Discussion Question 2: What were the difficulties that faced CASP as an organisation ? What suggestions could you make to the new Committee on the strategies and approaches it might use to maintain the viability and cohesion of CASP in the future?
- The length of time taken to register CASP with the Registrar of Societies so that it can officially operate as an organisation and receive funding for its activities.
- Some passive opposition to the activities of CASP, such as the difficulties of placing the advertisements for the hotline in the papers.
- A lack of time/staff resources to follow through on some programs, such as: the need to identify a doctor to treat those identified as HIV+ and the need to follow up with the hotel staff AIDS education programme.
- The general lack of response to the Hotline service, perhaps indicating that CASP members had decided that this was an important service before any significant indications that such a service was needed by the community.
- Moving from the founding group of friends to a more heterogenous group of members.
- Difficulties in attracting, utilising and retaining new volunteer members.
- Inadequate attention paid to making sure that new members feel that they can make a useful contribution.
- The growing administrative load, even though CASP had only one source of funding. A particularly important problem was that CASP had failed to submit its final quarterly report to AIDAB, thus jeopardising the reimbursement of past expenditures and agreement to a second period of funding.
- The difficulty of reconciling differing interests and views of the members.
- Funding uncertainties, combined with increasing costs related to the office rental, and administrative and programme costs.
(b) Possible Future Strategies
Planning and Implementation:
- Restrict new activities to those that can be sustained by the level and skills of the existing membership.
- Careful identification of priorities for new activities/programs in relation to the needs of the communities to be served and the inputs of other organisations/agencies.
Monitoring of the progress/success of programme activities to ensure that necessary follow-up to sustain the benefits are included in workplans and funding proposals.
- Give each existing member responsibility for identifying potential new members, for briefing them on CASP's aims and activities, and for "looking after them" during the early stages of their membership.
- Development of a simple "induction" programme for potential new members to ensure that each potential recruit is fully aware of CASP's mission (using the mission statement already developed), has the chance to observe CASP's activities, and is encouraged to define for themselves what they believe they can contribute to the organisation before they are accepted as members.
- Ensuring that a specific role is identified and agreed with each new member. Depending on the interests of the individual and on the amount of time that she/he feels able to contribute, a new member might be allocated to work on a specific CASP programme, or to assist in the office (on report production, proposal development, financial accounts, etc.), or to help to identify potential funding sources.
- To try to avoid an overload on the volunteers, CASP needs to control the amount of work it takes on to a level that is reasonable for the number of active members.
- Volunteers need to enjoy their work if they are to continue to contribute willingly and enthusiastically. This can be encouraged by ensuring that members work on areas that interest them, have a specific role and responsibilities, their contribution is recognised, and that there is adequate time for the members to relax and talk about what they are doing.
- Under the umbrella of the main Committee, CASP might organise itself into groups or programmes such that individual programme and managerial interests might be accommodated. This might also help in attracting and retaining new members (see Question 2 above).
- One individual on the Committee might be given specific responsibility for building ''team spirit' and attending to members' concerns. Practical steps that could be taken include: ensuring that all members are kept informed of what is going on; ensuring that individual's ideas are shared and discussed; making sure that worries are promptly dealt with and allowing concerns relating to the work or the functioning of the organisation to be aired and discussed when necessary; ensuring that no one member becomes over-burdened with work; helping new members to be integrated into the team.
Allocating specific responsibility for report production, proposal development, financial accounts, etc. to different individuals who have expressed some interest and aptitude for these areas. In particular, ensuring that one person has responsibility for monitoring the funding situation and making sure that the question of future funding remains on the agenda.
- If activities, funding and membership grow, CASP might consider the recruitment of full-time officers. (The second AIDAB proposal includes the salary of a full-time Executive Director).
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