Serving Those Who Serve: New Association Works for Veterans Groups

The National Association of Veteran-Serving Organizations, which launched late last month, aims to boost coordination among veterans groups. The enterprise is the result of a widespread belief among military nonprofits and federal agencies that more organization is needed.

Veterans organizations have some of the most respected missions in the nonprofit world, as they work to lighten the burdens that often fall on those who sacrificed for their country.

But the abundance of veteran-serving organization sometimes results in poor coordination and overlapping advocacy efforts, which can translate to inefficient use of limited resources.

That’s where the National Association of Veteran-Serving Organizations (NAVSO) comes into play. The umbrella group, which launched late last month, hopes to ease the common challenges facing military nonprofits and facilitate their interactions with the federal government.

“The brilliant thing about a new association is that we have such a greater opportunity to impact how our government and how our private sector respond if we stand together,” Volunteers of America President and CEO Mike King said in a news release. “What a perfect time to form an association that all these organizations can unite under and truly stand together to have a greater impact.”

A 2013 study by Syracuse University researchers recommended the creation of a voluntary coalition to bring multiple organizations together to establish a model of collaborative engagement so private-sector, government, and community resources are used more wisely, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

“A national strategy will help ensure that our nation continues to uphold our promise to veterans and their families while reaping the broader social benefits from our great investment in their long-term success,” Nick Armstrong, a research fellow at the university’s Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism and co-author of the report, said in a statement.

NAVSO, which is offering a one-year membership to nonprofits for $399 and to companies and government agencies for $599, plans to focus its early efforts on webinars and conferences. But data sharing, via a web platform for veteran-serving professionals, will ultimately drive the group’s work.

“Together, we will profoundly impact the lives of our veterans and military families through an improved shared situational awareness, by creating cross-cutting collaboration tools and services, by identifying gaps in service for our nation’s veterans and military families, and by shifting resources and efforts to mitigate those gaps,” NAVSO states on its website.

Through board memberships, NAVSO already has formal ties with numerous organizations, including the Travis Manion Foundation (TMF) and Veterans Legal Institute.

“For years we have watched good-intentioned but siloed efforts at the community, regional, and national level, and we know that investing in a national coalition, led by NAVSO, is exactly what is needed,” TMF President Ryan Manion Borek said in the news release.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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