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“I Didn’t Know We Could Do That” Shattering Paradigms Sherry Tidwell/Diane Harry M.A.

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Presentation on theme: "“I Didn’t Know We Could Do That” Shattering Paradigms Sherry Tidwell/Diane Harry M.A."— Presentation transcript:

1 “I Didn’t Know We Could Do That” Shattering Paradigms Sherry Tidwell/Diane Harry M.A.

2 Disclaimer Before implementing ideas offered in this presentation or other conference sessions, first discuss your ideas with your agency leaders and your AAA contractor to determine whether your ideas will impact your nonprofit status or contractual obligations. Although all of the examples we’ll be sharing with you occur somewhere, not all of them will be appropriate for your particular situation.

3 The Reality Future OAA funding is unknown, individual and community donation levels have plummeted, and the Super Congress must find over a trillion dollars from the discretionary funding category…that includes US! Over 40,000 elderly Arkansans participate in congregate and home delivered meal programs, funded through the Older Americans Act (OAA). Over 5,000 MOWs programs exist across America with over 1.7 volunteers, assisting approximately 3 million older adults who want to remain at home. What happens to them, if we’re not here?

4 Acknowledge the reality. -What if the city/county/state and/or federal government decreases/eliminates funding? -How can we sustain vital services for Arkansas seniors and position those services so they will be there for future generations? -Do you believe OAA programs could be cut/eliminated? -Do you think you can help save them? -Does it make you uncomfortable?

5 Action Rethink service delivery. Reinvent who you are. Redefine how you operate and market your services.

6 Service Delivery

7 Can we CHARGE for activities? Yes, you can. Canvas community prices before setting your own. It will be hard to change prices later. Charge to pay a professional/skilled instructor. Payment between teacher and students. Teacher donates a portion, or all of class fee. Tiered membership model: Free Basic Membership: OAA programs VA Membership: for a fee, provides a discount for any fee based activities/classes.

8 What might people pay for? Bring value added content to your program in addition to OAA socialization, such as: Lifelong Learning education series Peer to Peer instruction Community Garden/Farmers’ Market Sales Tai Chi/Zumba Wii Bus Tours Evidence Based Programs

9 Reinvent Yourself

10 Can we SELL a product? Yes, you can. As a nonprofit you are allowed to make money as long as you reinvest it in your programs. Check with your auditor to see if your nonprofit status would be affected. Ask to your agency to create a Foundation for earned revenue, if it does not have one. Place a monetary value on what you do best. Rethink your programs from a “make money” perspective, while still providing free OAA services. What do you do best? Product, Service?

11 Can we learn/try something new? Yes, you can. Find a business mentor (SCORE, local business person. Small Business Administration) to show you how to begin thinking of your services as a business. Fee for service MOWs –Post operative, short term. Catering to Boys/Girls Clubs, jail, daycare program. Senior Center Café Partner with local food bank

12 Redefine how you operate and market your services.

13 Can we do business outside our AAA contract? Yes you can, as long as you fulfill your contractual responsibilities and protect your nonprofit status. Second entrées-set your price. Alternative menu choices-lighter fare for a fee. Set your price Take-home Meal price must not undercut ElderChoice reimbursement of $5.97, if it is a DRI meal. Not a DRI meal? Set your price. Customer driven single serving or bulk sales: your “Best Dish”; stuffing, cornbread, pie, salad, rolls, etc. Set you price Cater/host wedding receptions, class reunions, clubs, etc. outside of senior center hours. Holiday catering for local businesses. Join a “Buying Group” for more competitive pricing; offer less expensive approved alternatives such as Ensure, Juice, yogurt instead of milk. Confirm use of the substitution with your AAA.

14 May I partner with for profits? Yes, you can. Reach out to for-profits to gain new customers/increase visibility. Advocate and Educate for and about community based services. – Contact local businesses and show them how you can expand their market; ie. Bakery, grocery store, car wash, etc. with discounts to their business. – Rent your space, advertise it through a catering company. – Add a senior center percentage profit to Bus Tour cost. – Sponsor activities held at other venues, ie. Bowling alley, museum, restaurant. – Work with your city/county to propose a community tax to support your services. – Educate local hospital/physician clinic staff/leave brochures. – Sell ad space to for profits on your website, in your newsletter. – Market to those who do not know about/come to your center via non traditional local partners; pumpkin patch, winery, museums, colleges, etc.

15 Identify your “Brand”. Senior Centers are “customer driven”. Put an emphasis on customer service and staff training. – Use your Mission statement to create your “brand”. Your brand is your promise. What do you promise your customers? Generate staff “buy-in” around your collective promises to customers. – Exercise with staff: (1) Write down your Mission statement. (2) What are you promising? (3)List your promises. (4) Ask staff for examples re: how they fulfill those promises.

16 Sing from the same song. Script dialogue for telephone answering and front desk welcomes that demonstrate your promises. – Answer by the third ring. – _________ senior center, ________speaking. How may I help you? – Ask permission to put someone on hold. – Answer a transfer call: This is ___________, how may I help you? Provide/rehearse scripting with your volunteers and board members. Prominently display your promises in your newsletter and on your website. Distribute your brochures at doctors’, dentists’, YMCA and various other community spots.

17 Conclusion Don’t let the future happen to you, mold it to suit yourself. Don’t be afraid to fail. Think Big and then fill in the blanks as to how you get there. In the best of all possible worlds, what would your centers look/be like? Your answer is your goal.

18 Think Differently by Ken Segall “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward. Maybe they have to be crazy. How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels? We make tools for these kinds of people. While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

19 Resources Small Business Administration: SCORE: Periodicals:, Marketing Plan Templates: AOA Newsletter: Nonprofit Newswire: National Council on Aging/National Institute of Senior Centers:

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