Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) was started in 2002 by John Melia who was wounded in Somalia in 1992. The members of his family and other veterans, Al Giordano and Steven Nardizzi, supported Melia’s efforts to establish WWP. Until 2005, WWP operated as a division of another nonprofit organization the United Spinal Association of New York.
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In 2005, the WWP separated from the associated organization and moved its headquarters to Jacksonville, Florida. Thus, by 2010, the nonprofit organization started by several activists has rapidly grown into an influential project employing 118 workers and raising millions of dollars to support veterans.
Over the years, WWP has shown impressive progress culminating in her appearing among the very top performing organizations in the nonprofit category. However, with the rising number of volunteer soldiers to war and, the economic crisis experienced in the recent years, there is a need for WWP to reexamine their position with a view to fit into the new realities.
It is important that she continues to serve the interest of wounded soldiers while coping with the high numbers which are expected and still remain steadfast in its mandate. To achieve this goal, a medium term strategic plan for WWP, is deemed inevitable.
The purpose of this strategic plan is to define the goals for WWP with respect to the results it envisages within the stated period of 5 years. The basis of the plan is a report collected from performances over a time period. This will be followed with an analysis of the external and internal environment through a SWOC analysis and a stakeholder analysis respectively.
With these results as a basis, the strategic plan aims to lay out the strategies for successful implementation and action plans to close the gap from the current position to the desired position within this period.
To be successful, the process intends to have a ‘buy in’ strategy that allows for vivid participation of all stakeholders concerned. The Board and Top management will have stated their support by signing on the sheet provided.
The goals and the plans to achieve them must remain realistic and as such, must involve the immediate implementers in the team. It shall incorporate workable performance monitoring and evaluation component as well as a provision for any arising changes hence the need for flexibility.
Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) was started in 2002 by John Melia who had been wounded in Somalia in 1992. Melia’s initiative was supported by the members of his family and other veterans Al Giordano and Steven Nardizzi. Until 2005, WWP operated as a division of another nonprofit organization the United Spinal Association of New York.
In 2005, the WWP separated from the associated organization and moved its headquarters to Jacksonville, Florida. Thus, by 2010, the nonprofit organization started by several activists has rapidly grown into an influential project employing 118 workers and raising millions of dollars to support veterans (Wounded Warrior Project, n. d.).
The mission adopted by WWP is to provide support to the veterans of the US military forces by honoring and empowering them. The phrase concerning the greatest casualty that is being forgotten used as an epigraph on the website of this nonprofit organization implies the inability of the society to provide the necessary and deserved social and financial support to the veterans.
The vision of the organization is formulated as an ambition to foster the generation of wounded veterans which would be best adjusted to the realities of modern society and the most successful one in the history of the nation. The purposes of this nonprofit organization include the improvement of the social awareness on the special needs of the injured service members and motivate the community to provide the necessary aid to the wounded warriors.
Additionally, WWP is aimed at providing the injured veterans with opportunities to assist each other. These goals are achieved through the implementation of the unique programs complying with the needs of injured warriors.
To improve the social awareness of the special needs of the injured service members and motivate the community to provide the necessary aid to the wounded warriors and their families.
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The core values of WWP are defined as FILIS:
The core values formulated in the form of FILIS are coupled with the culture of teamwork in WWP that is beneficial for enhancing the performance of the staff and even motivating each of the employees to give extra effort to make their organization succeed (Wounded Warrior Project, n. d.).
The programs of WWP are structured in a unique way to nurture the mind and body of the wounded veterans and foster their economic empowerment and social engagement. Thus, all the programs activities are divided into four main subgroups, including mind, body, economic empowerment and, social engagement. The participation in all of these programs is free.
However, the verification of military service experience and service-connected wounds, injuries or illnesses is obligatory for participating in these programs (Wounded Warrior Project, n.d).
For example, the wounded warriors eligible for the participation in WWP projects can be enrolled into Combat Stress Recovery Program, Transition Training Academy, Physical Health and Wellness, Soldier Ride and other programs (Wounded Warrior Project, n.d).
The reported outcomes of the programmatic activities of WWP are striking. Thus, 325 families took advantages of Physical Wealth and Wellness Program, 945 warriors enrolled into Warriors to Work Program and were assisted in finding a job. Furthermore, 5929 phone and e-mail cases were resolved through the support center.
The executive staff of WWP includes 14 members. The organizational structure of WWP consists of 9 main departments, including the development, financial, special projects, direct response, mental health and warrior engagement, physical health and wellness, communications, government affairs, and economic empowerment departments.
As the ones responsible for the implementation process, these leaders will be an integral part of the team. They bring their practical knowledge which is invaluable creating action plans.
Planning for the Plan
The changing environment, both fiscal and in number of beneficiaries legible for this program leaves no doubt that WWP needs to lay firm strategies to help her maintain relevance and, remain true to its mandate.
By prove of the executive boards consent and pledge of cooperation, the agency has expressed desire to conduct this exercise. The next stage will involve selection of committee members, and we shall be guided by their decision making power and importance in the implementation exercise.
The plan shall encompass whole organization, and as a medium term 5year strategic plan. The module to be adopted for this project shall be vision based where we align functions relative to a shared vision.
Given the success enjoyed by WWP thus far, the concurrent approach to implementation suffices. By maintaining most of what already works, WWP should use the good working relationship of employees to draw up the plan ((Bryson, 2004a).
The committees mandate shall be to draw up a schedule for the strategic plan development. This schedule will show who will be involved, when and how and putting to consideration their authority, role, knowledge. It will ensure stakeholder as well as a champion of the process. The committee shall also set forth the materials needed as well as terms and titles to be used (Clolery, 2011).
The schedule spells out when and how the planners will be trained to ensure better understanding of process. The membership and participation will be arranged in such a way as to have ‘buy in’ by direct involvement of key implementers and stakeholders.
To ensure implementation we will develop smart goals, action plans, and institute monitoring and evaluation measures while leaving a provision for enactment of new changes to the plan as may be deemed necessary (Poister, 2003).
The stakeholder audit for the Wounded Warrior Project requires mapping the universe of various stakeholders, defining who they are, how they can affect the organization and performance of this nonprofit agency and how they relate to the agency.
Applying the power vs. interest grid to the analysis of the stakeholder universe and the roles performed, depending upon the extent of their power and interest, the main groups can be divided into four main categories, including subjects with high interest but low power, players with high power and high interest, context setters with high power but low interest and crowd characterized with low power and low interest.
WWP must strive to consult, listen to and empower all these stakeholders (Bryson, 2004b).
The first category has wounded veterans and their families, the employees of the agency and the private contractors providing certain services to the agency which are characterized with high interest in the effective performance of the organization and fulfillment of its mission. The second subgroup of players would include the senior management of the organization.
The category of the context setters encompasses all individuals, firms and corporations making donations, government bodies, and policymakers responsible for the regulation of the nonprofit sector. Finally, the fourth group of the crowd would include the general public which has low interest and low power but still is affected by the performance of the agency that is aimed at creating public value.
The Revelation from SWOC Analysis
Conducting a SWOC analysis for WWP, helps identify internal strengths and weaknesses it possesses and external opportunities and challenges it faces as it embarks on a strategic planning process. This sets the primary data or skeleton upon which the strategic plan is developed.
This looks at WWP agency does well. Includes the unique assets or resources it can draw from to take advantages of external opportunities or overcome challenges and describes its unique competencies.
The WWP successfully empowers veterans who received service-connected wounds during or later September 11, 2001. Its distinctive competencies include psychological and social support of wounded warriors and their families through engaging them into specialized programs and employing them.
WWP could benefit from current legislation supporting the rights of veterans, including those warriors who have service-connected disability, such as the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2011).
Weaknesses demonstrate where WWP has fewer assets or resources than others and would be target for areas of improvement.
One of the weaknesses of WWP is its policy declining government funding. As a non-profit donation based organization, WWP does not accept government money not to compromise its independence from government’s money (Wounded Warrior Project, 2010).
As a result, when $ 3.2 million was allocated to WWP in 2011, the non-profit organization declined these funds (Dixon, 2011). This decision was compliant with one of the principles adopted by this organization but was not in the best interests of the community of wounded veterans to whom the organization serves.
This looks at changes taking place in the external environment that the organization could take advantage of. It includes an assessment of political, economic, social, technological, demographic, or legal trends might present opportunities for WWP.
The WWP might take advantage of the growing concerns of the population over the destinies of the wounded warriors. As to the changes taking place in the technological domain, the organization might use the innovative methods of e-marketing for popularizing its programs and attracting new donations, volunteers and wounded veterans.
In addition, the organization can use social networks to attract attention of wider audiences. This might reduce the advertising costs and increase the effectiveness of the strategies at the same time.
This looks at the changes taking place in the external environment that the agency should guard against, or prepare for, to avoid disruption of their activities. The may be political, economic, social, technological, demographic, or legal trends that might present obstacles to WWP achieving her mission.
The organization should be prepared for the growing number of veterans because more volunteers want to join the Army after the events of September 11, 2001 (Wounded Warrior Project, n.d.; Holder, 2007).
Furthermore, the global economic crisis can have a negative impact upon the willingness of individuals and organizations to make donations. The firms are frequently forced to cut their staff. This also may have a negative impact upon the employment options for the wounded veterans.
The Strategic Issues
The stakeholder analysis gives a clear indication of the relative importance of these organizations in influencing the outcome of any plans WWP, would want to take. As a result, the first and second category of stakeholders will be considered from the beginning as mentioned above.
The SWOC analysis has revealed the areas of opportunity that if given enough consideration will result in the organization being able to achieve its original mandate and adopt effectively to tackle the arising challenges.
Goal 1: Improve decision making and effectiveness of the WWP financing program
Strategy 1: Funding is a major issue facing WWP and given the foreseeable elements listed above, this issue needs to be addressed amicably. The first step is to engage stakeholders on revising the policy on non acceptance of government funds.
This may be followed by an enactment of strict accounting procedures to restore stakeholder confidence in government fund utilization. In the same vein, both internal, and external auditors will be engaged to facilitate the process. Books of account would be reviewed semi-annually and reports published in reputable journal.
Strategy 2: By employing qualified staff and empowering them as WWP has done before, staff which is one of the most valuable assets of this organization would be able to develop effective strategies for facing the challenges in the external environment.
Goal 2: Support for more veteran soldiers and their families
Strategy 1: The organization strengths intersect with the opportunities in the external environment in the new opportunities for advertising the programs for the wounded warriors and raising the community awareness on the activities of this nonprofit organization. By discussing the noble goals of this organization on various websites and social networks, WWP would b able to attract new donations.
Strategy 2: The agency will have a continuous surveillance mechanism which gives monthly reports on the traffic to the sites and releasing trends for quarterly reviews for prompt improvement.
Goal 3: Implementation of the organizations core values
Strategy 1: The flexibility of WWP management and the core values adopted by this organization can be used for converting the challenges into opportunities. Taking into account the fact that WWP is recognized as one of the best employers in nonprofit sector, it can be stated that it can attract talented employees.
Strategy 2: The organization needs to employ an international benchmark for analysis and reporting its performance. This is a tool that will effectively demonstrate the organizations commitment to the veterans it serves and market WWP as an organization worth the support.
Use of Balanced score card as a tool for monitoring the success of the implementation strategies will be effected. This method suggests indicators of performance in all sectors and notes the degree of achievement for review and hence prompt action.
Goal 4: Increasing the number of corporate sponsors and the amount of donations
Strategy 1: The WWP will strive to improve their visibility through media outlets. The new social media on the Internet is a plat form that if well targeted shall improve awareness and improve people’s participation. So far the success of the agency’s program has showed a great need among organizations to encourage sponsorship. At the same time, by attracting advertisements from organizations to attract funds will be most appropriate.
Strategy 2: The programs of WWP are structured in a unique way to nurture the mind and body of the wounded veterans and foster their economic empowerment and social engagement. The most experience will be used by this organization to ensure that all the participants not only enjoy the program, but also proactively help open more activities to cater for all their needs.
Goal 5: Improve the participation of families participating in the programs by at least 30% over the next five years
Strategy 1: Improve support for the Physical Wealth and Wellness Program from the current, 325 by 30%, through improved. At the same time, increase number of families taking part in the Warriors to Work program families from the current 945 warriors enrolled into Program and while improving the number of those assisted to find jobs by the same margin over the period.
Strategy 2: Increase the service staff effectiveness in handling of phone and email cases by enhancing the capacity of the support center to handle the increased demand.
The plan shall include an operation plan, a monitoring and evaluation schedule and a statement explaining the process of effecting any change arising from the implementation process. The action plan shall define all the roles and responsibilities over the mentioned period including a time frame for implementation of each of the strategies.
Alternative Visions for the Future
Given the magnitude help WWP offers to her war veteran clients, it demands a long term vision to ensure sustainability as well as satisfactory implementation of the programs they set to achieve. First, WWP should look at establishing an endowment and revolving funds that may be lent to her members to do business and refund at very low interest.
Second, WWP need to set up collaboration with organizations that may create an academy for handling of the needs of the veterans and their families. Last, WWP should engage the international community in drawing policies that will minimize war options as this will decrease the number of those affected and ensure high treatment to the few who must go through war.
Given the enormous task that the implementation of the strategic plan entails, a team leader for the program will be identified. He shall help with advice on continuous implementation while his or her office shall provide the needed support throughout the process.
With this five year strategic plan, WWP has a goal and a way to achieve those goals. With the proper implementation, the agency can be sure to build on their good reputation to cater best for their clientele and their stakeholder interests. This is the first step in ensuring proper stakeholder involvement that also gives a clear framework for corporation including mechanisms for conflict resolution.
Bryson, J. (2004a). Strategic planning for public and nonprofit organizations: A Guide to strengthening and sustaining organizational achievement (3rd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Bryson, J. (2004b). What to do when stakeholders matter: Stakeholder identification and analysis techniques. Public Management Review, 6(1), 21-53.
Clolery, P. (2011). 50 best nonprofits to work for in 2011. The NonProfit Times, 17–23. Web.
Dixon, M. (2011). Wounded Warrior Project turns down $ 3.2 million from Florida. The Florida Times Union. Web.
Holder, K. (2007). Comparison of ACS and ASEC data on veteran status and period of military service: 2007. Web.
Poister, T. (2003). Measuring performance in public and nonprofit organizations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (2011). Veterans with service- connected disabilities in the workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Web.
Wounded Warrior Project. (n.d.). Who we serve. Web.