For those who have spent their adult lives serving their country as troops or military family members, moving into a life of nonprofit service after leaving the fighting force just makes sense.
However it isn’t usually that easy.
Beginning a successful nonprofit requires more than just a love of service or interest in philanthropy, said a trio of those who have done it. It takes dedication, savvy, looking to others for help and being able to fill a need without accidentally duplicating services that already exist, they said.
Therefore what’s the top secret to which makes it in the nonprofit world?
Read this personal stories, and just how they’ve discovered success with their organizations.
Army Veteran Jeremy Hysell : Creating Better Leaders and Citizens
the nonprofit experience started while he was still on active duty, going to graduate school at the University of Michigan after a 2009 deployment to Afghanistan. He attended a class on positive psychology — and everything changed.
The research of how people and organizations thrive, positive psychology targets 24 character strengths — traits such as leadership, integrity and bravery. Since he worked through the class, he saw mirrored in those qualities core Army values such as honor, duty and respect. He also saw an opportunity to make a dynamic difference in the lives of 2 completely different groups : his fellow veterans and schoolchildren.
Jeremy’s name has become synonymous with Team Red, White & Blue, the veterans’ nonprofit he founded throughout his studies. The organization spread first to the U.S. Army’s academy at West Point, where he taught in the Behavioral Sciences and Leadership Department between 2011 and 2014, and then, like wildfire, to the world.
Connecting veterans with their groups through fitness and social activities, Team RWB ( as it’s known ) and its familiar eagle logo have exploded to a lot more than 115,000 members in more than 200 chapters worldwide. Although positive psychology is not Team RWB’s lone mission, its members concentrate on living by what is known as the “Eagle Ethos,” a set of guiding principles that reflects many of the character traits which positive psychology focuses.
Jeremy, who still sits on the Team RWB board, is not involved in the organization’s day-to-day activities and has since left active duty. Now he has launched a brand new organization aimed at bringing the importance of positive character that he discovered through the Army to the next generation.
Started as a simple Facebook page focused on positive character, The Positivity Project has developed a set of curriculum to teach positive qualities in elementary school classrooms. This year, the Positivity Project is in 33 schools nationwide and has impacted 12,000 kids. During the 2017 to 2018 school year, the program is expected to be in 200 schools.
“We’re trying to produce better leaders and better citizens for our world and our country,” Jeremy said. “For democracy to work, you have to trust in a society that you and someone else are driving. We need to trust that our citizens are going to look out for each other and support each other — that’s what democracy requires.”
The most important takeaway is that nonprofit success does not happen in a vacuum. Every veteran nonprofit organization that gains notice can inspire other veterans, which leads to positive ripple effects for military and civilian communities at large. It’s that knowledge that inspires Jeremy, along with many others, to continue giving back