ARC-One: What does it mean for the Red Cross?

By now you may have heard of a big initiative within the American Red Cross called ARC-One. I knew I had heard of it, but until I did some digging on CrossNet and talked to some friends in leadership roles in the organization I didn’t know what it was all about. ARC-One combines four big initiatives:

  • Community Presence: I had heard the most buzz at chapters about this initiative. It creates two kinds of chapters: regional chapters and community chapters, and it helps chapters move functions like Human Resources to one national office to save money (the Shared Administrative Services initiative, mentioned below). Under the new model, chapters will be able to focus on what’s important: service delivery, communications, partnerships and fundraising. They won’t have to spend time and money on things that can be done from anywhere in the United States, like payroll processing and accounting. Regional chapters will help community chapters by acting like the service area does now, working with them to maintain all the standards of service delivery. Community presence is being piloted now and is scheduled to be fully implemented by June 2008.
  • One Infrastructure: This initiative strengthens our technology infrastructure so the American Red Cross will be ready for anything. Large disasters like Hurricane Katrina and September 11th pushed our systems to the breaking point, and strengthening our technology will help us be more prepared for the future. The IT department will accomplish this by standardizing sytems at all Red Cross units, including local area networks, desktops and mid-range systems.
  • Shared Administrative Services: Some day-to-day responsbilities of Red Cross units do not have to be carried out in the unit office. For example, most employees don’t care where their paycheck is processed, they only want it to show up on time. It makes more sense to hire people to do these jobs in areas where the cost of living is lower. For areas where the cost of living is higher, like California and New York City, it is unecessarily expensive to staff areas like finance, logistics, donations management, human resources and payroll. By moving these jobs to shared administrative centers the Red Cross will save money.
  • Strategic Fundraising Initiative: Do we know who our donors are? We must find out more about them so we can be competitive against other nonprofits and take advantage of key trends like Baby Boomer philanthropy. The Strategic Fundraising Initiative creates a donor-centered fundraising operation for the entire organization and identifies donors as generic, community or high-impact. By focusing on our donors we can connect them with the best giving opportunities at the Red Cross.

    As ARC-One is implemented, we will begin to see great streamlining at the American Red Cross. We will be able to focus on providing services to our clients once our infrastructure is better organized. Keep an eye on the strategic objectives of ARC-One, mainly our goal to increase the number of active volunteers by one-third. Youth and young adult volunteers will play a large role in recruiting people to join the Red Cross family as volunteers and donors.

  • The Red Cross is a big organization that needs the vision and depth of ARC-One. As young leaders in the Red Cross we have a responsbility to keep up with what our adult partners are working on and make sure our voices are heard. I encourage you to follow up with your chapter CEO and Board of Directors. Ask them questions like “how will ARC-One help the Red Cross?” and “how can young people play a part in ARC-One?” to get a sense of what this means for our organization. You can also discuss this issue and more on the Youth Neighborhood. If you’d like to sign up for the Youth Neighborhood, contact National Youth Council member Mat Morgan.

    Sandy Tesch, California
    Chair, National Youth Council

    Category: National Headquarters · Tags:

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