RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association is a patient advocacy organization dedicated to reproductive health and infertility issues. Providing meaningful support for those struggling to build families is a cornerstone of RESOLVE’s mission. This support is provided primarily by volunteers, who lead more than 200 peer-support groups across the country every month. When COVID-19 struck, RESOLVE immediately suspended all in-person support groups, notifying volunteers first, followed by all constituents.
Canceling live meetings was unavoidable, but canceling support was out of the question. The family-building community needed support more than ever as fertility clinics closed and medical treatment was postponed indefinitely. To ensure access to support in every state, MCI USA trained volunteers to lead virtual support groups open to anyone, regardless of location, as well as continuing location-specific support groups. To date, more than 35 virtual support groups are being held in 16 states.
MCI USA staff hosted a training webinar for all volunteer hosts to prepare them to go virtual. The training was held via Zoom to familiarize volunteers with the online platform and presented other free technology options, such as Google Hangouts. To date, more than 35 virtual support groups are being held in 20 states.
To ensure access to support in every state, MCI USA also recruited and trained volunteers to lead virtual support groups open to anyone struggling to build a family, regardless of location. Offered in two different time zones, the virtual meetings are held via Zoom with breakout rooms for 15 people per meeting, allowing up to 75 registrants per time zone. This virtual option was successfully launched during National Infertility Awareness Week in April and is now offered monthly. The feedback from volunteers and participants alike has been overwhelmingly positive; a survey administered after each virtual meeting revealed a heightened sense of well-being and community. An added benefit is that a majority of participants were new constituents to RESOLVE, thus expanding the reach of the MCI USA–managed organization.
“By introducing the virtual support group option, RESOLVE and its volunteers have continued to serve our community during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said MCI USA talent Betsy Campbell, who serves as RESOLVE’s chief engagement officer. “We have been able to reach new audiences and are now planning virtual groups for previously underserved populations, including people of color and the LGBTQ community.”