Military Support

In 2010, a 501(c)3 organization that serves both seriously wounded soldiers and active duty troops deployed overseas asked us to help them. They faced two challenges: First, they needed to build a supporter-base at a time when many other nationally known groups were competing for the same contributions with high-profile, high-cost, premium-oriented mailings. Second, they were an unknown start-up with no money and no “angel donors.” Today, they have almost 200,000 supporters and successfully serve the most seriously wounded soldiers from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

JSA Strategy

We focused on two themes: the short-term needs of soldiers stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the client’s focus on the long-term needs of the most severely wounded soldiers and their caregivers. We created appeals containing both these themes as well as appeals that focused on one or the other. Supporters received a carefully calibrated sequence of appeals focusing on specific aspects of the client’s work and urging them to help pay for this work.

We conducted extensive research and testing of lists, developed compelling copy, and designed and tested a variety of direct mail packages. One major challenge was in differentiating the client’s direct mail appeals from those of the many other groups — some of whom were household names fifty or more years ago. We accomplished this in two ways: First, we focused the reader’s attention not only on the plight of severely wounded soldiers, but on the sacrifices their caregivers must make. And, second, through the client, we solicited specific requests for assistance from base commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan and then created packages that revolved around these requests.

JSA Results

Since 2010, we have built a file of nearly 200,000 dedicated supporters. As a result of this program, the client has become a major source of aid and assistance for the most severely wounded veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. For example, they’ve been able to provide specialized beds not covered by the VA for burn victims, helped make homes wheelchair accessible, purchased handicapped accessible vans, assisted families with surgery-related travel reimbursement, and much, much more. They have also provided a wide range of items specifically requested by commanders in Afghanistan such as sweat pants for wounded soldiers, lip balm, musical instruments for church services, and toll free phone cards so wounded soldiers can call home at no charge.