Year in Review and a Look Ahead to 2012

As 2011 comes to a close, it is time to reflect back on a year of impressive accomplishments and to look forward to next year’s ambitious plans.  As a young organization, I believe that 2012 will be a year of growth and maturing for Warrior Gateway as we continue to establish ourselves as a leader in the military/veteran non-profit sector.

This past year, Warrior Gateway received two significant recognitions for our work to date.  In February of this year, I was selected as one of Federal Computer Weeks Federal 100, the top executives from government, industry and academia who had the greatest impact on the government information systems community in 2010.  While the award recognizes the individual, it was the hard work of the entire Warrior Gateway team that lead to that recognition, an impressive feat for an organization that was less than 2 years old at the time of the award.  We have been nominated again this year and I am hopeful that our continued innovation will put us at the top of the list again.

In May, we were also invited to participate as part of a small working group on veterans issues by the Clinton Global Initiative – America.  The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) was founded in 2005 by President Bill Clinton and is a non-partisan organization that convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.  This is the first time CGI has focused on veterans issues and I am proud that we were included as thought leaders in this space.  We have been invited back and plan on attending again in 2012.

While 2010 was focused on our launch of WarriorGateway.org, our innovative consumer web portal for veterans, 2011 will be marked as the year we revolutionized the military non-profit sector by creating the G.I. Network, the only no cost technology infrastructure for government and non-profits alike serving the military community.

We have spent most of this year developing and piloting the G.I. Network and to not spoil the public launch scheduled for mid-January let’s just say there is nothing like it available today.  With over 200,000 non-profits included in the initial launch of the G.I. Network, we are going to make a significant jump forward in helping local communities connect to the Sea of Goodwill.  We have already signed up several partners and look forward to working with them in 2012 to connect the veterans in their community with the local resources that exist to support them.

To sign up to learn more about the G.I. Network, please visit: www.GINetwork.org

My philosophy has always been to focus on achieving results and allow those results to speak for us.  Warrior Gateway will always stay primarily focused on supporting our community and achieving results and partnership rather than self-promotion.  This corporate ethos is what defines us and I believe elevates us above the others that follow the go it alone approach.  We will continue to allow our results speak for themselves and look forward to announcing even more partnerships in 2012.

Happy Holidays and have a wonderful New Year!

Resource Overload

A few days ago, Mark Thompson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, wrote on the Battleland blog on Time.com about the “tidal wave of information enveloping” our service members and their families.  He also commented on the Senate Appropriations Committee’s order to the Pentagon to come up with the “one Web portal”.

It’s a great blog post that highlights the information challenges these individuals face.  When we launched the Gateway Information Network earlier this year, one of our goals was to eliminate this information tsunami by making sure the ever growing Warrior Gateway directory (up to 45K resources today) would be available from any website or portal serving this community.

Read the blog and check out our response and let us know what you think!!

 

******************Here is our response****************

Mark,

I agree that there are probably too many programs, initiatives, task forces, committees, working groups and websites and it is overwhelming for vets and their families.  In both government and the non profit world, I have seen more and more programs being created without taking the time to evaluate what’s working and how to we leverage what’s already in place.  I also agree that we should be questioning the dollars spent on these programs and measuring their value and impact.

However, I have a dissenting opinion on the “one Web portal” approach.

Imagine an internet where you only had one search engine (let’s say Google…seems like the de-facto one these days but no Yahoo or Bing), or only one restaurant guide (Zagats but no Yelp), or only one travel site (Expedia but no Travelocity).   Or a world with only one car company (Ford but no Chevrolet or Chrysler).  Or only one laptop maker (Dell but no HP or Sony).  I could go on but you get the point.

While sometimes less is more, as consumers we want choice and don’t accept single solution provider scenarios in our day to day lives.  Yet that is the approach that is talked about in this scenario.  I disagree.  If the Navy wants to list 16 websites in their pamphlet, fine.  If the Army wants to list 19 in their pamphlet, okay.  Each site might be different in design, function and purpose.

However, what is IMPORTANT, is that those websites are using the SAME information and COLLABORATING.

Why force someone to go to a single DOD or VA website site when they would prefer to go a local non profit’s website?  Or perhaps go to a web search engine?   Or pick up the phone and call 211?  Or go down to their local VSO/Red Cross/etc and talk to someone in person?

Rather than talk about a single website, why aren’t we talking about a single DATABASE that  everyone has access to and participates to verify, validate, grow and improve the information?

This is the philosophy that Warrior Gateway has been talking about for two years with DOD and VA.  We are a new non profit based in Washington, DC that built a directory of nonprofit and government resources in 2010 (currently at 45K organizations across the entire country) and published it on WarriorGateway.org. We then opened it up this year to make that directory available at no charge to other organizations that want to use it for their purposes.

We did this because a) no one else was doing it, b) because it’s how we think the problem should be solved and c) because sharing our work helps not only those who served but also those who support those who served.

We work in partnership with non profits and government agencies to ensure we are providing a valuable information source as we have for almost a year now with our first pilot partner, ChallengeAmerica.com.  And now we’re working with a few of the state VA’s to incorporate what we’ve built into their websites (the Feds are still thinking about how to work with us). Yt’s a grassroots effort right now and we would welcome participation and partnership from all.

What the Senate Appropriations Committee SHOULD be asking is how to we make sure that our military service members, veterans and families get access to CONSISTENT and ACCURATE information REGARDLESS of which one of the myriad of .gov, .mil, .org, .com websites they go to.  No matter where you go to ask for help, there should be no wrong door.

The issue of information delivery and access is too complex to build a cookie-cutter-treat-everyone-the-same solution.   The “one Web portal” approach simply won’t work.  Open-ess, partnership, collaboration and information sharing is the key to solving this problem.

IMHO of course.

Sincerely,
Devin Holmes
CEO – Warrior Gateway

Warrior Gateway gets nominated for CLASSY Award!

Over the July 4th weekend, we found out that Warrior Gateway had been nominated for a CLASSY Award.  The CLASSY awards recognize the top philanthropic achievements by charities, businesses, fundraisers and volunteers across the country.  The winners receive national exposure and more than $150,000 in cash and prizes for their cause.

Today I was notified that Warrior Gateway has made it past round 1 and we have made it to the judging round of the competition in two categories:  Best New Charity and Charity of the Year.

From July 11 – July 24, a panel of non profit industry professionals will read each qualifying nomination to determine the Top 25 Finalists in each category.  If selected, we will be notified by July 24th and public voting will begin on July 25.  The public voting period will run for about a month and will determine the winners in each category.

In the meantime, check out our achievement page HERE and show your support.

Summer 2011 Marketing Internships!

So you use Yelp to find where to go to dinner.  Or perhaps Rotten Tomatoes to help decide what movie to see?  Trip Advisor to decide where to vacation?  Every day you use the power of other people’s opinions, insights and experiences to make decisions.  So why don’t our veterans have those same tools available to them when decided on where to go for healthcare, job opportunities, family assistance or education and training?

If you’re looking for an internship to become a rockstar product marketer and social media guru, Warrior Gateway is looking for you.

We’re looking for someone to come into our DC office or our San Francisco office at least two days per week.  If you have an interest in being part of a digital non-profit that is transforming the veterans landscape, then we want to hear from you.

The marketing internship is a hybrid role that will include assignments and learning opportunities across our strategic partnership and social media marketing groups.

Responsibilities may include but are not limited to: General office assistance, Salesforce.com management, Google Adwords Advertising Campaigns, Market Research, Facebook Fan Page management, Twitter Follower management, Social Media marketing metrics reporting and creation of Warrior Gateway blog posts.

Expectations:

-       Minimum commitment of 15 hours per week at one of our offices

-       A high energy level

-       Competency with Google Apps, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Sprout Social, TweetDeck

-       Fast learning and interested in the world of online marketing

 

This is a paid internship. Email all applications with a resume and cover letter to: resumes@warriorgateway.org with Marketing Intern in the subject line.  Applications without a cover letter will not be looked at nor considered.

 

2011 Global Veterans Career Expo

May 24, 2011
10:00to16:00
10:00to16:00

Hire Disability Solutions, LLC  is hosting a Global Veterans’ Career Expo in partnership with The New York TimesVeterans Across America , the New York City Business Leadership Network (NYCBLN) and Recruit Military in New York City on May 24th, 2011.

Between 7,000 and 10,000 qualified Veterans, their spouses and family members will be attending.  During the Global Veterans’ Career Expo, the following workshops will be available to Veterans and their family members:

  • Accessing VA Health Care & VA Benefits
  • Champion Mentoring
  • Financial Literacy
  • Franchise Start-up
  • Resume Critique
  • Small Business Start-up
  • Stress Management
  • Transferrable Skills (Military to Civilian)

To learn more, please go to http://www.beahero-hireahero.com/