Salsa Case Study: Protect Our Defenders Goes From 0 to 20,000 Supporters in Less Than a Year With Salsa
Building a Chorusof Voices“It is not right to recruit our young peopleinto the military and then not only have thembrutalized, but retaliated against when they reporttheir crimes of rape or sexual assault,” said NancyParrish, founder, Protect Our Defenders. “Ourservice men and women deserve better. We needto live up to our ideals as Americans and once wefix this, our country will be better and we will bemore secure for it. This is why I founded ProtectOur Defenders.”Recognized nationally, Protect Our Defendersleads the effort to reform the U.S. Military’ssystem for handling rape and sexual assault.Since its inception in March 2011, they havecaptured seven survivor’s stories on video, andmore than 20,000 supporters have joined theircause. The nonprofit has built a website thatprovides survivors a platform to share theirstories, a support services network, a resourcelibrary and a forum to connect with each other,all to ﬁnd help.For generations young service men and women have traveled to dangerousparts of the world to protect our freedom. We collectively as Americans and asindividuals owe them, especially those that have been victimized by our own.Thirty percent of active women in the military today are sexually assaulted.There are more than 500,000 veterans who are survivors of mostly unpunishedsexual violence.http://email@example.com/protectourdefenders@ProtectRDfndersProtect Our Defenders
ChallengeA Community of 100,000 Supporters by Year-EndUsing video testimonials and Salsa’s organizingplatform, Protect Our Defenders has grown fromNancy’s initial idea and a handful of supporters toa solid organization that is positioned to drive acultural change in the way the military handles itssexual abuse claims.With the support from CongresswomanJackie Speier (D-CA), who began to share victims’survivor stories on the House Floor, Protect OurDefenders is getting attention. CongresswomanSpeier introduced a new bill to Congress onNovember 16, 2011 titled the Sexual AssaultTraining Oversight and Protection Act (STOP Act)in order to present a better model to address themany reports of sexual assault in the militarythat do not reach prosecution and the many moreincidents of military sexual assault which are notreported at all. With 18 speeches on militarysexual violence given on the House Floor, theCongresswoman has played a critical rolebringing visibility to this issue.To build a strong chorus of voicesfor change, the nonprofit has anaggressive goal to reach 100,000supporters by year-end. That’s afive-fold increase over the number theyhave today. Impressive, consideringthey’ve only been operating for a littlemore than 12 months.To reach their goal, Nancy and her team atProtect Our Defenders have used a variety ofonline technologies to generate a greaterawareness of their cause. Besides leveragingvideo and social media sites like YouTube,Facebook and Twitter, Salsa’s fundraising,communications and advocacy solutions playa critical role in the success of ProtectOur Defenders.
Protect Our Defenders has created anorganization based on connecting people. Theylink survivors to other survivors to provide peersupport. They provide a support service networkonline, and they have a team of volunteers andstaff who are all reaching out to survivors on alocal level.Salsa’s email and reporting features enable ProtectOur Defenders to reach out, build targeted listsand track the performance of their campaigns. Thenonprofit uses the Salsa platform to send weeklyemails asking supporters to sign a petition or takean action.Social media is also a big part of the nonprofit’soutreach plan, using Salsa’s social mediaintegration. Nancy adds, “It’s 90 percent of whatwe do. We are blogging through our social justiceorganizations, rape coalition organizations as wellas veterans’ organizations. And, our Facebookpage is very active and has close to 2,500likes already.”Protect Our Defenders has built a team withsurvivors that want to actively make a difference inchanging and helping others. They want tohelp prevent this from happening more in thefuture. As part of this grass roots effort, thesesurvivors have shown the courage to tell theirstories through video testimonials, which areshared through social media.As a nonprofit partner with YouTube, Protect OurSolutionReaching Out With the Right Mix of Online ToolsDefenders recently won the DoGooder Award.Thanks to DoGooder and all of its supporters, thenonprofit’s YouTube page is up to 140,000-plusviews – more than double where it was beforewinning the video award.Like any nonprofit, Protect Our Defenders is relianton donations. The organization started with ahandful of people who gave their time or servicesto help raise awareness– but to grow and continueto provide support to survivors, they needed more.Because Salsa’s online fundraising and donormanagement integrate with its communicationsand advocacy products, every interaction with asupporter can be turned into an opportunity tomake a donation.Effective use of Salsa’s platform, combined with anactive social media outreach effort has providedProtect Our Defenders with a stronger voice froma chorus of supporters that won’t be dismissed.It takes a while for the survivor community, as well as the public, to learnabout our organization and that is why for us, using Salsa has been sohelpful. It helps us spread the word.– Nancy Parrish, President, Protect Our Defenders
salsalabs.com 866-796-8345 facebook.com/salsalabs @salsalabsResultsTerri’s Petition - Stop ActIn the military, the command structure is thecomplete system. They are the investigators, thejudge and the jury. If sexual assault happens ontheir watch, they often don’t want to report it upthe chain. Instead they want it to go awaybecause it would be damaging to their own career.Recently the Pentagon reported a 58.5 percentincrease in sexual assaults at its serviceacademies in the last year. The Department ofDefense only reports 13 percent of victims whoreport their crimes. The military rarely prosecutesrape or sexual assault within its ranks and victimsseldom get the medical care they need or thejustice they deserve.“The Department of Defense must take theprosecution, reporting, oversight, investigation,and care for victims of sexual assault out of thehands of the normal chain of command and placethe jurisdiction in the hands of an impartial officestaffed by military and civilian experts,” saidNancy. “This can be fixed. It doesn’t needlegislation, but that is what it may take. We needour supporters to sign Terri’s petition and putpressure on congress to pass the STOP Act.”Utilizing all the fundraising, communications andadvocacy solutions on Salsa’s platform, ProtectOur Defenders continues to build support aroundTerri’s petition. Currently they have more than15,000 signatures – supporters that havelogged on, signed the petition and as a result,personalized emails have been delivered to theinboxes of the appropriate congressman. And,people who sign those petitions makecontributions to ensure Protect Our Defenderscan continue its mission.Since it was introduced in November, there aremore than 120 co-sponsors of the STOP Act.Nancy adds that they are very happy with theprogress. Typically there are 30-40 sponsors of abill. She said, “It doesn’t take an act of Congress.What it takes are voices coming together to builda loud enough chorus for change.”Salsa helps nonprofits and political campaigns ignite action and fuel changearound the world by growing and engaging a base of support online. Salsaprovides more than technology; it offers strategic best practices, training,highly rated support and a strong online community, so its clients can focustheir energy on their mission.