Meeting with Our Board
The CHADD national board of directors met for two and a half days last week to outline the organization’s priorities for 2007-2008. Before and after the board meeting, the annual conference workgroup met to continue planning the November 7-10, 2007 annual conference. This year’s conference will be held in the Washington, DC area at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, near Reagan National Airport in Arlington County, Virginia.
This is the essence of non-profit voluntary health agencies in America. Uncompensated volunteers, who represent a cross-section of Americans, work significant hours to plan, govern, and oversee a national association’s work. This particular board and this particular staff have a very positive, respectful, and productive relationship. We enjoy each other.
The board spent time updating the association’s by-laws. In doing this, the board expanded the purposes of CHADD, which are:
1. To maintain support groups for parents, family members, and other caregivers of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) and related disorders, and adults with AD/HD and related disorders.
2. To provide a forum for continuing education about AD/HD for parents, family members, and other caregivers of children with AD/HD and related disorders, adults with AD/HD and related disorders, and health professionals.
3. To serve as a resource for science-based information on AD/HD.
4. To serve as an advocate for persons with AD/HD and related disorders.
5. To encourage discussion, dialogue, and understanding among persons in the community who have an interest in AD/HD, such as educators, health professionals, public officials, parents of children with AD/HD and related disorders, and adults with AD/HD and related disorders.
6. To foster the objective that the best educational experiences should be available to children with AD/HD and related disorders, so their specific difficulties will be recognized and appropriately responded to within educational settings.
7. To engage in activities intended to fulfill the stated mission of CHADD, which is to improve the lives of people affected by AD/HD and related disorders.
8. To build a social movement to promote the welfare of all persons with AD/HD and related disorders.
9. To work toward the elimination of stigma, discrimination, and barriers to the diagnosis and treatment of AD/HD and related disorders through the lifespan.
10. To advocate for increased research funding to better understand, prevent, and treat AD/HD and related disorders through the lifespan.
Living up to these lofty goals is always difficult. In addition to the CHADD volunteer board, their committees and work groups, and the staff, hundreds of uncompensated volunteers across America work every day to assist people with AD/HD and related disorders. These volunteers work in the CHADD chapters and support groups and work as certified teachers of the seven-session Parent to Parent: Living with AD/HD intensive training program. We know that we need to better support and better recognize their efforts.
To achieve the purpose of CHADD within a 12-month budget, the board also adopted the following strategic priorities.
Priority One: To provide information to and services for people affected by AD/HD, we will strive to
• Develop and implement a membership plan that addresses the defined needs of CHADD’s target audiences
• Develop a plan to implement recommendations from an outside consultant for developing a branding strategy for CHADD
• Promote diversity and cultural competence and integrate them into all of CHADD’s major functions
• Use CHADD publications strategically to provide a support network for parents, caregivers, and adults with AD/HD
• Enhance and promote the CHADD annual conference using the 20th anniversary celebration
• Increase the number of support groups available to CHADD members and strengthen existing CHADD community groups
• Provide education and training for people affected by AD/HD
• Increase subsidies available to support persons unable to pay CHADD membership fees
Priority Two: To increase public awareness, understanding, and acceptance of AD/HD, we will strive to
• Serve as a resource for accurate, evidence-based information, through such vehicles as the National Resource Center on AD/HD and the National AD/HD Education Initiative
• Disseminate and increase information about AD/HD to target audiences
• Focus on CHADD’s Web presence by integrating more effectively the CHADD/NRC Web sites, and adding more content to the CHADD Web site, while increasing consistency of appearance between its sections
• Increase name recognition and visibility of the organization
Priority Three: To influence national, state, and local public policies to build a social movement to assist persons with AD/HD, we will strive to
• Maintain funding for the National Resource Center on AD/HD
• Enhance CHADD involvement in state and local public-policy work
• Implement the adult and child public-policy agendas
• Develop a plan for increased federal funding of research to better understand, prevent, and treat AD/HD and related disorders
Listening to Our Members
CHADD was fortunate enough to have contracted with a leading membership and marketing consultant to randomly survey CHADD members to determine member priorities in joining CHADD. The consultant terms this research “determining the value of a CHADD membership.”
What did we learn? We learned that CHADD members highly value a CHADD that delivers
• Science-based information about AD/HD
• Advocacy activities that promote the interests and welfare of persons with AD/HD
• Advocacy activities that support research into the understanding, prevention, and treatment of AD/HD
• Local community support for dealing with their daily struggles and local opportunities to discuss and share experiences
• Greater resources for members on the Internet and Web
An Ambitious but Achievable Agenda
Like most organizations, we do some of this; some of this well, some of this poorly, and some we don’t do much of. We have limited resources, limited staff, limited volunteers, and limited community resources. We collectively try our best. We constantly plan and implement improvements and enhancements. We use the management principles of management by objective and continuous quality improvement.
We need to hear from our members, potential and prospective members, and people who are interested in AD/HD but don’t want to be our members. CHADD is building a social movement to assist all persons with AD/HD. We can better do this with more members and more donors. But we are here to help as best as we can. As the father of a sixteen-year-old son with the inattentive form of AD/HD and related challenges, I know we need organizations like CHADD to work each day to assist us. CHADD has hundreds of volunteers and a staff dedicated to providing this support.