CEO Meanderings

Spring and Summer – two of my favorite seasons! For farmers, it starts with preparing the soil, planting the crops, and tending to them. For Disaster response and recovery people – it is preparing for flooding and hurricanes, potential tornados, and wildfire threats. Training and preparation is key to getting a good result.

Strategic planning is a process that intentionally guides an organization to make determinations on the directions that it wants to go. National VOAD embarked on this journey and began with listening sessions with our members in the Spring. We continued these sessions at the National VOAD Conference and identified three core areas of focus, people self-identified their preferences, and smaller working groups were formed. I hope that you had the opportunity to participate and will continue to add your voice to help articulate the future of National VOAD. We have some additional virtual meetings scheduled and the Board will meet in late August to work with our consultant. The goal is to present a new plan at the Fall Member Meeting in October. Thank you to all member organizations that submitted their Triennial Review documents. Evaluation of the material will be helpful in the strategic planning process.

The Spring presented some opportunities to look at new partnerships with corporations through the Corporate Service Council hosted by Points of Light and UPS. Corporate Foundations are looking to invest financially but also engaging their skills based employees in disaster response and recovery. As you look at your organization – how would you engage employees of corporations in your plans? Do you have capacity and capability? What types of skills would enhance your work?

In the area of new members – I met with a group called the AirCare Alliance – private aviation groups that do medical flights, air damage assessments, animal rescue, and supply drops. In the Hurricane Harvey response many aircraft were utilized to provide an airbridge to the areas of Beaumont and Orange. They were also utilized in Puerto Rico to open up some of the smaller airports for supply drops.

What opportunities could be opened by engaging these highly energized and equipped flight organizations in our disaster work? Legal Services Corporation (LSC) assists with legal aid and pro-bono attorneys for disaster survivors. They have recently formed a Disaster Taskforce and asked NVOAD, Red Cross, SVDP, Catholic Charities, and other nonprofits to participate and look at additional resources needed in the legal response to disasters. How could you utilize attorneys in your work with survivors?

Rolling into Summer – NVOAD has participated in conversations with several State VOADs regarding their organizational structures and how changes to their bylaws and operations might yield better results. We launched the TX Disaster Case Management Program (DCMP) with our members and initiated the use of the new DART technology platform. The Puerto Rico VOAD and National VOAD is facilitating a Summit in July for members with operations in PR – to better facilitate the use of resources in the recovery. There are two recovery documents regarding recovery planning in Puerto Rico that are being completed – one requested by Congress through FEMA and another independently by foundations in PR. We will make them available as they become public record.

Finally – Hurricane season is upon us with Hurricane Beryl and Tropical Storm Chis coming in from the Atlantic. Are your organizations ready for another busy hurricane season? Wild fires are affecting 13 states – can we assist on multiple fronts? Preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation along with cooperation, communication, coordination, and collaboration – THANK YOU for all you do! Please let us know at the National VOAD office how we can continue to assist you!