• George W. Bush Institute's

    Nonprofit Guide for Post-9/11 Veterans

  • Upon separation from service, many veterans feel a sense of disconnection, loss of identity and loss of purpose. Veterans may feel alienated from society, sensing neighbors do not understand them or their military experience. While many nonprofit organizations aspire to connect the veterans they serve to their surrounding community through participation and involvement, several operate with the express mission of returning a sense of communal purpose.

How to navigate Community services


Many veterans wish to continue giving back to their community once they have departed from the service, so they seek organizations that afford them opportunities to volunteer. A new category of organizations has recently emerged which creates teams of volunteers comprised of veterans designed to restore the veterans’ sense of mission and of belonging to a team.

Questions To Ask When Selecting Your Nonprofit

  • What is the overall goal of your organization?
  • Does your organization partner with other organizations to help introduce me to non-veterans, or should I expect to be working solely in teams of veterans?
  • Are there opportunities to volunteer outside of my community, such as trips?
  • Does this volunteerism enhance a particular vocational skill set? If so, can I earn any sort of certifications or credentials for the volunteer work that I do with your organization related to a vocational skill I may learn?
  • How often, how long or how short could I volunteer for?
  • If I am selected for a fellowship with your organization, is there a financial stipend associated with this fellowship?
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Community Integration

Veterans often feel a desire to be more integrated within their community. While some organizations provide opportunities to be on teams solely comprised of veterans, others provide opportunities to be on teams mixed with non-veterans in the community to help bridge the civilian-military divide.

Questions To Ask When Selecting Your Nonprofit

  • How do you work to bridge the civilian-military divide?
  • What kinds of opportunities do you provide for veterans and non-veterans to collaborate or work alongside one another to better foster understanding between the two groups?
  • What kinds of forums do you provide to help veterans tell their story — either to each other or to the general public?
  • How do you spread the word to veterans about the services you provide, and how do you go about educating the public about the programming you provide to veterans?
  • Can you describe your partnership with other facilities/organizations in the area?
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Family Members

Veterans with family members have a host of additional concerns when transitioning to civilian life. In addition to carrying a higher financial burden, they must also find good schools for their children and adequate employment for their spouses. Successful organizations find ways to incorporate families into their programming, provide tailored support to accommodate the unique needs of families.

Questions To Ask When Selecting Your Nonprofit

  • What accommodations do you make for those in your service population who have family members?
  • Are family members eligible for services at your organization?
  • What services and resources do you provide for family members (i.e. age appropriate services & activities)?
  • Do you have staff members trained in family counseling and health/wellness?
  • Do you provide childcare services on site? If not, do you provide vouchers so that I can seek childcare services elsewhere?
  • How are family members integrated into services provided to the veteran? Are they allowed to participate alongside the veteran?
  • What other services and resources do you provide for family members?
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