Communities Kick Off the Giving Season with Veterans Day By Jim Lorraine, President and CEO of America’s Warrior Partnership Our team at America’s Warrior Partnership is dedicated to empowering communities to empower veterans. We believe communities can take many different forms from small neighborhoods to local outposts for groups such as the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and AMVETS. Offices and workplaces also serve as communities where employees working side by side can support each other. Every year, we see more and more businesses looking for ways to engage veterans in their employ by cultivating a workplace culture where veterans and civilians feel comfortable sharing their experiences and building camaraderie with each other. November 11 marks Veterans Day and November 27 marks Giving Tuesday, so it’s a perfect time to think about the ways that individuals and businesses alike can connect with and support fellow veterans now and throughout the rest of the year. One of the more popular ways we are seeing individuals and organizations collaborate to support veterans is through peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns. These type of campaigns enable supporters to do more than simply write a check for a donation; they provide opportunities for participants to connect with one another. Peer-to-peer fundraising typically involves individuals setting up personal pages on a campaign website where they can raise funds for a cause. By enabling individuals to set up their own fundraising page, participants are empowered to further support a cause by asking friends, family members and other members of their network to give donations through their personal page online. Participants often take this opportunity to share their own stories as they reach out to their networks. It all adds up to a more involved and personal process through which participants can not only support a worthwhile cause, but also connect with others through sharing their personal experiences. As an example of how these type of campaigns work in veteran communities, we ran our first peer-to-peer fundraising initiative last year, which we called the I Am A Warrior campaign. 20
HOMELAND / November 2018
Our employees kicked off I Am A Warrior by creating their own fundraising pages on the campaign website and sharing links to their page with their personal networks. They each conducted outreach on their own via email, social media and other channels to help raise donations for veteran support programs offered within our affiliate communities across the nation. On social media, I Am A Warrior participants included the hashtag #IAMAWARRIOR in posts that talked about why they were fundraising through the campaign. As they posted personal stories and photos about the veterans in their lives using #IAMAWARRIOR, participants could search on social media for other people using the hashtag to see what they were sharing. This provided an invaluable opportunity for fellow veterans, family members, caregivers and civilians to connect with one another while honoring the veterans in their lives and communities. We are ramping up I Am A Warrior again this year, and we’re excited to see other nonprofits and businesses already planning to start their own pages through the campaign. Diamond Resorts, a membership organization that connects vacation goers with memorable destinations, events and experiences, will be offering their employees the opportunity to contribute to a company I Am A Warrior page or start their own fundraising page. The Four Star Alliance, our network of recreational health and wellness organizations committed to serving veterans, is also participating in this year’s campaign. As this year’s giving season approaches, we hope more businesses and organizations across the country will follow the lead of Diamond Resorts and other companies in honoring the veterans in their workplaces and communities. Starting or joining a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign in support of veteran-serving programs is a great way for companies and broader communities alike to go above and beyond fundraising to help individuals share their stories and connect with one another. Those interested in giving back to veterans, their families and caregivers this year can learn more about how they can get started by visiting AmericasWarriorPartnership.org/IAmAWarrior. About the Author Jim Lorraine is President and CEO of America’s Warrior Partnership, a national nonprofit that helps veteranserving organizations connect with veterans, military members and families in need. Learn more about the organization at www.AmericasWarriorPartnership.org.
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