The ALS Association has had an ongoing parade of meetings for the past week or so since we had a couple of board members visit us on Tuesday. We’ve been discussing the direction of care services (the branch I work in), and how to continue to build our service base for our patients. It’s been really interesting to sit in on those meetings. I sat on the board of another organization and participated in their meetings and planning events, but this has let me get some perspective on how other organizations handle strategic planning and how a functional leader motivates people in planning. I also got to see Alex briefly on Tuesday when he arrived to drop off a wheelchair donated to us by CRIS.
I also got to attend a fundraising event last week, which was an ice cream social and an opportunity to discuss the Walk to the Cure, the ALS walk that’s held annually. As someone who is terrible at asking people for money, it was great to watch Liz, who handles our fundraising and marketing and clearly has a gift for it. It was also clearly a fun event for our patients who were able to make it, since it let them bring their kids and their families and socialize with other patients in a setting outside the support group or clinic. They enjoyed the ice cream, too.
As a care services team we’ve also been getting together to discuss how to progress from providing an “expanded” level of services to our patients to providing a “comprehensive” level. It was interesting to see how the National branch of the ALSA broke down the services offered into different levels to better understand how to move from one place to the next, and I appreciated that the National chapter put together this means of categorizing without placing judgments on chapters that don’t have the staff or money to afford a broader range of services. For us, it’s a matter of finding out how much funding we can secure and what services we want to try to provide first. It’s been exciting to be part of a growing organization this summer and also have my opinion and thoughts on the programs I work with listened to and respected when I weigh in.