Volunteer Leadership in Action

WELCOME TO THE VOLUNTEERS IN ACTION RESOURCE SITE

“Our volunteers, partners and supporters truly are the heart of March of Dimes and a powerful reason why our future can be filled with healthy moms and strong babies.” –Stacey D. Stewart, March of Dimes President and CEO

“Thank YOU for all you do to fight for moms and babies. We look forward to working together to align for future success in the fight for the health of all moms and babies.” –Steve Farbstein, Chair, National Volunteer Leadership Council



2020 Volunteer Restructure Updates

As the staffing structure shifts, we must align our volunteer structure as well to increase mission impact and strengthen market boards locally. This will still involve facilitating statewide collaboration and communication in the areas of impact, movement, and growth, but the approach will be more integrated at the market level. Learn more here.

 


OUR EVOLUTION 

mom and baby

 

What does an organization that fights for moms, babies and families look like to you? What work should it be doing? Why should you support them?

Today our country is facing an urgent maternal and infant health crisis. The U.S. is among the most dangerous developed nations in which to give birth. And there’s great inequity in maternal mortality rates and birth outcomes for women of color. It’s not fine. But with your help, it can be.

With the engagement of supporters like you, March of Dimes is tackling these issues head on. Fighting for the lives and health of moms and babies is what we do, and they need us now more than ever.

Something has to change, and the time is now. Over the past several months, we have consulted with many local and national volunteer leaders to help determine a vision for the future. You can learn more about how we’re evolving in the fight for moms and babies by checking out these videos.


Hear about the challenges ahead and the case for change.

Take an in-depth look into our new operating model that allows us to thrive.

NATIONAL AND MARKET STAFFING STRUCTURE

March of Dimes must drive impact, movement, revenue growth and performance to be successful. In order to build a high-performing organization, we need to strengthen our foundation around structure, talent, culture, governance, technology and processes.

Specifically as it relates to structure, we’re making shifts to empower you, our volunteer leaders, to serve in an even greater advisory capacity. These changes will allow us to invest resources differently than in the past to achieve maximum success.

1. Move to a flatter organization so staff and volunteers are more empowered locally

• Geographically, we’re refocusing our states/regional approach.

• There are 7 states that are truly high growth and high impact: CA, TX, FL, IL, VA/DC/MD, NY/Northern NJ, and Northeast (MA/CT/RI/VT/NH/ME). We’ll optimize staff in here to allow for further growth.

• In addition, states and territories with the highest mission need based on an F score from our recent Report Card will require a very different, focus: WV, GA, AL, MS, AR, LA and PR.

• A West and an East region will continue to make up the remainder of the country to carry on our fight for moms and babies and fundraising efforts.

2. Create more integration and matrixed teams

• Today at a local level, an Executive Director oversees major gifts and several event-focused fundraising staff. In that same market, mostly state-level MCH staff and NICU staff report only to regional MCH and NICU Directors. This structure creates siloes between mission and revenue staff.

• To staff the new geographic approach and create more integration locally, we’re planning for a future where local markets are one matrixed team. All local staff will report to the Executive Director, including donor relationship managers, corporate engagement staff, MCH advocacy and NICU staff, and other cross-sector partnership work. This allows staff to focus more on relationship management and growing individual and corporate giving rather than a large amount of time on event logistics, some functions of which can be centralized.

• Mission staff will be assigned to a geographic market and will focus on driving collective impact locally by deepening relationships and ensuring access to our most effective programs. This will require a shift in their job descriptions. Mission and fundraising staff can work side-by-side to raise funds for some of our best programs like Supportive Pregnancy Care and NICU Family Support. This way everyone is a fundraiser and mission advocate.

3. Organize the national team as technical assistance experts to support local markets

  • In addition to market staff, several national staff changes have been made to more effectively implement our operating model.

    •  First, the Marketing and Communications team has been reorganized to improve integration within the department and align with other departments. This will include:
      • Audience and multi-channel staff that are outward facing, grounded in insights and data, and who set the strategy for audience engagement
      • Strategic marketers that are internal facing and liaise with other departments to ensure implementation
      • Creative staff focused on brand management, editorial and video
      • Digital marketing
      • Public relations, awareness campaigns and strategic partnerships
    • We have also adjusted the Mission department to direct staff resources around:
      • Data science and mission strategy
      • Public policy and government affairs
      • New program innovation and partnerships
      • Community engagement and action, including collective impact and other impact work such as professional education
      • Thought leadership with expertise in women and infant health as well as health equity.

STAFF LEADERSHIP ANNOUNCEMENTS

This shift from a regional to a market-based structure will be led by the following individuals:

  • Kelly Ernst has been named Senior Vice President, Market Impact (all local integrated teams will report to this new function, with dotted lines to their subject matter experts). Kelly was previously SVP of Science and Strategy in the Mission Department and has been with the organization for over 8 years. With her at the helm, we’re truly leading with impact, yet she is also a seasoned fundraiser, bringing in several large grants to fuel our mission work.
  • Alison Spera has been named Vice President, Market Impact as Kelly’s Deputy. Formerly the Regional VP of Market Leadership and Development for the Eastern US, Alison’s a March of Dimes fundraising and board development expert with many years of direct hands-on experience growing market resources and training staff.
  • Kim Parker has accepted the position of Vice President of Community Engagement and Action under the National Mission Team. Kim will be working very closely with the Market Impact team to support the development and implementation of their strategy for enhancing our impact in reducing severe maternal morbidity and mortality, preterm birth and infant mortality and addressing health equity. Her staff will serve as the backbone in advancing our national strategy for expanding and enhancing supportive pregnancy care, maternal and child health and collective impact, and the NICU Family Support Program.
  •  We’ll be enhancing our efforts in the critical role of Major Gifts and Planned Giving. DJ Hampton will be taking the role of Senior VP, Major Gifts and Planned Giving and will remain on the Executive Leadership Committee. Major Gifts, Planned Giving and the creation of a translational investment fund are critical parts of our strategic plan, and will be important revenue streams for our future. We’ll also seek to fill the role of Chief Development Officer in the near future.
  • The state/regional structures will be led by a Senior Executive Director and will form a leadership team for Market Impact. We will begin announcing the 10 new positions by December 20.
  • All Market Executive Directors have been mapped into existing positions, however, their roles will change to focus on impact, movement and revenue growth locally. Many roles at the local level will have new job descriptions, and require additional staff training. While this is not a drastic change, or reduction in force, in some rare cases you may have a different staff partner based on shifting roles and needs.

In the coming months we’ll share more staff leadership announcements here on this website.

TIMING AND NEXT STEPS

  • Please note that it’s unlikely your staff contact is changing right now. We’re in the process of updating job descriptions to be mission-forward, integrating mission into all fundraising roles, and shifting mission staff towards more collective impact/collective action. As personnel issues can be sensitive, we ask for your understanding and flexibility during this transition. For specific questions about how any of this will affect your market, please contact Megan Walker or Kelly Ernst. Several members of the National Volunteer Leadership Council are also ready to attend any of your upcoming meetings to chat further about our vision for March of Dimes of the future, or to answer questions. Please note that it’s unlikely your staff contact is changing right now. We’re in the process of updating job descriptions to be mission-forward, integrating mission into all fundraising roles, and shifting mission staff towards more collective impact/collective action. As personnel issues can be sensitive, we ask for your understanding and flexibility during this transition. For specific questions about how any of this will affect your market, please contact Megan Walker or Kelly Ernst. Several members of the National Volunteer Leadership Council are also ready to attend any of your upcoming meetings to chat further about our vision for March of Dimes of the future, or to answer questions.
  • Our volunteer leaders are critical to strengthening our impact at the market level, and our integrated approach will only be successful by aligning our volunteer structure with the staffing structure. This means that in the coming months, we’ll focus on strengthening Market Boards through mission integration. Strong Market Boards and committees are the foundation of any market’s revenue and mission success. We must grow revenue through demonstrating our leadership in achieving tangible impact in maternal and infant health. To do this effectively, we need the best and brightest maternal and child health and advocacy volunteers at the table on every Market Board. More to come on this very soon.
  • We’re working hard to keep our volunteer leaders informed of changes in real time, as they happen. This month we’re assembling staff teams and working through the tenets of the new operating model. We expect that the majority of the new volunteer structure will be rolled out in Q1 2020, and you’ll hear more about that as it evolves.

Thank you for your commitment and understanding as we evolve the organization and modify our future together.

What does this mean for volunteer leaders?

To better position March of Dimes in an ever-changing philanthropic landscape, our mission work must align more closely with our revenue development in markets to drive impact, growth and movement in 2020 and beyond. To do that, we need to build strong integrated volunteer and staff teams at the market level who can focus on connecting donors with our work while also meeting the needs of their communities.

Leading this integration work will require the support of our Market Boards, Maternal and Child Health, and Advocacy and Government Affairs volunteer leaders. As we plan for the future, we’re also working with multiple volunteer groups, including our Board of Trustees, the National Volunteer Leadership Council, as well as a representative group of local market board and MCH committee members.

Our greatest asset has been our staff and volunteers’ willingness to put the needs of others before their own. Now is the chance for all of us to step up, grow individually and evolve as an organization. And we all play a part in making this new ecosystem work.

The reason for change is simple. It’s not fine that a growing number of babies are being born prematurely, and that we’re losing moms and babies every day. Together we can fight for their health and make the future brighter for us all.

MAKE VOLUNTEERS IN ACTION YOUR RESOURCE FOR OPERATING MODEL UPDATES

Because the staff and volunteer operations and structure to support the new operating model is evolving, we want to ensure ongoing communication with you during this time of transition. Return here regularly for updates to the operating model.

Tips for using this information: Review and share this information with your fellow Market Boards, Maternal and Child Health, and Advocacy and Government Affairs Committees.

Additional Resources: If you want more real-time March of Dimes information and interaction, join our Volunteer Hub community at volunteerhub.marchofdimes.org/member. The Volunteer Hub is a community where volunteer leaders can go 24/7 to find the latest March of Dimes news, mission highlights and resources.

To learn more, contact Megan Walker, Chief Volunteer Officer
mwalker@marchodimes.org or call 571-257-2311

Updated: December 16, 2019