ANNIE APPLESEED PROJECT
August 25, 2009
I meant to write a much, much longer article, but since I seem to be procrastinating, I'll shorten it. My summary: I am a doctor of optometry and a licensed acupuncturist. This organization is astoundingly impressive, especially since for a relatively small volunteer-run group. The persons involved are generous with their time, driven by a wish to help others, and pretty darned competent. They also seem very, very good at connecting individuals, groups, and information. My first exposure to them was at their January conference, which was superb and extremely useful. Since it was organized by non-professionals and registration fees were minimal, my expectations were low - but it was quite well-done, and the material, information and connections I gained are something I find useful at minimun several times monthly. I learned a lot not only from the speakers, but also from the many knowledgeable and interesting exhibitors. After the conference I had several occasions to email them back and forth, and they provided me with a lot of very useful information - always friendly despite the demand on their time. Their only request was that I use it to be of use to others; simple enough. Since then I have referred several persons recent cancer diagnoses to them, as they are a rare, warm and useful resource when one is searching for information or simply needs someone who understands to talk with or to listen. It is astounding to me that to date so few persons have written about them. I can go on and on about this group and should you wish to contact me by email or otherwise, it would be my great pleasure to do so. I should state also that I am not personally connected with this group or any of the individuals involved - but I do have a markedly positive impression of them and am definite fan of this group.
This is what I started to write previously:
My first experience with the Annie Appleseed Project was a bit prior to January, 2009, when the PathUSA.org group sent out a notice about the upcoming conference. The speakers looked good, the cost was nominal, and the location was relatively convenient. I also found a very positive review of the group's first (2008) conference in the Townsend Letter, and this stimulated my curiousity.
2. how nice they were on the phone and by email.
3. Helpfulness at the conference. Wonderful info from the speakers. Dr. Block. Mrs. Block. Susan Silberstein. More.
4. The set-up and lunch.
5. The exhibitors. Salvestrols. Medicinal mushroom derivatives. Lots of science; my head swimming. More, more.
6. Speaking with Ann Fonfa, her husband, and some of the other AnnieAppleseed organization. Ann's talk: her experience with being diagnosed with cancer and how she was helped; remembering and wanting to pass it on. (Boy, has she ever succeeded!)
7. The goody bag. Great book enclosed on dying with grace; brought me to tears.
8. Post-conference. Such friendly communication. Willing to send tons of information as long as I use it - and, despite the time demand and some technical difficulties, did so.
9. Have been giving their information to appropriate friends, clients and patients. Really a great resource.
10. Constructive feedback?: I'm not really in a position to say much here, as I don't really know the workings of the organization. I just know that what I've experienced externally has been very positive. Perhaps they could've used one member with A/V experience to troubleshoot projection systems, microphones and the like; maybe someone else to coordinate speaker time and manage audience queries a bit more tightly. And I would've liked to have been able to stay and talk more and more with some of the exhibitors, but I understand that an hour after it's over everyone needs to go home.
If this organization is still being evaluated next January, consider sending a "mystery shopper" to the conference. To me this whole group had such a down-to-earth, how-can-we-help, caring, humble-yet-very-competent feel to it; you could see if you find the same.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
attending their Jan 2009 conference.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Without more budget? I'd be overwhelmed and unhappy, as I can't imagine I'd enjoy tinkering with something with such a nice spirit that seems to be working pretty well.
What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...
The spirit of the individuals involved, including the volunteers, the speakers they scheduled, and the exhibitors.
The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...
Friendly, helpful, some VERY knowledgeable, warm.
If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...
Not sure. Larger website; more info. Conferences in other regions? Phone system with volunteers. Some compensation for certain positions?? - but have to keep the "care first" orientation. Hire someone to coordinate information requests and the like?
Ways to make it better...
I had scheduled more time!
The A/V system and computer projection had worked impeccably.
In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...
Maintaining the same warm spirit if they grow larger.
One thing I'd also say is that...
My entire experience is that these are really nice persons whose goal is to help others.
How frequently have you been involved with the organization?
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
Professional with expertise in this field & I attended their conference and asked them for some follow-up information, and then referred individuals to them.