Veterans Moving Forward, Inc. (VMF) had a critical need for volunteers to raise and train service dogs. They reached out to Kurtz Digital Strategy and got results that surpassed expectations.

VMF is a 501(c)(3), nonprofit organization that provides service dogs to military veterans with physical and/or mental health challenges, at no cost to the veteran. Puppy raisers take on a formidable physical, mental and emotional commitment to raise the puppy in their home until the puppy is ready to serve its assigned veteran. While VMF has never had an issue obtaining puppies from breeders, its most limiting success factor has been obtaining enough volunteers to raise the puppies.

Kurtz Digital Strategy teamed with SaVi PR to take on the challenge of finding more raisers. We developed a puppy raiser recruitment campaign to target people that fit VMF’s puppy raiser profile that leveraged social media platforms and appropriate and accessible professional and organizational networks.

The strategy included:

  • Updating the VMF website to provide key information for potential volunteers
  • Editorial calendars and postings on Facebook and Twitter
  • Press releases that led to news coverage and feature stories
  • Paid ads in targeted online and print publications

One of the key ways the KDS-SaVi team helped VMF obtain more volunteers was to optimize their branding. Prior to the campaign, VMF focused on attracting veterans and members of the military, when they actually needed to attract dog lovers. By implementing a few key changes to their website and social media content, VMF was able to attract the audience they needed.

The goal was to attract and recruit six to eight new puppy raisers. The campaign generated almost double the goal, with 39 leads, which resulted in 12 volunteers who attended a fall placement course.

This project earned a 2018 Thoth Award of Excellence from PRSA-NCC.