Twenty-eleven was a a successful year for AMFAS families in bringing awareness, support and information to our community.
We expanded in a multitude of avenues that no other autism support organization anywhere did, simply because we are 100-percent focused on support of our military families. That’s it.
The blog page for military families we launched in 2010 AMFAS: The Blogs grew from 13 blogs to 25 in 2011. We are serious about supporting our community members and will increase our scope even more this year to promote them as they blog about military life and autism. For 2011 we had 10,335 visitors and 39,026 pageviews, meaning blogs of our community members had an additional audience besides their homepages for telling their story.
For the year, our AMFAS Update blog had over 21,000 visitors and in excess of 96,000 pageviews.
In January 2010, we were just passing 300 friends in our Facebook community. Last January we were close to passing the impressive threshold of 1,000. At the start of 2012 we added another 700 friends to the community.
Significant is the consistent growth we’re experiencing since we don’t use gimmicks and “like us” campaigns to pad the numbers. We want people who can benefit from our community, and focus on supporting our military families, not personal gain, not popularity, not taking unethical means to grow our audience.
Despite not going after “fans” our numbers were pretty significant, with 889,350 post views compared to our 2010 totals of 58,195 post views and our 6,204 feedbacks for the year dwarfed the 1,447 feedbacks our members provided the previous year. In the next month we will probably pass 1 Million views.
In May, AMFAS was represented at the Autism One conference in Chicago. AMFAS provided 2,000 pens for conference organizers to provide to all attendees inside their goodie bags. Though this was paid for out-of-pocket by the AMFAS team since we don’t fundraise, it was a way to help the autism community at large better understand that there is a military community dealing with autism as well. For AO 2012 AMFAS is looking at a greater presence for this free conference.
In August AMFAS launched the first endeavor to expand support to local communities with the announcement of AMFAS Groups. This meant creating additional pages for support and meet-up opportunities such as play dates or dinner out. Currently there are 11 groups with more coming soon. The key here is that community members administer these groups at the local level with AMFAS supporting however possible.
In September AMFAS was represented at the DoD Advisory Panel on Special Needs. In preparation, we developed a survey, arguably one of the most complete ever done specifically for special needs and hitting mostly on items important to our community. Through your hard work, we brought a mountain of feedback, with 2,138 written responses from over 260 survey respondents. It turned out to be 100 printed pages that were delivered to the event, along with the results of the survey.
On 11-11-11 at 11:11.11 p.m. we finally launched our community website. At the end of the year we took it offline to make some modifications and will have it back online in the next few weeks. The site is built for our military families through the hard work of military families. We did not hire interns, we didn’t raise lots of money to outsource its creation. In fact, we raised no money; it was paid for with hard work, heart and soul of military families volunteering their precious time to make something to support our community. It’s about helping people, our families get the support and help each other.
Next it’s time to look forward at how we can rock this year and break barriers for our families. To do this we need your input to increase support and information flow for our families.
As mentioned a year ago, if you know of other families who can benefit from this project, please invite them. Above all, please contribute to the conversation and comment. If you want to be a part of our project to better inform and support our military families and have motivation, skills, media (photos, articles, etc) you’d like to share please send and e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and volunteer. Unlike other organizations, we don’t want your money, we want your support.
Together we are making a difference for our families!