Nonprofit Interview - Step 1!

I had a conversation with Spencer Kympton, President of The Mission Continues, an organization that empowers veterans to find purpose through community impact. We touched upon various aspects of the organization’s goals and I got the sense that he is leading a forward-thinking organization that has evolved over the duration of its lifespan to strengthen its operations and impact more veterans and communities. The salient points of our conversation are detailed below:

1.     Top 3 organizational goals

Spencer noted that The Mission Continues is in the middle of a three year planning process and recently held a board meeting to lay the groundwork for their long-term goals which are as follows:

a.     Deepen impact

The Mission continues currently operates in 40 metro areas. While they are proud of the work they do, they want to deepen the impact they have in these areas by supporting more veterans and strengthening the positive influence on the communities they serve.

b.     Organizational influence

Other veterans-focused nonprofit (like Wounded Warriors for example) have more traction in terms of advocacy and presence on the hill. The Mission Continues would like to start building capacity to frame and lead discussions around pressing veteran’s issues and become thought leaders in this space.

c.     Long-term sustainability

Improving fundraising operations, acquiring more multi-year gifts and planned gifts. The goal is to get people thinking about and investing in the future of the organization.

2.  Key overall and marketing challenges and opportunities

The Mission Continues does fantastic work, with 17 thousand volunteers involved in projects on the ground in 40 cities.  However, they are not a recognizable house-hold name. I mentioned in our conversation that I was excited about the organization’s mission and was surprised that I had not heard of them until now.

Challenges: difficulty reaching veterans and acquiring their information, not being a household name among veterans, social media posts don’t get much traction

Opportunities: They are uniquely positioned in the Veteran’s nonprofit space

The organizations major players, participants, and stakeholders are veterans and their families. Spencer mentioned also swimming further upstream with the goal to market to active duty members, the reserves and the national guard.

The key marketing goals here are to heighten awareness of the organization, and develop it into a more recognizable brand, ultimately leading to an increase in the number of veterans involved in the program.

3. “Founder’s story”

The Mission Continues is a nonpartisan organization which was founded in 2007 by Eric Greitens. Suicide rates and PTSD among our service members skyrocketed during the Iraq war, and the Mission Continues was formed to help men and women adjust to life at home, put them in positions of purpose by providing them with a ‘mission’, and connect them to their communities. In its early years, the organization worked exclusively with individual post 9-11 veterans through a 6-month fellowship program. The program evolved over time to expand beyond 9-11 veterans to include families and groups of teams known as “service platoons.” They have taken on a city-based approach where they focus on tackling the most pressing problems within their local communities.

4.  Mission

The Mission Continues empowers veterans adjusting to life at home to find purpose through community impact. By partnering veterans with community organizations, they are able to create transformational change for communities in need. Supporters are asked to serve the mission by taking a lead in their community through the 6-month  service leadership corps, by joining a “service platoon” or “deploying” with a team of volunteers to work on domestic community projects. The actions of volunteers inspire others to continue to serve their communities.

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Empower veterans with purpose through community impact