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Reprinted from PN/Paraplegia News July 2019

Fresh ideas, fresh faces and committees at the 73rd Annual PVA Convention

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It might be hard to think of “new” when talking about a veterans service organization (VSO) that’s been around for more than seven decades, but that’s the perfect word to describe what took place at the 73rd Annual Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) Convention.

Among the many things to take place at May’s convention were a new focus on development, communications and teamwork, recognition of a new women’s group and a couple of new faces on the PVA Executive Committee. Even the host site in Aurora, Colo., was new, as the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center just opened last December.

Those advancements and changes at the convention are the result of a larger, ongoing effort by PVA to move forward and solidify itself as the nation’s premier VSO, which allows the organization to better serve veterans and others with spinal-cord injury and disease (SCI/D).

“The whole organization really from the national level is going through a cultural change to drive the organization forward,” says PVA Executive Director Carl Blake. “Virtually every senior leader or manager in the organization is new, at least within the last 12 to 18 months. So, it’s almost like a wholesale change in the way the organization is led.”

Blake points out that these changes do nothing to alter PVA’s mission but create “a little bit more positive environment, a little more team approach.”

Creating Partners


That “positive environment” and “team approach” took center stage during the first few days of the convention when the new focus on development and communications were discussed.

From a developmental standpoint, PVA is changing the approach it has used to create relationships with potential donors to ensure current and future funding. Blake explains that in the past, PVA worked with several vendors to help with development, but that method was “terribly inefficient.”

PVA is now working with a new, single outside organization that Blake believes has a stronger understanding of the veteran community. This new partner provided an intriguing presentation at the convention that went into specific detail about what motivates people and businesses to get involved with an organization such as PVA and want to help them.

The central idea behind this new approach is trying to create a better, stronger and more lasting connection between PVA and individuals and corporations. Blake says this new approach may have to win over a few skeptics, but he really believes this new partnership is going to provide PVA with a good boost.

“I would say they’re probably the best at what they do in terms of understanding who supports organizations like PVA and what it takes to move people to do more to support an organization like ours,” Blake says. “So, I think that fundamental change in the way we have targeted our developmental relationships will bear a lot of fruit in the long run to benefit the organization.”

For more information, visit PVA online.

 

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