Monday, November 14, 2011

Veteran's Day

Hope that everybody had a great Veteran's Day Weekend!  In honor of the just passed holiday, I would like to direct our readers to an article we recently posted about the number of unemployed veterans.  Here is an excerpt from that piece:

As 39,500 Iraqi troops are scheduled to make their return this December, nonprofits have begun the charge of increasing service programs, while trying to fundraise more for the sudden influx of new clients.

“The key is getting to soldiers as soon as possible,” said Stephen Nardizzi, president and CEO of Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) in Jacksonville, Fla.. “A lot are returning to isolated communities, which is different from what you’ve seen in past conflicts.”

The unemployment rate for veterans stands at 12 percent, 3 points higher than the national average. In October alone, 240,000 new veterans were looking for jobs. In addition, one in five soldiers is reportedly suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Nardizzi estimated 300,000 to 600,000 soldiers are dealing with a traumatic brain injury. More than 1 million Americans have served in Iraq, and 39,500 troops will return by year’s end.

Nardizzi sees traumatic brain injuries and PTSD as the biggest issues veterans face, but realizes a full integration in today’s society means using a combination of therapies. “It’s a lot like the legs of a table. They all impact each other. We will have programs that will engage soldiers in team-building activities, but we also have counseling services,” he said.

For WWP, the expectation for increased services has been planned. The organization has experienced “incredible growth” during the past five years, from $40 million 2010 to $68 million this year, and a goal of reaching $90 million next year.

“We took that next step in fundraising about two years ago, when we saw depressed numbers coming back and invested in our direct response services,” said Nardizzi. “We’ve been trying to attract online donors, but this year we also heavily invested in direct response television. We had a very similar approach to television to what we’ve done in direct mail.”

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