Editor’s Note: In this blog posting, our Executive Director, Kevin J. Burns, discusses our currently ongoing Strategic Planning process. In the photo below, Greg Pierman, ActionAIDS Medical Case Manager, presents ideas gleaned during a group staff discussion session as part of our organizational Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis. Update 11/17/14: our Consumer Survey is now closed. Thank you for your input!

ActionAIDS has commenced an ambitious strategic planning process, and we cannot do this without you. We want our community to bothunderstand and to participate in the process. We will be continuing the planning process through to the end of June 2015, resulting in a new plan for adoption by our Board of Directors.

Strategic Planning at ActionAIDS

Strategic planning is nothing new to us at ActionAIDS. It’s a routine part of how we manage the organization, resulting, for example, in recognition from the Philadelphia Foundation that we’re a “high performing” organization at our Mission Impact stage – providing programmatic offerings, organizational leadership, and evidence of strategic partnerships, advocacy efforts, and collaboration.

Our planning process takes place on all organizational levels and includes our donors, volunteers, board of directors, management, administrative, and direct service staff, and – last but certainly not least – our clients. Planning at ActionAIDS includes our broader community and stakeholders as well.

Client input is an integral part of our planning process. This year’s annualConsumer Feedback Survey will provide direct input for our planning. Our Consumer Feedback Survey is available at all office locations and online, in English, Spanish, and French – to meet the needs of our diverse client community.

We undertake planning activities every four years. The planning process results in a three-year Strategic Plan that sets goals and identifies priorities for us as an organization. Our current Strategic Plan, which we developed in fiscal year 2011, was for 2012 – 2014. So it’s now time to return to the drawing board and look to what the future holds for ActionAIDS.

Planning a Response to Changing Realities

ActionAIDS was founded in 1986, during the early years of the AIDS epidemic. At the time, and until only very recently, HIV disease was a dominating and often overwhelming issue in the lives of our clients in the broadest terms of both health and social functioning. Because of medical developments since the early years, the face of the epidemic has changed dramatically. Anti-retroviral treatment has proven effective, and HIV disease has been gradually transformed into a chronic, usually non-fatal condition.

At the same time, our core medical case management services have increasingly focused on the neediest – clients who are economically destitute and socially disenfranchised, have both substance abuse and mental health issues and lack adequate, stable housing. The new reality is that HIV disease itself is now often not the most pressing problem for our clients.

Our strategic planning process will examine what this means as a critical juncture for us as a service organization. Given the new reality that HIV/AIDS may not be the primary issue for our clients – a very different reality than that of even a few years ago – should we re-focus our services and shed our identity as an AIDS-specific organization?

How to Participate

Your views matter, and you can help us by taking a few minutes to complete our Community Survey. The links below will take you to our Survey online. Or, please feel free to comment on this blog, and let us know what you think about strategic planning at ActionAIDS. Thanks in advance for your input!

  • To complete the survey in English, please click here.
  • To complete the survey in Spanish, please click here.
  • To complete the survey in French, please click here.

Our strategic planning process is supported by a generous grant from The Barra Foundation.

– Kevin J. Burns, Executive Director, ActionAIDS