Awareness of our services is one of Angel Flight Wests’ biggest ongoing challenges. Most people don’t think about general aviation aircraft when trying to figure out how to access their medical care hundreds of miles away. That’s why outreach is so vital to our mission and growth, and why it’s up to us to reach out to those that need us most. As a grassroots-focused, volunteer-intensive organization, AFW relies on dedicated volunteers who share their time, talents, and energy to ensure needs such as outreach are carried out. Fortunately, AFW has the best volunteers! Here’s how you can help with outreach and how to get started.
Serving a massive geographic area that spans the 12 western states takes the collective effort of volunteers and staff. The first step in becoming an outreach volunteer is to get in touch with your Wing Leader and join the Wing Leadership Team (WLT), thus ensuring you will be working alongside other volunteers as well as the central AFW office. You’ll receive guidance on how to create new leads and contacts, access to available outreach tools and materials, and recommendations on best practices. Mission requests come from a number of sources, so it’s important to make the right contacts. Keeping track of our outreach efforts is just as important, and reporting back to the office is key for follow-ups. Also keep in mind that outreach reports help with our grant writing purposes and allows us to share outreach activities with our funders.
There are several volunteer positions on each WLT that help with outreach in the wings. The Wing Outreach Coordinator oversees the important activities involved in familiarizing hospital and agency social workers, discharge planners, and other medical and social service personnel with Angel Flight West’s free air transportation service. Similarly, Area Leaders are always needed in specific cities and defined geographic areas to bring visibility and viability to our mission. An Area Leader is the point person to bring Angel Flight to the attention of prospective users of AFW’s services, the general public, and prospective volunteer pilots. If your time is more limited, signing up as an occasional outreach volunteer is helpful too.
“This is an incredible resource and service for our out-of-state families. I have only encountered incredibly helpful and collaborative individuals at Angel Flight. Thank you!” —Grace Yang, Social Worker, Seattle Children’s Hospital
Outreach volunteers tell Angel Flight West’s story through in-service presentations and at social work and healthcare conferences. Although these traditional activities have taken a pause for the most part due to the pandemic, they are slowly making a return. There are opportunities to do these virtually as well. All the necessary materials and marketing collateral are available in the Outreach Toolkit, which is accessible to any volunteer. Just let us know if you need help finding it on the website. Not ready to do an in-service presentation on your own? No problem! Reach out and we can arrange for you to join me on the next virtual presentation.
Just as important as flying missions is finding the requesters, patients and families who need us and educating them about our services. It’s not as easy as one would think, but we are working daily to improve our outreach efforts. If interested in outreach volunteer opportunities, please reach out to your Wing Leader or myself. We’d love to hear from you!