American Veterans Honor Fund 2020: A Year-in-Review

Year in Review - American Veterans Honor Fund

The year 2020 was a successful one for the American Veterans Honor Fund. As an election year, it provided our organization with the opportunity to accomplish one of our core objectives: getting Veterans elected to office. Through a series of initiatives and outreach programs, we are proud to have developed effective resources in aiding Veteran campaigns.

It is central to our mission to ensure the success of Veteran candidates for office. But first, Veterans must be sure elected office is a good fit for them. Hey Veteran, Are You a Good Fit to Run for Office? condensed some of the most important questions a Veteran must ask themselves before making that decision. Part of that decision making process covered in this piece was establishing whether a candidate had the necessary support network in place to run effectively. But it also complimented A Values Guide to Running for Office as a Veteran, which we published in 2019. A Veteran who understands the issues affecting their communities and is ready to fight for them and embody the ethos of “second service” is prepared to make this journey into elected office!

When confronted with an unprecedented pandemic scenario, American society went largely digital in 2020. We knew that under these circumstances Veteran candidates would need to adapt to new strategies in campaigning. To raise awareness of this new paradigm in campaign strategy, we published How Covid-19 Has Changed Campaigning in 2020. Highlights included the importance of local campaigning and an effective digital advertising strategy.

But we also took an active role in the education of Veteran candidates with the implementation of a resource portal. During election season, our candidate resource portal provided written as well as video materials to help candidates create an effective campaign strategy, understand best practices, and raise awareness on important issues they may face on the trail. Resources for prospective and active veteran candidates include topics such as what to expect on the campaign trail, statistics on success rates of veteran campaigns, how to highlight your service and use it to your advantage, and an overall guide to running for office as a veteran. 

Year in Review - American Veterans Honor Fund

We also launched multiple campaigns to engage with voters directly.

We rally around Veteran candidates because we believe that they are the modern link to the Founding Fathers. Their selfless service and dedication to upholding the universal laws of the Constitution make them ideal candidates for office that is meant to serve all Americans-not just partisan ones. This is what we believe, and this message has resonated with voters just as strongly. In July of 2020, we launched our Pledge to Vote for Vets drive based on this very premise. And it was a hit! The campaign used direct email outreach and an online petition to generate support for the mission, which was simple: commit voters to research Veterans running for office in their state and support their campaigns. In the end, we reached thousands nation-wide and gathered well over nine thousand signatures in this highly successful campaign.

But this was not our only effective outreach campaign during the 2020 election cycle.

In October we launched two more campaigns geared at engaging voters directly. The first initiative was a fundraising campaign. As we noted at the time of the launch, the decline of Veterans in Congress can be linked in part to the rise of the hyper-partisan DC political machine, which has ultimately flooded the zone with career politicians. Grassroots fundraising will continue to be one of the most effective weapons in overcoming the DC machine.

The other campaign we launched in October was localized to voters in North Carolina. The objective of this campaign was to rally the vote for Veterans in that state in the final build up to November 3rd. We used all platforms at our disposal-text, email, phone calls, and social media to reach over 30,000 prospective voters!Ultimately, we are proud of the work we were able to accomplish in 2020, which will serve as a landmark year for our organization. With the elections behind us, it is time to regroup and focus on building on our successes with the 2022 election season now just around the corner. But to ensure continued success moving forward, we must double down now. In the near term, we will be running continued campaigns to build voter support for Veterans including email and mail-outs, so that when 2022 arrives, our base will be built and we will be more effective than ever in supporting our Vets and getting them elected!

Veterans Running for Office - American Veterans Honor Fund

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