Blue Star Families

About Blue Star Families

Blue Star Families is a national, nonprofit network by and for military families from all ranks and services, including the National Guard and Reserves.

Blue Star Families strengthens military families and our nation by connecting communities and fostering leadership. With its partners, Blue Star Families hosts a robust array of morale, empowerment, education and employment programs. Since its inception in 2009, Blue Star Families has engaged tens of thousands of volunteers and served more than a million military family members, including wounded and transitioning service members and their loved ones. Blue Star Families has also activated more than 26 million hours of community service to build leaders within and strength the military community, and to connect Americans with their military. Its worldwide membership includes military spouses, children, parents, and friends, as well as service members, veterans and civilians.

Blue Star Families works directly with the Department of Defense and senior members of local, State and Federal government to bring the most important military family issues to light. In concert with fellow nonprofits, community advocates, and public officials, Blue Star Families raises awareness of the challenges and strengths of military family life and works to make military life more sustainable. Blue Star Families is a four-star rated charity by Charity Navigator, with 94% of total donated revenue going directly to programs and services for military families.

 

Situation Analysis

Blue Star Families is the largest chapter-based military families support organization in the country. It has 50 chapters across the United States, Europe and Asia.

As a membership-based organization, the ability to evaluate the member population was critical. Additionally, insight into the location of members, volunteers, partners and donors played an important role in planning.  None of this was easy to accomplish.

If the staff needed to determine how many members were in a certain city, state or region – they created a report in Salesforce. At times, this meant filtering by individual zip codes, which they entered manually. The process was extremely labor intensive and often not accurate.

This inability to gain insight into their data also impacted marketing efforts. Regional events had to be promoted via email to members across the nation or the staff was forced to make guesses about which members to target. This impacted event participation and lessened the overall effectiveness of all their communication efforts.

 

Business Challenges MapAnything Solves

“MapAnything has literally changed the way we do business and how we reach our members. It is instrumental in helping get the resources we offer into the hands of military families. Every day I am so grateful for everything we can do because of MapAnything,” stated Kylee Durant, Technology Manager at Blue Star Families.

Here are some of the ways MapAnything is being used.

Insight into Membership

This used to be a time consuming task (that often fell to the bottom of the list due to other priorities).  MapAnything has given Blue Star Families instant visibility into their member base. They have been able to provide the information donors need to allocate additional resources and the insight has been used internally to make decisions on chapter expansion and event locations.

Targeted Communications

“Before MapAnything, we could not send out targeted communications.  Now, we get the right message in front of the right people. This has resulted in an increase in members taking advantage of the programs and resources we have to offer,” shared Megan Glynn, Director of Membership and Programs.

MapAnything also saves them time and makes outreach quick and easy. Blue Star Families recently marched in the New York City Veteran’s Day Parade. They used MapAnything’s proximity circle to identify members who lived within 30 miles of the city. Using the mass action function all applicable members were added to a Salesforce campaign and an email was sent inviting them to participate.

Connecting Corporate Donors with Military Families

“We used to have little success in promoting events. At times, it was literally a physical labor to connect free tickets provided by our donors with our members. Now, tickets are gone in hours and we often have waiting lists,” stated Megan Glynn.

Corporate partners know to go to the organization if they want to donate resources to military families. Blue Star Families gets the opportunity in front of the right members and ensures it is fully utilized.

 

Results

 

Aligning Families with Resources

Blue Star Families recently got free tickets to a Rockettes performance in Omaha, Nebraska. MapAnything was used to identify members within 25 miles of the Concert Hall via the proximity circle feature. The mass action function enabled hundreds of members to be added to the email marketing campaign with one click. Within five hours, the tickets were gone.

Driving Corporate Donations

Blue Star Families’ ability to connect corporate donations with military families has opened up more resources include additional fun events.

Recently, The Disney Company provided Blue Star Families with 300 tickets to a premiere movie in Los Angeles.  After Blue Star’s email went out – the tickets were gone within a few hours and a waiting list was started. Blue Star was able to provide Disney with details on the strength of its member base around Los Angeles and this information was instrumental in Disney’s decision to plan future events for military families.

Strategic Planning

Blue Star Families uses MapAnything as a platform for strategic planning. It has been instrumental in helping the organization make decisions about where to start new chapters, how to evaluate membership growth and effectively align resources with members.

“Before we move forward in any capacity, we check our membership base in MapAnything and this enables us to make an educated decision. We can clearly define member growth expectations for Chapter Directors and establish benchmarks,” shared Kylee Durant.