Home of the Brave: Site Coordinator Handbook
Welcome Site Coordinators!
Thank you for participating in the Soldiers’ Angels Home of the Brave Program!
Before you begin your journey as a Site Coordinator, please take the time to review all the information provided in the tabs below carefully. This valuable content will not only shed light on your duties and responsibilities but also offer helpful guidelines for planning and executing a successful Home of the Brave event.
What are Site Coordinators?
Site Coordinators (SCs) are the super volunteers who register to be the main point of contact between the Center for Development & Civic Engagement (CDCE) at a VA site, the Soldiers’ Angels (SA) representatives (where present), and the Home of the Brave campaign.
Site coordinators are key to the success of this Veterans Day campaign and letting Veterans know we remember and appreciate their sacrifices.
What are the responsibilities of the Site Coordinators?
Site Coordinators are the primary organizers of a Home of the Brave event at a specific location. While there may be additional responsibilities beyond what is covered below, these are the general items every Site Coordinator will be responsible for:
- Coordinate with CDCE point of contact & SA point of contact (where present) to plan a Veterans Day celebration at a VA Medical Center
- Attend Home of the Brave meetings for Site Coordinators
- Respond to communications
- Submit an Event Detail Form listing specific details about the event
- Help CDCE and SA reps decide how to spend the allotted budget (Veteran shirts, caps, food, prizes)
- Potentially lead a fundraising activity for items not covered in the budget or execute a “drive” for needed items
- Potentially create a volunteer activity outside the VA if volunteers are not allowed in the facility
- Coordinate volunteers and in some cases recruit volunteers
- Complete and submit an after-action report and photos detailing the celebration, volunteers, volunteer hours, and lessons learned
How much time will I need to commit as a Site Coordinator?
We know your time is precious and we are so grateful for all that our volunteers do! While we cannot provide an exact time commitment, we can give you an estimate based on the average from past Site Coordinators.
July through October | 15 hours
The months leading up to Veterans Day require a smaller time commitment for planning and preparing. Estimated time commitment: 15 hours spread throughout those 4 months.
November | 8-10 hours
All events are held on or near Veterans Day, which means this will be your largest commitment of time. Estimated time commitment: 8-10 hours.
Campaign Overview and History
Soldiers’ Angels Home of the Brave is a campaign that works directly with Center for Development & Civic Engagement (CDCE) and corporate partners to provide employees and employers the opportunity to show their gratitude for Veterans on or around Veterans Day.
The campaign began in 2012 as a corporate social responsibility activity for the employees of Hewlett Packard. The activity provided much-needed items to Veterans at VA facilities and to the homeless Veteran population with the mission to thank those we owe for our freedom. Since then, the program has evolved into an annual campaign that allows hundreds of employees from some of the country’s largest corporations to participate and show their gratitude.
“The willingness of America’s Veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude.”– Jeff Miller
About Soldiers’ Angels
Soldiers’ Angels has a 96.5% Efficiency Rating and has become one of the highest-rated nonprofits in the country. Awards include: GuideStar Platinum Participant; 2023 Top-Rated Nonprofit from GreatNonprofits; Four Star Charity from Charity Navigator; and meets all 20 Standards for Accountability from the Better
The mission of Soldiers’ Angels is to provide aid, comfort, and resources to the Military, Veterans, and their families.
The vision of Soldiers’ Angels is for military, wounded military, Veterans, and their families to have access to needed community resources and support.
The Values of Soldiers’ Angels: Compassion, Dedication, Effectiveness, Efficiency, Collaborative, Credibility, Responsiveness.
“May No Soldier Go Unloved” encapsulates the motivation behind Soldiers’ Angels. The volunteers of Soldiers’ Angels work tirelessly to support our nation’s Veterans, wounded heroes, deployed Service Members, and their families.
Communications kit including site posters, flyers, letterhead, and banners will be available to Site Coordinators
(SC). More information is available on the SC portal. The password will be given to all SCs. The overview slides,
Impact Report, and other materials will also be posted to the portal.
To contact the Home of the Brave, reach out to the campaign director, Katie Bowen.
CDCE Points of Contact
The Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Development & Civic Engagement (CDCE) was, “founded in 1946 to provide for our nation’s Veterans while they are cared for by VA health care facilities” (Learn more here). CDCE coordinates everything from (community assistance) volunteers, programs, and events to (contributions) gifts and donations in support of our Veterans.
Chiefs of CDCE, CDCE Coordinators, and Specialists are our primary points of contact at the VA medical facilities for Home of the Brave events. For sites where a Site Coordinator is identified and registered, CDCE points of contact (POCs) are provided the opportunity to register their facility for this year’s Home of the Brave campaign. The information they submit consists of their contact information, contact information for a backup, as well as the basic information for their facility such as number of beds. You can access the information submitted by the CDCE POC for your location on the SC portal.
To learn more about CDCE, please visit: www.volunteer.va.gov.
Contacting Your CDCE
The site coordinator is responsible for collaborating with the local CDCE leader to organize and plan their
event, but first, contact your local SA representative (where present). In cases where there is more than one
site coordinator, it is important the coordinators assign a CDCE Single Point of Contact (SPOC).
- Contact the Soldiers’ Angels Representative (where present)
- Contact the CDCE Point of Contact
- Determine the date for the Veterans Day celebration
- Find out what the current COVID-19 restrictions are and if they believe restrictions will be lifted before
- Each site will be assigned a budget to be spent on t-shirts, caps, food, prizes, etc.
- In the initial meeting, introduce yourself. Let them know if you have been a site coordinator in the past
- Complete the shirt, cap order form available in the portal
- Confirm the best way to stay in touch and a cadence for communication
- Confirm the back-up contact information and division of responsibilities
Key information to confirm and review with the CDCE POC:
- Complete the Event Form
- Date, time and location of the HOB event(s)
- Type of event
- Has this event been done before?
- What role will HOB volunteers play?
- How many volunteers are needed?
- What time should volunteers report and where?
- Will there be any other volunteers participating that are not with Home of the Brave?
- Is there a maximum # of volunteers?
- Are there any restrictions, i.e., minimum age for volunteers?
Coordinating Home of the Brave Site Events
Site Coordinators collaborate with the CDCE to plan and manage Veterans Day celebrations. Events are
generally held the first two weeks in November. Keep in mind the t-shirts, caps, banners, thank you cards,
and other items ordered for your site may not arrive before October 29, 2023.
Events vary by location. Past site activities include:
- Donation Drives
- Football Watch Parties
- Patient Luncheons
- Baby Showers
- Patient Visits
Traditionally, Home of the Brave has provided t-shirts or caps and thank you cards for all Veterans at the
facility based on the bed count. Soldiers’ Angels will assign a budget for each site to be used on shirts,
caps, food, and/or prizes. Items for Veterans are sent directly to the CDCE and/or the Soldiers’ Angels office
What if there is more than one Veterans Day event at the site I support?
- Dependent upon volunteer availability, HOB has supported more than one event for each site.
- An example may include patient visits and supporting a ceremony.
- It is important to capture logistics and what is needed for each event so that it can be shared with
employees at our partner companies.
Do I recruit Volunteers?
- Home of the Brave Campaign partners will advertise for volunteers within companies
- Volunteers register on the HOB site
- The first shipment of volunteer shirts will be received by 29 October
- Volunteers need to register by the deadline to be guaranteed a shirt – we will try to send an additional
shipment to cover those who register late but no guarantees as shirts are ordered in advance
Catering – Food
- If your event includes food, please ensure you understand the dietary restrictions of the patients. Check with the CDCE
- Before going to a local vendor for food donations, reach out to Amy Palmer.
What to do if you receive no or little response from your CDCE POC
We recommend a recurring meeting with each CDCE POC and Soldiers’ Angels representatives (where
present). It also helps to add calendar reminders for key deliverables.
If you are unable to reach your POC, please let Katie Bowen know and she will collaborate with you to reach
your CDCE lead.
Home of the Brave Site Coordinators manage the volunteers for their CDCE location.
- Email calendar invite to volunteers and include details for the volunteer activity.
- Set up a logistics meeting with volunteers before the event.
- Review volunteer activities and where help is needed.
- Delegate who is doing what
- Send directions and parking information to volunteers
- Have a meeting spot pre-determined
- Provide guidance on do’s and don’ts for patient visits this may include what to say, what to
wear, what rooms you can go into and which you can’t, the age requirement of volunteers,
and facility restrictions
Each VA facility has regulations about volunteers. Always check with your point of contact (POC) at the facility
on the criteria that their volunteers must meet. If you are a returning Site Coordinator and are working with the
same point of contact that you have in previous years, it is still a good idea to request the volunteer criteria for
their facility, as this can change from year-to-year based on situations and circumstances.
Preparing for Volunteers
The Home of the Brave committee will support you in preparing for and managing your volunteers. On or around August 9, the Home of the Brave committee will release to all employees and our partner companies a communication directing volunteers to register on the website beginning October 1st.
It is also recommended that after the announcement is sent, the Site Coordinator sends out volunteer requests
to peers at their work location to generate more local support.
Volunteers will have the opportunity to sign up for their local Home of the Brave event(s) on October 1st via the
Volunteer Sign-Up button option and corresponding form on the Home of the Brave website. We need all
volunteers – even friends and family – to register. A spreadsheet of registered volunteers will be posted to the SC portal 2-3 times a week.
Meeting Your Volunteer Numbers or Quota
Your POCs at the VA Medical Center will provide you with a maximum number or number range for how
many volunteers they would like to support their event. In some instances, CDCE POCs will request only 1-2
volunteers, while in others, will request 50+. The number of volunteers needed by a medical facility in support
of their Veterans Day-related event will vary based on the type of event, the facility, and the type and number
of Veterans attending or participating in the event.
If there are a number of volunteers registered and your numbers are full, see if it is possible to accommodate
more people such as creating more than one shift of volunteers or planning an additional opportunity.
Once you have met your volunteer numbers or quota, please inform Katie. She will then reach out to our
webmaster who will remove your location from the volunteer sign-up form. Our webmaster will also place
verbiage on your Event Site Detail webpage notifying prospective volunteers that volunteer numbers for your
event have been met.
In some locations, meeting your volunteer numbers can prove to be difficult. While priority for volunteer spots
goes to sponsor company employees and Soldiers’ Angels volunteers, family members, and members of your
community may be considered for volunteer spots, only if you are unable to meet your volunteer numbers.
If you need to supplement your volunteer numbers with family members and members of your community,
please let us know in advance of that recruitment and ensure that all volunteers fill out the volunteer sign-up
form. Additionally, ensure that these individuals meet the volunteer criteria defined by your VA.
Communicating with Your Volunteers
The Home of the Brave committee asks that Site Coordinators determine the best frequency and manner in
which to communicate with their volunteers based on their judgment and the type of activity the volunteers
are expected to support. However, the Home of the Brave committee expects Site Coordinators provide
their volunteers with, at minimum, the following information:
Specific details related to their event and how they’re expected to support, including:
- Event date and time
- Event location
- Volunteer meeting date and time
- Volunteer meeting location
- Detailed description of the activities they are tasked with performing or supporting
- The attire specified for the event
- The specific time the volunteers are expected to support (i.e. some events may last all day, which can allow volunteers to support the event in shifts.)
We will provide Home of the Brave t-shirts for volunteers who support the Veterans Day-related event at your
VA medical facility – only guaranteed if they meet the deadline for registration. We will collect volunteer T-shirt
sizes from the data the volunteers provided in the volunteer sign-up form. Volunteer shirts are sent to each SC
for distribution. Extra shirts should be donated back to the VA. Home of the Brave caps can be purchased on
the Soldiers’ Angels store online.
Capturing Volunteer Feedback and Hours
Capturing volunteer feedback/stories and photos, as well as the names of volunteers and hours spent
supporting and participating in the Home of the Brave campaign provides us with the information we need
to develop the business case for continuing the program.
Immediately following your event or as soon as possible, please complete a post-event form. We will let you
know where to post all the details after your event. A total listing of volunteers, volunteer hours, and items
post-event donated to your VA will be sent to the VA to be recorded under Home of the Brave.
Send a Thank You
To help Home of the Brave show appreciation to individual volunteers, we ask that Site Coordinators send an email to all those that volunteered at your event on behalf of the campaign. We will provide a template on the SC portal.
Donations are a great way to thank and honor our Veterans and support our VA Medical Centers.
- Local fundraising and community support
- We encourage our Site Coordinators and volunteers to engage their employee base and local communities in supporting Veterans through Soldiers’ Angels and the Home of the Brave Campaign. Donations to Soldiers’ Angels are tax deductible and can be made directly from the Home of the Brave website or deposited at your local Wells Fargo branch. Site Coordinators should connect with Amy Palmer to discuss plans to solicit IN ADVANCE of that solicitation taking place. Please ensure we know in advance when soliciting national companies or local offices of national companies.
- Do a Drive
- Each VA medical facility has a needs list prepared by CDCE. (i.e. hygiene items, undergarments,
robes, sweatshirt, and pants)
- Your CDCE point of contact can provide you with the needs list
- Please ensure that you provide the list of items donated during the drive to Home of the Brave
including the item, quantity, and estimated value
- Each VA medical facility has a needs list prepared by CDCE. (i.e. hygiene items, undergarments,
- Company gift match
- Ensure Soldiers’ Angels is listed on your company donation gift match and volunteer hours match program
- In most cases, companies with these programs double monetary gifts and give funds for the number of hours donated to nonprofit organizations
Depending on the Veterans Day celebration chosen for your site, you may need to do some local fundraising or reach out to vendors for support. In the past, SCs have raised funds by recycling, putting out jars for donations, selling pizza lunches, etc. They have asked local restaurants to donate food and NFL teams to donate prizes. FIRST– reach out to Amy Palmer in advance to let her know what you are looking for before soliciting. SA can provide gift cards to Veterans Canteen Service and national chains like Walmart. While we want you to be able to fundraise, we want to ensure it does not compete or conflict with any other Soldiers’ Angels fundraising activities.
Please send any questions you have regarding Home of the Brave to Katie Bowen at [email protected].
- CDCE – Center for Development & Civic Engagement
- HOB – Home of the Brave
- POC – Point of Contact
- SA – Soldiers’ Angels
- SC – Site Coordinator
- SPOC – Single Point of Contact
Connect with Soldiers’ Angels!