Sunday, November 14, 2010

#hcdc10 After HealthCampDC @carefirst - HealthCamp: the next steps

It is Sunday Morning and an opportunity to sit and reflect on another vibrant HealthCamp. 

Friday November 12th saw HealthCampDC take place at CareFirst's DC Headquarters. CareFirst was the headline sponsor, providing the facilities, the food and the network access to the world (or at least a large part of the Internet). We were also lucky to have the generous sponsorship of CyberciseHealthCentral and YourNurseIsOn.

HealthCampDC had a great mix of experienced HealthCampers and people completely new to HealthCamp. I know that the event had a lasting impact on those first timers. You just had to look at their bulging eyeballs where braincells had been gently, but irreversibly, re-arranged as a result of the vibrant discussions and exposure to new, but practical ideas. 

Listening to the wrap up session was inspiring.  One innovator asked if anyone knew of any clinics where they could test SMS messaging for improved adherence and an immediate volunteer stepped forward with access to over 100 clinics. When connections like that take place it convinces me of the importance of HealthCamp in promoting the discussions around participatory healthcare.  

People often ask - "Where does the money go"
At HealthCamp we strive to keep participant ticket costs down. But yes, we do charge. Why you may ask? 

We have found that charging a nominal fee simplifies the planning of the event for the volunteer organizers. That nominal fee dramatically cuts the "no show" attrition rate. When people have paid they tend to turn up. When the event is free people figure there is no loss when they don't show. The nominal fee helps cover one of the important elements of HealthCamp - The food! and makes planning and waste less of a problem. 

For each event the fees and sponsorship cover:
- Food
- Location (some events have to pay for facilities and support, often including Internet access, for example when using a university campus)
- Supplies to support the event (name tags, flip charts, marketing materials, the materials to construct the agenda wall)
- Shwag and prizes. (We keep these to a minimum since every dollar spent here is a dollar that has to be raised. Yes T-shirts are expensive!)
- Marketing, PR and other services (the professional videos produced after some events don't come for free )

HealthCamp has been entirely self funded thanks to the contributions from participants, friends of HealthCamp and event sponsors. At many events we manage to break even. At some events we are lucky enough to have a small surplus. The surplus from those events goes towards:
- Planning future events
- Purchasing Internet services (Video sharing and Web sites, Domain names etc.)
- Software and equipment that supports events
- HealthCamp's next step

Yes, HealthCamp is ready to take the next step. 

It has long been our objective to establish the Foundation. The purpose of the Foundation being to act as a catalyst for HealthCamps around the world. As a central, non-profit foundation it will provide promotional materials, the digital footprint and logistical support to make it easier for local HealthCamp organizers to put on an event. 

HealthCamp is fortunate to be able to point to a growing list of prestigious and forward thinking sponsors such as Kaiser Permanente, Microsoft, IBM, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina, YourNurseIsOn and Kony Solutions who have hosted an event or supported multiple events. This list is an asset to local volunteer teams and can help break the catch-22 when seeking a location and sponsors. 

HealthCamp also counts itself fortunate to have a growing band of advocates such as Maumi Cannell Chatterton (@mjchatter), Gregg Masters (@2HealthGuru) in San Diego (who is behind HealthCampTV and our BlogTalkRadio presence), Mike Kirkwood (@mikekirkwood), and Maren Connary (@marenconnary) who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to promote HealthCamp. 

HealthCampDC, which took place on November 12th, was fortunate to have CareFirst as a facilities sponsor. Their generous sponsorship, when coupled with the sponsorship contributions from Cybercise, HealthCentral and YourNurseIsOn and the Friends of HealthCamp donations from @MeredithGould and Bob Blonchek's @RazCode, plus the participation of everyone else that purchased tickets has finally put us in the position where we can take the next step.

So, over the winter we will be establishing the Foundation as a non-profit organization and will be seeking board members and advisory board members who reflect the different regions in which HealthCamps take place and the different skills we need to create an active board. This will provide the platform for HealthCamp to have an even greater impact in the years ahead.

Wish us luck as we take this next step. We really appreciate your help and support.  

Posted via email from More pre-blogspot than pre-posterous