Last week, I wrote about RCA's new Strategic Plan for the next three years, and listed the goals and objectives for our first four strategic areas: Communications, Community Works, Events and Traditions, and Financial. This week, I'll wrap up by discussing the final three areas of our plan.
Strategic Goal: To serve as a leading community voice on political and social issues affecting Reston.
1. Expand RCA's issue portfolio.
2. Strengthen the existing RCA committees, enabling them to better speak on their issues.
Issue advocacy is at the heart of RCA's service to the community. We are striving to speak up for the citizens of Reston on issues that affect our community. Reston 2020 serves as our model in this department; the work of Terry Maynard, Tammi Petrine, John Hanley and company is moving the discussion on development and transportation issues in Reston. The Reston Accessibility Committee also doing great work, helping write new accessibility provisions into the state building code. And Sustainable Reston, an RCA alumni committee, is raising awareness of local environmental and resource issues.
We're doing a lot of good standing up for Reston on the issues. And now we'd like to do more.
One way we'd like to do more is by strengthening our committees and enabling them to expand their efforts. Bringing in new volunteers and funds will obviously help in that regard. And I plan to sit down with the chairs of each committee to discuss their strategic goals, and to figure out how we will move our committees forward.
In addition to strengthening our existing committees, we plan to start new committees to tackle additional issues. One of the strengths of RCA is our flexibility; we are able to take on new issues as they arise, without a bunch of needless overhead or bureaucracy. But there are a number of issues in Reston that deserve more attention and effort, and we would like to take some of those on. We are developing a strategy to identify pressing issues on which RCA can advocate. And once we identify those issues, we will create committees with the expertise and resources to make a real impact, as 2020 and RAC and Sustainable Reston are doing today.
Strategic Goal: To increase and strengthen connections within the Reston community.
Objective: Build relationships with Reston organizations and influential individuals, to advocate for RCA interests and identify opportunities for collaboration.
Those of you who have been following Reston community issues for the last few years will probably recall RCA's campaign to incorporate Reston as a town. We launched a broad education and advocacy campaign in the community, and we gathered over 3700 signatures on a petition supporting a referendum on incorporation.
We were not successful in getting a referendum. However, our campaign did have an unforeseen side benefit. One of the advantages that we claimed for town status was the consolidation into a town government of a variety of functions currently served by several different organizations such as RA, RCC, and Fairfax County. Even though the town idea did not come to pass, the discussions we started inspired groups like RA and RCC to look at ways in which they could work more closely together. Those two organizations now work together perhaps more effectively than they ever have before.
We would like to see RCA continue to facilitate these sorts of connections between community organizations. Our community representatives work better when they work together, and I believe RCA can help foster that togetherness.
We plan to reach out to other Reston organizations to identify common goals and interests, and ideally to figure out ways we can help each other reach those goals. We plan to meet more frequently with our elected officials to discuss our issues. And we plan to be a more vocal presence at community meetings and events, speaking up for Reston and its citizens wherever and whenever we can.
Strategic Goal: To develop a dependable volunteer work force that can help RCA pursue its goals.
1. Seek out and develop resources for recruiting volunteers. Determine areas of volunteer need.
2. Recruit potential future RCA Board members.
As I stated last week, RCA's greatest strength is the hard work of its volunteers. Everything we achieve is only possible because of the folks who selflessly devote countless hours to serving RCA. Our current volunteer base is dedicated, talented, and a credit to the organization. But if we're going to expand our efforts on issue advocacy and community works, we're going to need reinforcements.
Happily, we already have a committee dedicated to this issue: the Outreach Committee, led by the multi-talented Hank Blakely. The committee is currently seeking out sources of volunteers. In addition to looking throughout the community, we are exploring the possibility of bringing in high school and college students who are seeking community service credit. I look forward to seeing what kind of recruits the committee can locate for us.
If you're going to bring in volunteers, you need to have jobs for them to do. So in conjunction with our committee chairs, we plan to draw up a series of volunteer job descriptions, both for discrete tasks (such as a flyer drop) and for ongoing commitments (such as project managers for RAC). We're also committed to putting our volunteers to work right away after they sign up to help out.
By bringing in new volunteers to RCA, we can dramatically expand our capacity to serve the community, which is a win-win for RCA and for Reston.
There you have it! Our Strategic Plan will guide RCA's planning and operations over the next three years, as we build our organization up to provide the best and most effective service to our community and our citizens. If you have any questions or thoughts about the plan, I invite you to share them in the comments. And if the plan has inspired you to get involved, so much the better! Drop me a line and I'll let you know how you can help.
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Also, I want to remind everyone that the RA elections are now underway! Ballots are being mailed out now; if you haven't received yours yet, you will soon. (I received mine yesterday.) This is an important election, as the RA Board is going to be dealing with some crucial issues about maintenance, capital planning, and accommodating new residents in the years ahead. Take some time to learn about the candidate, and please vote. Voting closes on March 30.