational Identity and Community Outreach – Page 22
Choosing an Issue: Determining Grounding, Accountability, Fit, & Opportunity
Suggested criteria for selecting collaborative issues:
The order is based on brainstorming results. Highlighted items signifies those criteria deemed most significant:
The UUA in its Social Justice Empowerment Handbook, Section II, offers more details on issue selection. This handbook, which was written for congregational use, is easily adapted to a State Network.