By Lois Maharg, President of the Board
Thanks to those of you who took time to fill out the Strategic Planning Survey, bringing to 26 the number of staff and volunteers who offered comments and ideas to help us plan for the future. Overall, responses to our questions were mixed (and some were actual opposites). But here are a few comments that came up frequently.
Strengths: our programs, including support groups, classes, and Ending the Silence; our compassion and dedication to our mission; the help we afford others through lived experience of mental health conditions; our advocacy efforts.
Weaknesses: lack of a stable fundraising strategy; lack of diversity throughout the organization; too few volunteers and difficulty retaining those we have; staff turnover.
Opportunities: doing more in-person outreach to increase awareness of NAMI services; expanding our services to communities of color, teens, and other underserved groups; collaborating more with partners; developing a stable fundraising strategy.
Threats: lack of diverse funding sources; leaders aging out and not enough younger volunteers to fill leadership positions; compassion and empathy fatigue; stigma, which still keeps people experiencing mental health challenges from reaching out for help.
As for what people would like to see NAMI WC do in the next few years if money, time, and personnel were unlimited, responses were all over the map. Everything from developing organization-wide active bystander training and helping develop a model unarmed crisis response team to creating a peer-focused wellness center and a cadre of paid “family navigators/advocates” to help people navigate the mental health care system. Whew! While NAMI Washtenaw could obviously benefit from improvement in some areas, among us there’s no dearth of ideas!
Again, thanks to those of you who offered your ideas. The Strategic Plan Committee will now use everyone’s input to develop goals aimed at helping improve the lives of people living with mental health conditions and their supporters in more diverse and effective ways.