ENLA at 2012 Annual VOAD Conference – day two

Hi everyone,

It’s raining today in Norfolk, but that’s not keeping anyone out of the meeting rooms here at the Marriott.  We’re learning about ways to improve our processes, meeting peers and potential partners from other areas, and getting the chance to ask questions.  Many of the presenters are planning on making their presentations available on the NVOAD website, so I hope to have a long list of links to send to you soon.

I attended a workshop today that addressed the emerging concept of the Business Operations Center; here are a few main ideas on the question of how VOADs can engage for-profit members or partners:

1. Find the right level for communication; for local projects, communicate with the local business location (a local office or store for example), and for corporate level projects, make a connection at the leadership level.
2. Ask them to get involved in preparedness: they need to get their staff prepared, and they may want to help their clients get prepared.
3. Give them a way to engage their employees.  Things like competitive fundraisers and volunteer opportunities or other avenues for personal development can engage employees and build teams.
4. Draw on existing social relationships: who do we already know personally?

Both NorCal and SoCal VOAD members met with Peter Gudaitis of NDIN along with new NVOAD members Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and Islamic Relief USA (who is already an ENLA member), and potential NVOAD members United Sikhs and Sikh Coalition.  These faith-based organizations are looking for partners in their newly-emerging domestic disaster relief efforts. They are working to understand how to connect through state and local VOADs, and what these memberships mean.  I’m excited to welcome them into the ENLA fold and learn how we can help increase their disaster resilience so that they can become contributing members of the VOAD.

Tomorrow, I’ll be presenting on behalf of ENLA member Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation at their workshop “Community Partnerships: Retaining Membership, Sustaining Donations, and Building Movements through the Grassroots.” I hope to post the slides for your review soon.



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