ING Impact Reports

Download a full copy of the 2014-2015 report here.
Download a full copy of the 2012-2014 report here.
Download a full copy of the 2009-2012 report here.

Executive Summary to 2014-2015 Impact Report

ing_impact_report_2015

The year since our last impact report has seen more than its share of dramatic and challenging events, and, as an organization committed to interfaith and intercultural harmony and respect, ING needs to keep pace. ING continues to re-envision itself, building new capacity to prepare for the challenges ahead. Here, we are pleased to present not only an analysis of ING’s impact over AY 2014-2015 (September 1, 2014 through August 31, 2015) in changing perceptions about Muslims and their faith as well as educating about other religious groups, but also to report new directions in which ING is moving and their impact. As we did in our last report, we will provide documented evidence that our approach succeeds in reducing misconceptions and prejudices towards Muslims and their faith. We will also show how through use of the Internet ING is expanding its impact both quantitatively and qualitatively and meeting the needs of a globalizing world with 21st-century tools.

We have increased our presence in the digital world, an important venue for expanding our work and reach. We witnessed impressive growth in this area, with nearly 271,000 unique visitors viewing our website content (a 35% increase from the previous period). Of that number, 65%, or 175,000 unique visitors, accessed our answers to Frequently Asked Questions. Our Facebook page showed a 181% increase in “likes” over last year (from 3,600 to 10,000). We have also increased our use of Twitter and other social media platforms.

ING has continued its traditional outreach through live, face-to-face presentations and webinars, providing education to diverse audiences utilizing trained speakers in both the Islamic Speakers Bureau (ISB) and the Interfaith Speakers Bureau (IFSB). The ISB provides individual speakers discussing various topics relating to Muslims and their faith to schools, colleges, community organizations, and other venues. The IFSB provides panels of speakers to similar venues, each panelist representing one of the five major world religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism. The IFSB also organizes interfaith service projects, bringing people of diverse cultures and religions together for service as well as conversation. In addition to its work through these two speakers’ bureaus, ING offers cultural diversity seminars to various professional groups, educating them on best practices in dealing with Muslim communities, employees, patients, and students.

Locally in the San Francisco Bay Area between September 1, 2014, and August 31, 2015, ING speakers addressed over 14,000 people in 400 presentations. This represents nearly 40% growth in audience numbers and more than a 30% increase in the number of presentations over last year.

ING has also continued to encourage and support the development of affiliated chapters around the country that replicate ING’s methodology and content. ING presently has 19 affiliates in 16 states and one Canadian province. Last year, they delivered over 1,000 presentations to various audiences that included an estimated 14,000 middle and high school students.

During this period, ING has continued to administer surveys and evaluations of its educational outreach programs to measure how well it is fulfilling its mission. Audience evaluations from presentations by the Islamic Speakers Bureau and the Interfaith Speakers Bureau in the San Francisco Bay area document an increased understanding and more accurate picture of American Muslims and their faith as well as improved readiness for positive interfaith relationships. The change in attitudes documented by surveys before and after ISB presentations demonstrates ING’s effectiveness in making Muslims and their faith a better understood and accepted part of the American religious and cultural landscape. While over the past year only 21% of student respondents reported a “high” level of knowledge of Islam before an ING presentation, after a presentation that figure increased dramatically to 60%. Responses to questions on six common stereotypes about Islam and Muslims show that this increased knowledge leads to changed attitudes. For instance, the percentage of respondents who see Islam as promoting peace increases from 59% to 88%. Similarly, the percentage recognizing that Muslims have long been part of America rises from 37% to 65%, while the number of respondents seeing Muslims as “Americans like myself” increases from 52% to 75%. On the other hand, the percentage believing that Muslims “see women as inferior” decreases from 26% to 7%.

Audience evaluations also demonstrate the effectiveness of ING’s Interfaith Speakers Bureau. Over the past two academic years, over 94% of audience respondents rated interfaith panel presentations “Excellent” or “Good.” Only 5% rated them “Fair,” and less than 1% rated them as “Poor.” Open-ended audience comments also show the positive impact of ING’s interfaith presentations.

Educators and other requesters also show satisfaction with the relevancy of ING content, both Islamic and interfaith. Over 92% of respondents rate ING content “Excellent” or “Good,” with a strong majority (66%) rating it “Excellent.” ING speakers likewise received better than 90% ratings of “Excellent” or “Good” on all criteria, again with a strong majority (75%) rating them “Excellent.” Requester comments also register not only satisfaction with presentations but also striking evidence of their impact on audiences.

In late 2014, ING launched a new initiative aimed at Muslim youth: the INGYouth program. This program aims to increase young American Muslims’ Islamic literacy to help them educate about their faith and respond to frequently asked questions about Islam, and to prevent extremism, which is often based on ignorance of authentic religious teachings; build confidence in their Islamic identities based on a sound understanding of their faith; and inspire action towards bridge-building between American Muslims and people of other faiths, or those with no faith. In AY 2014-2015, ING convened five INGYouth workshops in the Bay Area and around the country. Student participants have uniformly reported increased confidence in representing their faith and confronting harassment and bullying.

At a time when Islamophobia remains a major threat to the harmony and cohesiveness of American society, the work of ING continues to be critically important. Providing education about Islam and Muslims in the context of enhancing religious literacy among all faith practitioners is central to creating a pluralistic society. We hope that you will continue to support ING’s important mission to educate Americans about Muslims and their faith, while promoting religious literacy, understanding, and mutual respect and building relationships among people of diverse cultures and religions.

Download a full copy of the 2014-2015 report here.
Download a full copy of the 2012-2014 report here.
Download a full copy of the 2009-2012 report here.

Dr. Henry Millstein
Programs Analyst

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