IAVA “Storms the Hill” for Veterans Services
Posted Mar 28, 2011 by Sarah Koch
Guest Post: Megan Hemler is Digital Engagement Coordinator at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA). As Digital Engagement Coordinator, Megan supports the Digital Engagement department with social media outreach and new media initiatives. Prior to joining IAVA, Megan received her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame with a minor in Peace Studies. I recently had a chance to chat with Megan about IAVA’s success on Causes and their latest initiative, Storm the Hill.
As the nation’s first and largest nonprofit serving Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, social media has been in our DNA since the beginning. As a small, young nonprofit, we relied on social media as a matter of necessity: reaching the largest audience with the fewest resources. As IAVA has grown, social media continues to play an integral part in how we connect with our members and the general public. While IAVA has amassed more than 200,000 Facebook Fans, 116,000 Causes supporters and over 5,000 Twitter followers, it’s about more than pure numbers or following the latest trend – it’s about using these tools to accomplish our mission and raise public awareness around the challenges facing Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.
Causes has helped our work at IAVA by enabling us to easily and efficiently tap into a committed audience of veterans and supporters. Causes’ integration with Facebook helps us reach that audience where we know they already are-online. We’ve now raised nearly $25,000 on Causes.
IAVA’s growth on Causes has been driven largely by users themselves. We have 93 causes, most that have been started and managed by our loyal supporters. We’ve been able to share compelling, thoughtful and useful content to those users, driving engagement and initiative from them in return.
What is IAVA working on right now?
The unemployment rate for new veterans has doubled in the last five years, and continues to skyrocket. This week, IAVA kicks off our annual Storm the Hill campaign, bringing two dozen of our Member Veterans to Capitol Hill to meet with over 100 Congressional offices to focus on our top legislative priority of the year – unemployment. Storm the Hill launches a year-long campaign, Combat to Career: The Fight to End Veteran Unemployment, aimed at lowering the unemployment rate for the 2.2 million veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s a public-private initiative focused on creating jobs for veterans and incentivizing businesses to hire veterans.
How can the Causes community support Storm the Hill week?
Causes users can support IAVA and our veteran participants throughout the week by donating to IAVA’s Storm the Hill Fundraising Project on Causes and by visiting StormtheHill.org to add their name in support of IAVA and our fight to open doors for new vets.