Having the vision of how you want your Veteran community to be in the future is an essential part of making an impact for people you care about. Even more challenging are the mechanics of driving your vision forward, which can be difficult for any community leader or organization.

The VA Community Playbook is a resource to help community leaders and Veteran serving organizations to intensify their impact and outcomes for Veterans, families, caregivers and survivors, and work with VA. The community playbook offers tools for organizations of any size, whether you are just starting out or well-established. Because solving complex issues often cannot be done alone, it requires combining efforts to develop partnerships and resources that complement one another.

illustration of three people surrounded by homes and trees., representing communityAccelerating collaboration between private, public and government organizations is crucial to fill the gaps across social, economic, health, education and community areas of life, also known as social determinants of health, to better serve Veterans, service members, their families, caregivers and survivors. 

Developed with community organizations, the community playbook is a collection of practices for building effective and sustainable community coalitions with VA and other federal, state and county services, including academia, community stakeholders and service providers.

Each section of the community playbook contains a variety of choices to connect, serve and engage the Veteran community. Key themes include:

  • Building your community; understanding and then engaging those around you to foster connection toward common goals
  • Expanding collaboration; identifying potential partners and then working together to strengthen your efforts
  • Amplifying and sustaining your impact; increasing your capabilities, reach and innovation in a way that maintains and grows your organization.   

How can this help my organization?  

The community playbook offers a roadmap to strengthen your efforts. There are tools and tips for obtaining funds, increasing participation, improving communication strategies, establishing agreements with VA, and creating collaborative events for your community. Each strategy is accompanied by a time estimate for putting them into action that is customizable with no one-size-fits-all model, so you can make the best decision on where to place your efforts.  

If you are looking for funding to better serve your community, there are tips on how to find grants and locate foundations. If you want to develop governmental partnerships, you can discover which type of agreement may be the best for your organization. If you are just looking for proven examples of established community-building practices, the community playbook has them. From beginners looking for templates to those more advanced trying to identify the right data-driven approach to use, the community playbook provides a range of information to meet the needs of those serving their community. Offering these tools and strategies to Veteran leaders and Veteran serving organizations helps them to move forward and meet their objectives. 

To get started, download the VA Community Playbook. Join the VetResources Community Network (VRCN)  to gain access to a Community of Practice with tools, connections, promising practices and advice to help you be successful in the Veteran community.  

Register to request a consult with VA’s Veterans Experience Office, and then join the VRCN Community of Practice (CoP).    

Resources 

  • Contact VA today! 1-800-MyVA411 is a national, toll-free number that serves as a “front door” to VA for all Veterans and their families, caregivers and survivors.
  • If you or a Veteran you know is in crisis, contact the Veterans Crisis Line, available 24/7. Call 988 and press 1, text to 838255 or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat. 
  • Innovate with VA today! Pathfinder

By John Boerstler

Chief Veterans Experience Officer

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Published on Oct. 19, 2022

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