Forward March: Challenge helps veterans, public ‘pay it forward’
John Kleindienst, National Voluntary Services Director
For years, we have seen many of the same faces repeatedly stepping up to the plate to fill our organization’s volunteer roles. Without their steadfast support, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish our mission. So many veterans have benefited directly from DAV’s services, and every citizen has benefited from the sacrifices of our heroes and their families.
During the month of March, veterans and members of the public are encouraged to pay it forward through DAV’s Forward March challenge. The campaign is designed to introduce new volunteers to recognize veterans by donating an hour of time in a meaningful way that serves those who’ve served.
Last year, with the encouragement of DAV members, the organization recruited 100 new volunteers. This year, participating volunteers will enjoy a new platform, Volunteer for Veterans — a unique online space dedicated solely to volunteerism through DAV.
Details about the new tool can be found on Page 14, but we’re hoping the website, volunteerforveterans.org, will infuse our Forward March efforts and help promote volunteerism throughout the entire year by better identifying volunteer needs and providing real-time matching of volunteers with opportunities to assist.
Another new aspect of this year’s Forward March campaign will be the ability to track your Local Veterans Assistance Program volunteer hours directly on our volunteer website. No more forms and no more hassle, just a simpler and more efficient way for you and DAV state-level departments to receive credit for donating your time.
Just like last year, volunteers participating in the Forward March challenge will receive a welcome letter and a thank-you gift from DAV for their efforts.
For most DAV volunteers, an hour is a fraction of time donated in a single month, but the goal of Forward March is to introduce new volunteers to the opportunities and rewards that come from helping veterans.
DAV and Auxiliary members are too often overwhelmed by needs in their community. Meanwhile, volunteers frequently approach DAV wanting to know how they can help. The new initiative can crowdsource that process. DAV members and chapters can identify and plug in needs that individuals, companies and organizations can act upon.
If you or anyone you know would like to learn more about Forward March, please visit dav.org/forwardmarch. Also, please be sure to visit and refer veterans and prospective volunteers to volunteerforveterans.org. Thanks for all you do!
DAV Magazine, March | April 2018