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Rising to Meet the Financial Challenge

June 25, 2013 in Engaging Wisdom


  • To face the challenge of diminishing financial resources, AAAs should turn to the community and its social capital.
  • The PowerUP! initiative can increase organizations’ and programs’ capacity to meet eldercare needs and deliver services, with a high return on investment.
  • You and a volunteer may attend the PowerUP! training for free July 28 at the n4a Conference in Louisville, KY.


The Aging Services Network is facing diminishing financial resources—but is it rising to the challenge?

The answer is resoundingly “no”!  But here’s a solution.

AAAs and Funding

Preliminary findings from a recent n4a survey list the top three challenges facing Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs):

  1. Funding cut impact on programs/services
  2. Medicaid Waiver Reform and Medicaid Managed Long-term Services and Supports
  3. Community needs of older adults

The first and third focus on the continuing ability of AAAs and communities to meet the growing needs for aging services.  Given current economic and political landscapes, along with issues related to reform of Medicaid and Medicare, it is unlikely that an infusion of new financial resources will be made in the near future.   It will take a crisis, similar to the one surrounding air travel, for new dollars to be invested.

Facing diminishing financial resources, what can and should the Aging Services Network do to fulfill its mission?  A significant part of the answer is to turn to the community and its social capital. AAAs have done this from the beginning.  But now they must do it in a new way, one that aligns the resource needs of the organization with the interests of a new breed of older adult volunteers.

The Solution: A Volunteer Leadership Strategy, PowerUP!

The Aging Network’s Volunteer Collaborative is standing at the ready to support AAAs and other Aging Network volunteer programs (SHIP, SMP, and Long-Term Care Ombudsman). It has developed and piloted a new volunteer leadership strategy, called PowerUP! The PowerUP! strategy is highly effective—in its early stages, it has produced an average return on investment of a startling 8:1.

PowerUP! tools and training are already in place to increase organizations’ and programs’ capacity to meet eldercare needs and deliver services, while reducing staff burden, minimizing investment, and producing a high return on investment.

PowerUP! has already begun the following efforts:

  • Train staff to engage and facilitate the new volunteer force.
  • Train volunteers to take on responsibilities for developing volunteer opportunities.
  • Develop the tools needed to develop and lead volunteer development activities.
  • Create an online presence for real-time communication and resource sharing.
  • Provide continuous training, technical assistance, and updates.

Update Aug. 7, 2013: Pairs of agency staff and key volunteers attended PowerUP! training on July 28, 2013, at the n4a conference in Louisville, KY.  They learned more about PowerUP! and how leadership-level volunteers can extend their agencies’ reach. Stay tuned for lessons learned and upcoming trainings!

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  1. Rev. Davena Y. Porter says:

    Hope we will be able to attend the conference in Louisville.

    Thank you. You have already expanded my hope for the opportunity to answer not only my personal concerns but also to allay the anxieties of many persons.


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