Well, the facts of thatMission are pretty stark:
Total number of participants = 41
# of different families they represent = 25
# of communities they represent = US – 14, Canada – 1
# Large Cities represented – 7
# Intermediate Cities represented – 5*# Large Intermediate Cities represented – 3
I would guess that even the mavens at 25 Broadway would agree that this is not good -- awful even. Even worse, only one community west of the Mississippi was represented (well, 2, but the second person was outgoing Campaign Chair, Harold Gernsbacher, and Harold hasn't missed a Mission in years). As I know from the experience of leading some 30 successful National Missions over the years, and participation on some 25 led by others, the same staff that would partner on a Mission of 41 could service another 35.
I don't know why this Mission failed to attract greater numbers just as I haven't a clue as to why this year's Prime Minister's Mission has been canceled -- the first time that has happened in decades.
What I do know is the following:
- For decades of successful Missions UJA and, then, JFNA had a lay-professional Missions Committee. There has not been one for at least the last 11 years;
- No one -- not a professional, not a lay leader -- has convened those of us who led successful National Missions over the years to pick our brains for what might be the keys to success;
- There is (or should be) a Missions Playbook that was developed at UJA and would still offer the steps to be taken for great missions. JFNA appears to wish, in all things, to remake the wheel each and every time; and
- First, the federations themselves in driving community missions with no input from JFNA and, now, JNF have begun to eat the federations lunch when it comes to Missions; and, soon, the Jewish Agency International Development will be doing the same. I can't even begin to count up the number of federation Missions on the calendar for 2017 -- missions in which JFNA plays no role -- but I would guess that the number exceeds 25 and far exceeds the number in which JFNA is actually playing the major role.
All of us know what a great Mission experience can offer in fundraising, in leadership building, in community building. JFNA has sent underpopulated Mission after underpopulated Mission off never engaging in the kind of detached introspection as to why.
Many of us would be glad to help. I'll wait at by the phone.