We Can See Clearly Now...

 By Jennifer Moore Ballentine, MA, CEO

February 1, 2024

Last month, I wrote about how starting a new year can feel like flying above the fog in a balloon with few visible landmarks. There’s nothing like a little strategic/scenario planning with an invigorated Board of Directors to clear the clouds! We met in early January for a broad-ranging discussion and confirmed six proposed strategic priorities for 2024 and beyond.

Gone are the days of a detailed three-year, five-year, or heaven help us, ten-year plan with detailed goals, objectives, tasks, and timelines! In this VUCA – volatile, uncertain, chaotic, ambiguous – world, evergreen priorities with constantly updated objectives are the only way forward. Here are ours:

There’s a lot to be said about each of these, but I’ll just touch on some high points for now:

Establish diverse, sustainable sources of revenue: Like any nonprofit organization, we are sustained by a mix of program revenue, contracts and grants, membership, and contributions. In 2023, that mix looked like this: 

It won’t be news to any of our constituents that grant funding for palliative care and advance care planning is not nearly as robust as it once was, as funders have turned their attention to other pressing problems. And yet the need remains for an organization that provides leadership in convening stakeholders; collaborating with them to establish and promote standards and best practices; inform other segments of healthcare, the public, and policy/lawmakers about the benefits of palliative and whole person care; and tirelessly advocate for systems change to prioritize patients’ wishes and choices. 

As a coalition representing your interests – the ONLY organization in the state laser-focused on serious illness care across all sectors, disciplines, and settings – our support must come from you: your registrations for our educational events and trainings; your use of our services as consultants and subject matter experts; your contributions in the form of individual donations and corporate giving as Sustaining Supporters; your membership in the Coalition. And our support must come from you because we are meeting your needs and helping you do your job better! 

The membership survey we deployed last summer gave us great information about what you value most in our activities and direct members benefits – notably our public policy/advocacy work and our educational offerings – and we’ll be leaning in to both areas this year. I’ll be reaching out to members and Sustaining Supporters soon to learn more about how we can do better to earn – and grow – your support. For now, if you find our work of value, we hope to see you at our webinars, at the Summit, in our membership lists, and on our donor rolls! 

Provide trustworthy and objective information and education in focus areas. Just some highlights here:

  • Our Annual Summit is coming soon! If you haven’t registered yet, don’t delay.
  • We’ve recently completed a review and refresh of our website resources, updating many of the free downloads. More resources are in development.
  • We’ve added Vietnamese to our English, Spanish, and Chinese Decision Aids and created a digital subscription option for these valuable tools. 
  • We’re putting the finishing touches on a series of webinars for the Spring and Summer on topics including an update on the California End of Life Option Act
  • Our popular Let’s Talk About Advance Care Planning professional training is available FREE to ECM providers through the state’s PATH TA Marketplace; for more information contact [email protected]

Advocate for top-quality whole person care for patients and caregivers: With a new session of the California and U.S. legislatures underway, we’ll have much to report in our upcoming Policy Update. This update is sent to CCCC members only. To stay on top of this crucial area of activity, be sure your membership is up to date!

Facilitate system change to improve, promote, and sustain whole person care: Our major area of activity here is in providing subject matter expertise and stakeholder engagement under contract to support the development and implementation of the statewide electronic POLST Registry project. We hope to have an update for you on that project at the Annual Summit. We are also engaged with the California Department of Aging in the implementation of the California Master Plan for Aging, and with national-level taskforces to promote better reimbursement, care delivery models, and regulatory infrastructure to support whole person care.

Engage diverse leaders and network of strategic partners: This area is hand-in-hand with membership, as we’ll be reaching out to broaden our coalition and strengthen partnerships. This year we’ll be reviving our Advisory Board and a members-only Public Policy Advisory Council. Watch for more information!

Continuously improve operational systems and processes: This is the boring, nitty-gritty stuff that has to have attention but gets no glamor. This past year, we made huge strides in this area, upgrading computer equipment, streamlining internal processes, and trimming expenses – all in the service of serving you better. If you experience any barriers or issues with our operational systems, please let us know.

That’s a lot to digest all at once, and if you are still reading, thank you for your attention and your commitment to our enterprise! As the landscape comes into better view, we’ll keep you apprised of our progress and where we might land. Thanks for coming on the journey with us!