Veteran Fundraising is a Great Way to Honor Servicemen and Women
Veterans often need help in lots of different ways, including costs from medical expenses, service animal costs, and housing. Sadly, many veterans are homeless and in need of financial help once they retire from the military.
But fundraising for veterans isn’t always easy to promote. There are plenty of ways to get caught up in a lot of awkward, negative political conversations when it comes to fundraising for veterans. Avoiding this is not ALWAYS possible, but you can direct focus to a more positive topic.
Here are some great ways to raise awareness for your veterans-focused fundraising efforts while staying relatively neutral in what can sometimes be an emotionally-charged area:
Share their Successes
With so many sad situations in the world, it’s important to find silver linings. Veteran fundraising can be a sensitive, personal topic for some. Make sure you focus on the importance of their job and their service, and be frank but delicate about any tragedies that have affected your clients. Veterans are citizens who chose to risk their lives for our country, which is really humbling. Focus on their individual stories.
Let veterans know that, while they might need help, they are not alone and that what they did is respected and honored. Framing veterans’ stories as personal events and not political commentary will help you avoid awkward conversations that distract from your mission.
Social Media as a Voice
Many social media outlets are used as a platform for organization’s fundraising efforts. When you’re asking others to donate, share success stories from veterans who have benefited from contributions. Giving donors a way to visualize the people they help is a powerful motivator.
We’ve said it plenty of times before: donors want to see where their dollars are going. Controversy exists around many organizations, especially veteran-focused charities ones, and many donors are increasingly skeptical that their funds are really reaching those in need.
Veterans who have received help and are open to sharing their story can eliminate some of this concern. One of our favorites stories is a local story you can check out here. In this example, money was raised by a community –not a nonprofit — but it’s a great example of the power of social media to help veterans who need it. Don’t be afraid to make a request for donations along with your clients’ success stories.
Try pairing your success stories with statistics as well. Showing donors the percentage of veterans they’ve helped or how their money is used can dramatically impact the organization’s efforts.
You can also try other methods to raise money for your veterans and the programs they use. Try setting a fundraising goal that will fund a tangible result, like raising money for improved physical therapy tools or training for service dogs. Then, use something to help your donors visualize the amount of money you need to raise to make that result a reality. A fundraising thermometer is a perfect example of a tangible goal combined with a visual element that helps donors track their progress toward a desired result.
Bring the Community Together
Hosting peer-to-peer events to fundraise for veterans is also a great way to help. Peer-to-peer events can also be shared on social media and easily customized to share personal stories. Almost anything could work as a peer-to-peer event for veteran fundraising. As with general fundraising, try to keep it positive and upbeat and focus on bringing a community together to help a deserving group of people. Peer-to-peer fundraising also helps to eliminate concerns around how funds are used, since donors are generally donating to someone they personally know who’s involved with your work.
Here are three great peer-to-peer event ideas that can be held for veterans:
Sell Themed Merchandise
Selling merchandise in tandem with an event can boost fundraising efforts. It serves two purposes: the funds are being raised for veterans, and merchandise can raise awareness about your organization and its mission. Take this as an opportunity to personalize the merchandise as well. Having a family member or friend that was in a branch of the military can be used to honor their memory and/or service while also helping a veteran. From T-shirts, hoodies, pens and more, a general theme can also work well.
Walk-a-thons or any activity based outside will work for a veteran fundraiser. It is easy, fun, and good for you. Promote this event on social media along with a financial goal to meet. Some money can be raised with a race registration fee, but participants can also donate additional money and invite friends and family to get involved, too. Branded merchandise is especially useful for this kind of event. Not only are you walking for a cause, but you’re also raising awareness.
Here comes the most important part (besides helping the veterans, of course): THANK those who contributed. Follow up through email and on social media to share the success stories and ways their funds helped veteran organizations.
Assemble a Group to Create Care Packages
Care packages are usually sent to active duty service members. A unique way to make this about veterans, however, is to request supplies to create care packages for your organization’s clients. Put together care packages that include things like supplies that aid in physical therapy, treats for service animals, letters and notes of encouragement, or other supplies that mesh with your organization’s mission. Donors can give to your organization to cover either supplies or program costs, participants can raise money to build more care packages, and the actual event can be a care package assembly event instead of a walk or run.
Silver Linings and Positive Outcomes
We often hear of heroic stories from veterans returning home from overseas. But coming home doesn’t mean their time in the military is over; many need support from their communities after they’re back on American soil. Raising money that funds that community support can be a touch mission. Veterans’ experiences are deeply personal and are often difficult to share. Share your clients’ struggles, but make sure you share their triumphs and successes. Encourage your donors and volunteers to support these men and women, and be careful to frame your stories in a way that emphasizes their individual stories instead of commenting on politics or foreign policy.
If you’re a fundraiser for a veteran-focused charity, you have a big job ahead of you. Your work is valuable, and we hope this article helps you with that work!