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20NTC Session Proposal

Talk to Me: Effective Use of a Community Advisory Council


Funded by the Simons Foundation, SPARK is the largest online study of autism. To ensure that the study is inclusive and responsive to the interests and needs of the community, SPARK created a Community Advisory Council (CAC) of 64 volunteers including parents, self-advocates, and professionals working in the field. This CAC was modeled after the long-standing one created by the Interactive Autism Network (IAN). Many IAN council members now serve on the SPARK CAC. This Council provides strategic direction and input from concept testing through message development and engagement via print and video storytelling. Listening to community voices is critical.

In this session we will discuss:

  • The recruitment and retention of a broad spectrum of volunteers
  • Effective use of their experience, commitment, and energy
  • How to do market testing to garner input to new campaign strategies
  • Storytelling as a recruitment tool for the study
  • Discuss two examples of successful campaigns

Learning Outcomes

  • Learn how to effectively identify and onboard volunteers
  • Understand strategies of authentic volunteer engagement
  • Identify two ways to encourage community input

Target Audience

Program Managers, Marketing Team, Volunteer Managers

Additional Speakers

Dr. Kiely Law, Kennedy Krieger Institute