Tuesday, December 30, 2008

ED - the Engagement Director

I've been reading a lot about volunteer engagement, and Boomers, and the untapped (no pun intended) pool of talent of the Boomers reaching retirement age but not ready to hit the links or just fade out. A key component of tackling the needs of the uninsured is to reach these retired health care professionals.

Unfortunately, free clinics don't do themselves a favor with their volunteer recruitment efforts. They may have some systems or processes in place, but more than likely it's a grab-em-and-put-them-to-work mentality. Most clinics call their efforts volunteer recruitment, but I think that' all wrong, that it's pointing in the wrong direction...

"Volunteer recruitment" is a focus on the clinic - what volunteers do we need, how do we get them, how do we keep them. This is backwards; the focus needs to be on the volunteer.

I would argue that the correct perspective is not on volunteer recruitment but on volunteer ENGAGEMENT. What does that mean? Where I'm getting at is looking at it from the volunteer's angle - why does a retired doc or nurse what to volunteer? What's in it for them - a sense of purpose, a giving back to the community, a desire to practice medicine "the way it used to be" - what is it? What drives them?

Then, design everything you do around meeting the needs of the volunteer, not around the clinic. Let the Executive Director become the Engagement Director, the Volunteer Coordinator become the Volunteer Engager, the CEO become the Chief Engagement Officer. I contend that in the long run you will be much more successful.


Friday, December 19, 2008

"Reform of health care up in air as economy sinks" - USA Today

There's an article in USA Today this morning in which the Congressional Budget Office states that "...the number of uninsured could jump 20% in 10 years, up from about 45 million in 2009 to 54 million...".


So here's the deal: while folks smarter than me figure out the ultimate solution to this problem, free clinics are out there NOW working to meet the needs of the uninsured. However, they can't do it without the volunteers...and of course funding.

It is time that free clinics are seen as an integral part of the solution to serving the uninsured, and are a player at the table when health care 'reform' or other such talk happens. We also need to continue to work hard at recruiting volunteers to help meet the need.

Here's the story: http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2008-12-18-health_N.htm

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Where's the talk about the "seasoned" health care professionals?

In a recent blog, that I have listed in My Blog List, Dr. Frederic Jones blogs about the fact that there just is not a lot out there looking at utilizing the strong talents of the volunteer health care professionals that are out there in the free clinics engaging, not just talking...

It's a great blog, and a great point - what's out there on this topic? At TAP-IN, we are proud to be focused on that exact topic. An interesting question, though - what else is out there? Any other programs?

What are folks seeing out there?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Penelope Burk's Blog

Here's a new blog by Penelope Burk, author of Donor-Centered Fundraising:


Should be interesting...

Watch Out For "Mission Creep"

When times get tough, and funding sources start drying up, we will often chase whatever funding opportunities we can, running down one 'rabbit hole' after another. We will seek out large grants, and see how we can apply for them for our clinic. Be careful here, warning...

What commonly occurs with nonprofits is a phenomenon called 'mission creep'. Mission creep is where we let the money dictate our mission, our objectives and strategies. We find a large grant opportunity, and we make what we do fit the grant's criteria. This is usually a gradual thing, where we start off in a gray area where it 'kind of' fits us, and before long we have drifted away from our mission.

With every funding source, every potential grant, you should ask the question "How will this funding help us to advance our misson?" If it has nothing to do with our mission, stay away from it. This is not to say that a clinic's mission should not be reviewed periodically. However, the review comes BEFORE the funding opportunity reveals itself, not after.

One of the most powerful things I had done as a development director was to turn a funder down because their current grant focus areas did not match our mission. Funders greatly respect honesty and those with a clear vision of their mission, and they can see right through any attempts to 'force' a clinic into a grant priority. The power in turning down a funder in this way comes when they do have a grant opportunity that does match your mission - your credibility is so much higher with them because of it.