ACS: new SL volunteer structure – Growth, Service, and Outreach

The American Cancer Society (ACS) has a long and distinguished history of fund-raising to help those with cancer, their families and their caregivers not only in the United States but the world over. ACS is perhaps most widely recognised for the Second Life Relay for Life season with its mainstream events: the kick-off weekend, the main weekend, and the mega events such as Fantasy Faire, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, the Science Fiction convention and so on.

This 2018 in-world season for ACS has been one marked by a number of changes, all of represent the first step in a multi-phase plan to shape the future of the American Cancer Society in Second Life and in virtual spaces beyond. For example, for 2018, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer (MSABC) is launching a new approach to breast cancer fund-raising in Second Life,with not one, but two month-long events running throughout the month of October: the Parade of Homes, and the Out-Shop Cancer event. In addition, MSABC will also host the “5K” walk, where walkers can collect donation pledges for the amount of laps walked around a pink-ribbon track.

Also, earlier in 2018, the Fantasy Faire team raised over US $50,000 to help with the Kenyatta Hospital Hope Hostel project in Kenya (see: Fantasy Faire 2018: supporting the KNH Hope Hostel). Going forward, ACS plan to allow volunteers and fun-raisers to have more opportunities to directly affect specific global projects, while additional focus will be placed on establishing new partnerships with businesses both in and out of Second Life, helping the ACS volunteers communities grow and increasing outreach efforts to let cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers know that they have a place to turn for support, without having to leave Second Life.

Artist rendering of the Hope Hostel in Kenya, the focus of the 2018 Fantasy Faire fund-raising programme. Credit: Kenyatta National Hospital website

As a part of this planning, ACS is refocusing its in-world efforts, to both enhance existing activities and events and to offer a new range of opportunities and programmes in world to assistance and support to anyone facing cancer either directly or as a caregiver or family / friends.

In addition, ACS is asking all of those who have supported their work as a volunteer, or who wishes to join the ranks of ACS volunteers to take a moment to find out more about the restructuring and refocusing (see below), and complete the ACS in SL Volunteer Form.

During the next few weeks, we want to offer everyone the opportunity to express interest in being involved with any of the areas identified…or offer suggestions for something that you don’t see reflected in this structure

Stingray Raymaker,  Director of the American Cancer Society in Second Life
on the call for volunteers and supporter to indicate their interest in supporting ACS activities in Second Life

The refocusing is summarised in the images seen at the top of this article, which outlines the key areas of ACS focus – existing and new -, which are also summarised as:

  • Support, Outreach, Advocacy Team: providing overall vision and strategic guidance for the American Cancer Society in Second Life, including developing and executing outreach strategy for recruitment of new volunteers, new partnerships, new relationships, events, etc. Also advocates on behalf of all teams within the ACS volunteer structure.
  • Partnerships: working with volunteers to meet & discuss partnership opportunities for all areas within the ACS in Second Life. Provides strategic consulting and fundraising coaching to volunteers in Second Life.
  • Research: investigating ways to help identify opportunities for all areas within the ACS in Second Life.
  • Mega Events: consulting with the RFL mega events teams, identifying potential events, and fostering growth, when appropriate.
  • Media: establishing and maintain relationships with media partners, providing back and forth communication of needs, assets, and expectations.
  • RFL Season Lead: coordinating tasks associated with the execution of the RFL of SL season, from pre-kickoff until event weekend.
  • RFL Event Lead: coordinating the tasks associated with the execution of the RFL of SL event weekend.
  • ACS Island Design: establishing ACS island as a destination experience that features the services offered by the ACS in Second Life.
  • ACS Island Event: managing the calendar of events for ACS Island; booking performances, recruiting merchants for stores, and promoting ACS island events to the grid.
  • Hope Haven Survivor Group: fulfilling the new vision for Hope Haven Survivor Support, working with ACS team to promote Survivor Support Group to the grid as a place for cancer patients and survivors to receive support from one another.
  • Hope Haven Caregiver Group: fulfilling the new vision for Hope Haven Caregiver group, working with ACS team to promote Caregiver group to the grid as a place for education and information for caregivers. Also produces interactive experiences that educates residents on cancer information and support.
  • Hope Haven Memorial Garden: managing the memorial garden experience on the American Cancer Society island.
  • Community Gateway Story: developing and writing the story that will be used to teach/train new users in Second Life on how to use the platform.
  • Community Gateway Design: coordinating the design tasks in order to build the Community Gateway learning environment, as defined by the story.
  • Community Gateway Host: leading and coordinating the hosting tasks for the Community Gateway, ensuring that new users are welcomed, supported, encouraged, and have a friend along their journey. Also provides recommendations for groups and communities to join, as well as offering ACS volunteer opportunities, when appropriate.
  • MSABC 5K Walk: coordinating the tasks related to the MSABC 5K walk event in Second Life.
  • Parade of Homes: coordinating the tasks related to the annual Parade of Homes breast cancer event in Second Life.
  • Out Shop Cancer: coordinating the tasks related to the Out-Shop Cancer breast cancer event in Second Life.

It is Stingray Raymaker’s hope that by initiating and growing the new events and activities within this list while continue to grow and enhance the existing range of events fostered by Relay for Life in Second Life, the American Cancer Society will be seen as the premier destination experience for cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, and their families and friends worldwide. A place where they can find support, answers, education, and resources to help one another and anyone facing cancer wherever they are in the world and on the grid.

via Stingray Raymaker and the RFL of SL website.