Navigating the well-stocked system of veteran’s services can require physical endurance just to find the right option. Checkpoint is a online community-building website developed by an Iraq war veteran, for veterans in Southwestern Pa. The website lets users quickly navigate local veterans services and rate options so others can easily find the very best, just like Yelp! We accepted the challenge to raise awareness and support for this timely web tool that can better serve our veterans.
Shift was brought aboard to call attention to Checkpoint and its special service to the region’s military community. As a team of professional listeners (and creatives), we drew out the strong value proposition of Checkpoint, and created an awareness event featuring hiking boots and hardy sponsorships. Shift developed The Crucible, a three-day, 70-mile hike in Pennsylvania’s stunning Laurel Highlands. Hikers experienced the rugged physical demands of this strenuous hike and forged new relationships, similar to what servicemen can experience on a tour of duty. Shift also developed messaging, media targeting and list building to help Checkpoint reach new audiences. A revised landing page for the website and social media advertising plan completed Shift’s strategy.
The Crucible’s fundraising goal was set at $60,000. The hike raised $71,254.00. This is how much Southwestern PA respects its veterans, all 214,000 of them – the second largest national population with no active military base. Checkpoint and The Crucible gained wide media coverage, including a feature in part of a Laurel Highlands documentary. Prominent veteran Pittsburghers that offered their support included Steeler’s legend Rocky Bleier, UPMC neurosurgeon Joseph Maroon, and Checkpoint founder and CEO, Jared Souder. Most importantly, southwestern PA’s military community learned about a local resource that honors their service and helps them transition to a new life.