The Arthritis Foundation’s 2016 Conference of Champions kicked off today in Denver, Colorado, where more than 400 Arthritis Foundation volunteers, experts, leaders and influencers came together to celebrate the successes of 2016 and discuss how to build upon those achievements in 2017.
Highlights of our accomplishments over the last year include:
- Expanding our army of arthritis Advocates to more than 134,000
- Passing 150 bills in 31 states, resulting in 17 new laws
- Distributing 15,265 Better Living Toolkits
- Launching our new 24/7 arthritis helpline
- Hosting two national Juvenile Arthritis Conferences with more than 2,100 participants
- Funding 26 major arthritis research projects worth $30 million
Sharing Accomplishments and Paying it Forward
Today, attendees participated in workshops about changing lives and building stronger relationships within their local communities, including focusing on fundraising, advocacy and event participation. We also recognized outstanding volunteers and leaders who are dedicated to the Foundation and have moved the needle in the arthritis community from fundraising to event leadership.
While connecting with fellow volunteers, attendees also shared ways that they choose to pay it forward for the arthritis community, sharing the full breadth and scope of the way they continue to be Champions of Yes.
In addition to celebrating successes, attendees took the time to review insights from survey feedback from our constituents to evaluate ways we can help them live better – and how we can make an even bigger impact year after year.
Arthritis Foundation President and CEO, Ann Palmer spoke about the Arthritis Foundation’s history and rich tradition in improving lives and funding research. She also charged attendees with committing to building on that legacy in new ways. She reminded our volunteers and staff that now is the time. We have the opportunity to change the fate for people with arthritis. We are the torchbearers and must carry the torch back to each of our local communities.
Working Together and Improving Communication
This year, the Conference was designed to be interactive, featuring more than just presentations and handouts and encouraging round table discussions and networking – both off- and online. The goal of the round table discussions was to help attendees connect with prospects and volunteers by strategizing how to make an impact from the ground up. Conference attendees were able to work together to identify issues and solve problems by brainstorming, working together, and bringing new viewpoints to the table.
Conference attendees did more than just discuss and strategize about how to continue to make an impact and to identify areas of improvement – they learned how to talk about the impact and to engage constituents. This evening, Eric Farone taught attendees how to think on their feet and conversationally “pivot” with a technique called Applied Improvisation. Eric has trained thousands of improvisers and professionals in the art of improvisation since 1993, and was able to provide invaluable, applicable, and fun improvisation techniques to attendees, teaching them how to improve working relationships, develop leadership skills and better-engage volunteers and constituents.
Giving Thanks and Sharing Your Story
This evening, attendees will celebrate our annual Evening of Honors, which will be emceed by our very special friend Matt Iseman. Guests will get a chance to hear more powerful stories from Champions of Yes as we honor special individuals who have made tremendous contributions to the organization, wrapping up day one of the Conference.
Join the Dialog Online & Make Your 2017 Pledges
Whether you’re with us in Denver or just following along online, we want you to join the discussion on social media by using hashtag #AFAchieves! You can even take it a step further by committing to have an even bigger impact in 2017 by tweeting your pledges and filling in this blank:
“I will make an impact for people with arthritis in 2017 by _____. #AFAchieves”
Share three pledges on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to show how you’ll pay it forward this year and the next!
You can also access the presentations and resources from this year’s Conference of Champions on our website, or view the videos in the playlist below!
2016 Conference of Champions Videos
Thank You to Our Conference of Champions Sponsors!