The Rise of Military Support Organizations: Oversaturated or Overdue?
About the Author

Michelle Aikman is a military spouse and career management expert.

Organizations supporting the military community are not in short supply

Writing those words makes me smile from ear to ear because it means the red, white, and blue is waving strong, and our country honors and supports those who serve. When so many are standing up to take action, we must ask ourselves if the support arena is oversaturated with duplicated services creating unnecessary competition for funding. Or is the rise of additional sources of support long overdue, filling gaps that were previously underserved, causing funding to be redirected to value-adding organizations? 

Before you make up your own mind, consider these observations: 

There Is No Master Database 

Each day, new organizations (both nonprofit and for-profit) are formed and launched, which means people are seeing needs and taking action. The influx of organizations makes it difficult for even the most alert individual to keep up. So those who refer military community members often don’t know about  new organizations or don’t know enough about them to refer properly so people simply don’t know they are out there. 

If you are looking to serve a specific need, do your research because there already might be an organization in existence that is not widely known about just yet. 

Harnessing The Energy Within Our Military Community 

If you identify an organization focused on your interests, consider reaching out and asking them to bring you on board instead of starting an entirely new organization. The work on the back end is tedious and joining forces will take everyone farther in the end. 

If you currently are involved in an organization, I hope you step out of the box to think of creative ways to utilize the talent that wants to engage with your organization so you can push the mission forward together. When an eager contributor is met with a dismissive we’ve-got-it-covered territorial response, it’s no wonder they take matters into their own hands and create something they can drive. 

Customer-Centric 

In the civilian world, customers drive the market. When organizations lose sight of delighting customers, then customers go elsewhere. Within the military community, the rise of support organizations could indicate the previous organizations were not meeting all of their needs. 

If this is the case, then perhaps there is no real duplication of services. A closer look will likely uncover that organizations are filling the gaps and picking up where others are leaving off or offering an alternative solution customers prefer. 

If the organizations in this space truly care about serving the military community, then it is time to start talking, collaborating, and adapting. 

Want to be a part of this conversation? Register and attend Learning & Leaning In: Military Spouse Led Non Profits Supporting One Another presented by The Association of the United States Army (AUSA) and the Military Spouse JD Network (MSJDN) August 26th in Arlington, Va. 

 
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