Former Marines Mike Anderson and Jeff Rodriguez, and ardent supporter of military veterans Lionel Johnson, saw an ongoing need to give disabled veterans the tools to build better lives for themselves, both in the San Diego community as well as on a national basis. But such nonprofit efforts have always involved certain complications. How could they connect veterans with an enthusiastic audience of donors while also assuring those same donors that their funds would be used to directly benefit the veterans themselves? Too often, charity organizations weren’t transparent in their fundraising efforts, and it would be unclear exactly what the money was applied to, in the end.
VetStarter solves this dilemma by connecting crowdfunding techniques with a business development program that gives disabled veterans both the finances as well as the infrastructure they need to succeed. When a disabled veteran wants to start up a small business for themselves, they can approach the VetStarter platform and go through a 3-stage process that secures the necessary seed funding and social support.
These stages are defined as Mentor, Fund, and Follow. In the mentorship stage, veterans are educated on best business practices and are helped to develop a certified business plan for their future company. This assures that a clear path is set and that certain performance expectations are established. Then the vet moves to the funding stage, where crowdfunding efforts are channeled through tax-deductible donations. At this point, the vet will post a bio and video on VetStarter, explaining their business plan and goals. All donations go entirely to the veteran’s seed fund account, including funds from individuals as well as corporate sponsors.
Once the vet’s business proposal has been funded, the veteran then keeps donors up-to-date on the startup’s progress through a series of blog posts. This way, donors can see their funds put to use and also continue to provide support, encouragement, and advice as the startup progresses. Then they’ll be able to celebrate as the vet achieves the dream of going into business for themselves!
It’s through this unique joining of effective funding strategies and social accountability that disabled veterans get the chance they deserve to earn a living and improve the overall quality of their life. Donors are able to enjoy making tax-deductible donations and seeing the direct impact their support has on the lives of those who have sacrificed greatly for their country. You can take part either as a disabled vet looking to start a business yourself, as a sponsor, or even just by helping to spread the word about VetStarter!