Background by Ron Brenners
I am trying out a new name for this effort and hope that you will accept this. While there have been many, many good suggestions, I felt that some were too tame and some would doubtless turn off the media, which is, after all, the goal of this effort. I have dropped the 800K as it was too confusing. I chose this name to highlight a couple of things. First, although there are many adults afflicted with type I diabetes, I believe that we can all agree that it is the children that will bring out the media. Second, I wanted to keep the "Capital' in our name as it is the focus of our effort and the tactical goal of all of us. Finally, I tried to come up with something that would be catchy and easy to pronounce and remember. This is important for all of us, as well as being important if we are to have media coverage. If we can not get a consensus on this name, I'd like to suggest that a committee of volunteers be set up and come up with a name that is to represent us. OK, so where do we begin?
As we discussed, the goal of this effort is to have 5-10,000 children and a like number of adults (or triple that number, if possible) to show up on the steps of the Nation's Capital and express our demands for a CURE. What we actually say will be sorted out later on - suffice it to say that we will have much to talk about when we get there. We will hope to get coverage in all of the Nation's (and, International?) press - TV, radio, print, Internet, etc. I am in the process of setting up a Non-Profit Corporation (perhaps a 501 (c) (3) ) called by the same name. I'd like to use the Gray Ribbon Campaign as the umbrella vehicle for this, as it is a fantastic symbol and one that many of us have already embraced.
Here are some ground rules I'd like us to follow. As in the Gray Ribbon Campaign, I'd like to suggest that we, as a group, neither solicit nor accept monetary contributions. Perhaps, as we get rolling along, we might accept offers to provide for transportation or other expenses for our trip (meals, accommodations, etc.) but I don't want the stench of money tainting this effort. I think that we have all seen what one misinterpreted action can do to an organization. I don't want us lumped in the same bucket as other organizations that are collecting money for no particular purpose. I realize that this might limit some of our followers but this is a price we will have to pay and a situation that we will have to endure. Also, as a rule, I think that we should follow a "rule by consensus" policy. As I have said from the start, this is not my personal campaign. I do take this personally but I realize that there are many talented individuals here and I think that we can all benefit from one another. So, majority rules, OK? Having said that, I know that you will all agree that each of us is as important as the next, and that no one person is in charge of this. Either we all succeed together or we all decide to abandon this effort. This will require commitment, energy, cooperation and an unprecedented amount of resourcefulness from all of us to see this through to the finish. Good luck.
- Roles and Responsibilities
It seems that we will need volunteers in several areas to pull all of this together, so here is my first take on this. For lack of a better name, the key areas will fall under the domain of coordinators. Hopefully, these coordinators will have several volunteers to assist them in their tasks. I am sure that this is not an all-encompassing list but for now, here are some of the key areas that will need to be staffed (parenthesis indicate the desired number of individuals):
General Coordinator (1);
Communication Coordinator (1);
Transportation Coordinator (1);
Media Coordinator (2-4);
State Coordinators (10-20);
Government Coordinator (2);
Corporate Coordinator (1); and
School Coordinator (1).
I am willing to be the general coordinator, unless someone else has a strong preference to do this task. The general coordinator will oversee the overall effort and try to eliminate duplication of effort while seeing to it that all tasks get accomplished.
The communication coordinator will facilitate communication among all of the volunteers. As our effort grows, the responsibilities of this person will grow. This is not for the faint of heart. Internet, email, telephone and snail mail will all be required from this person. Ideally, if this person has access to an electronic chat or forum where we can all "meet" on a regular basis, that would facilitate us greatly.
From the start, we should begin our preparations for getting all of us to Washington. To be sure, many will want to make their own arrangements, however, a great many will rely upon us to help them with their transportation needs. The transportation coordinator will do this. Hopefully we will get representation from all fifty states and Canada at our gathering.
As I have said, the purpose of this campaign is to inform and the best way to that is through the media. Our media coordinators will help us communicate our vision and our dreams to the outside world. We will need to begin a publicity campaign on this immediately. All forms of media - Internet, TV, cable, radio, newspapers, magazines, and flyers, should be utilized.
The state coordinators will be responsible for identifying and getting the individuals to participate. In some areas this may be a one-person job. In major metropolitan areas perhaps two or more folks will be needed.
The government coordinator will be our liaison with the folks in congress and the various government agencies. Someone who is experienced with this would be ideal, yet if we have no one like that, someone with a great deal of persistence and diplomacy will be needed. The art of governing seems to be the act of getting as little done as possible; while at the same time making everyone think that you've actually accomplished a great deal.
Our corporate coordinator will communicate with the Fortune 500 and also the "other" diabetes groups. For the Fortune 500, we will require them to help us get the word out about this campaign, to their employees and families. In the event that we decide to take on corporate contributions of transportation assistance or food and lodging assistance, we will need to have this link established early on. Also, for the purposes of the media, it will not hurt us to be "endorsed" by many of these organizations. A strong letter writing campaign will need to be undertaken right away. As for the "other" organizations, I feel that regardless of how one thinks about ADA or JDF, they can be a useful tool in assisting our efforts. All activities between and the "other" diabetes groups should go through this individual.
Presently, we are targeting Friday, May 8, 1998, as the date for our event. This means that some children will miss a day of two of school. Our school coordinator will help those parents who are having difficulty in arranging that date with their local school system. Usually, this will involve some "educating" and sometimes some "persuading" of local school officials on the need to do this. Also, this person will assist in getting the word out to the school nurses. If possible, it would be helpful for this person to contact the many diabetes camps throughout the USA and Canada to see if we could use their mailing list for this purpose.
As you all can see, all of these jobs will be, to some extent dependent and at the same time, in support of one another. We will try to minimize the overlap of responsibilities as there is so much to do.
- Wrap up
Why are we selecting Friday, May 8, 1998? In the first place, a Friday date will allow us to minimize the impact of missing school. May 8, 1998, will be three weeks before congress adjourns for the summer recess and therefore, we will have the maximum number of elected officials present on The Hill at that time. May 8, 1998, is the Friday prior to Mother's Day. This will enable us to make maximum use of the media surrounding that date - think of this as a GIANT Mother's Day greeting.
So, those are my thoughts on the matter. There are quite a few of us that have indicated some desire to assist with this. Well, here's where the rubber meets the road. If you still want to help out, I need names to fill in the job slots above. The best way to do this, until we have a communication coordinator, is to think about the job you'd like to take on. I'd like the volunteer(s) for the communication coordinator to email me. Once that slot is filled, we will again contact the entire group for an in-depth planning session.
I look forward to working with all of you!!!
2313 Dunwick Drive
Plano, Texas 75023-1453
Last Updated: Thursday August 29, 2002 21:02:12
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