Building a Marketing Strategy for Quilts of Valor Foundation
In August 2013, Quilts of Valor Foundation (QOVF) presented to our 4204 Marketing Projects class. As part of our Marketing education at Fisher College of Business, this Capstone course allowed us to act as a Marketing Consulting Team. The Board shared background information and examples of their work, and asked for our help closing the gap between where the Foundation was and where they wanted to be.
It was a unique, challenging, and rewarding experience to work alongside QOVF. Our team’s work will positively affect the lives of service men and women in the United States for years to come.
Catherine Roberts founded Quilts of Valor Foundation in November 2003. Her life up to that point had a constant theme of service. Upon graduation from college she served in the Peace Corps and eventually transitioned from nurse to midwife.
Her son’s deployment to Iraq as a gunner shifted her focus to the physical and psychological wounds of service men and women. The “war demons” as she calls them stand no match against the quilts provided by the Quilts of Valor Foundation.
Catherine works tirelessly to cover all service members in comfort and healing but she needed our help to discover new methods of increasing support for QOVF.
Catherine’s selfless spirit guided our team’s work to help QOVF reach a new level and further the appreciation for service men and women.
Objective #1: Build key corporate partnerships by positioning the Quilts of Valor Foundation correctly in the eyes of potential partners.
Objective #2: Expand the base of volunteers by positioning the Quilts of Valor Foundation volunteer experience correctly in the eyes of potential volunteers.
Objective #3: Enhance brand awareness through customer engagement with social media by positioning the Quilts of Valor Foundation correctly in the eyes of potential donors and using the information most successful from the IPTV Pledge Special.
Positioning Statements for Key Stakeholders
Donors: Donations to QOVF are much more than monetary aid. Donor’s contributions are long lasting in terms of the unique and elaborate quilts that are made possible by these generous donations, as well as the emotions they elicit in the recipients of the quilt. Unlike other organizations, donors are able to see their money create a positive pertinence for veterans through a ceremony in which the quilts are personally presented as an award-like honor to the veteran.
Volunteers: QOVF offers volunteers a chance to play a key role in personally thanking America’s veterans. Amateur quilters as well as skilled quilters can come together and make a significant impact in the lives of these veterans. The time volunteered culminates in the presentation of the quilt to a veteran which provides emotional healing and an overwhelming sense of pride for the veteran, because QOVF’s quilts are customized for each individual recipient and made through quality standards allowing recipients to wrap themselves in the comfort of knowing their sacrifices are greatly appreciated.
Corporate Sponsors: For the business that wants to give back to American troops and veterans, QOVF allows businesses to see the effect of their contributions and receive good press and public recognition because, compared to other military charities, QOVF awards quality quilts in a presentation ceremony that the business can be involved in and put their name on.
Marketing Strategy Overview
The Quilts of Valor Foundation is a unique organization in the sense that they have a core group of volunteers who donate a lot of their time, are strong advocates, and extremely loyal to the organization.
Unfortunately, there is a large group of potential donors, volunteers, and corporate sponsors who are totally unaware of QOVF efforts. Awareness is best increased by the use of paid radio and television advertisements. However, as a small nonprofit, QOVF does not have the funds to pay for these ads. This creates a challenging dilemma.
QOVF must rely on free sources of information, including digital media and earned word-of-mouth. How to improve in reach and efficiency on these two fronts makes up the bulk of our strategic objectives and initiatives. A strategy based on strong digital media presence lends itself to attraction of a younger demographic, but is this strategy taking advantage of the resources and culture QOVF has already built?
We believe it is worth it for QOVF to pursue a younger demographic because there is a demand in younger demographics to get involved with charities that will give them leadership opportunities and strengthen their resumes. Based on our primary research, we also recognized a concern in funding for materials, shipping costs, and cleaning supplies. To ease this burden we decided the best plan is to find corporate sponsors who would be willing to take on some of these costs in exchange for acknowledgement and advertising.
The rest of the reading provides a breakdown of the tactics our team formulated to drive a new and exciting direction for the Quilts of Valor Foundation. The marketing strategy behind this new direction can be broken down into three distinct parts:
Strategy Point #1: Develop key relationships with corporate sponsors that best fit the needs of QOVF.
Strategy Point #2: Target a younger demographic to expand the volunteer base and introduce a more modern perspective for QOVF.
Strategy Point #3: Solidify QOVF branding and introduce it across existing platforms as well as across new platforms of customer engagement.
Note: the majority of information and details are left out for privacy
Upgraded website as center of communication
Our proposed changes to the QOVF website make it easier to navigate and use. Instead of a lot of information scattered across the homepage, our proposed website design simplifies the engagement process so that it is easier for visitors to find the information they need, while guiding traffic to the most important pages on the site.
Our design also includes a ‘Donate’ link in a position that catches the visitors’ eye. Another important change in our design is feature the Quilts Awarded ticker in a more prominent position.
QOVF Website Before:
QOVF Website After:
Chosen by client as winning marketing strategy. I was selected by peers to join Board to implement recommendations. Our recommendations contributed to a 300% increase in quilts awarded each year for the following two years.
Josh Beard (me)
“This experience provided an opportunity to grow as a leader, while honoring the life and service of my Grandfather. I know our work will make a lasting impact on many.”
“This experience allowed me to finally put all of my coursework in Fisher to use in a real-world setting, while reminding me that I can use my business skills to make a positive impact in the lives of others, not just my own.”
“This project gave me real-world experience for a sincere organization that I can truly be proud of saying I worked with.”
“This project gave me an opportunity to apply all of the marketing tools I have learned at Fisher to a significant marketing situation for the Quilts of Valor Foundation.”
“This project allowed me to help honor our service men and women while at the same time bring together everything I have learned at the Fisher College of Business. It was a very unique and worthwhile experience.”