Vet Tix Gives Back Edgy Graphics Help Reach National AudienceDecember 22, 2016
Every day, our military risk their lives to protect and serve our country. They put their nation first and their own lives second, but most importantly, they are heroes we should be honoring – every day.
Veterans make up seven percent of the American population, and each carries the burdens of stress, sacrifice, and time away from loved ones, all to give back to us. When these men and women come home, they receive limited access to resources that are vital to their reintegration into society. Memorable events, like a concert or a football game, cost too much, thus limiting many activities for the average military and veteran family.
Tempe-based Veteran Tickets Foundation (Vet Tix) was founded so that these events could be used to honor our heroes, as well as become more accessible to those who have served. Thanks to its 12-member team, Vet Tix has partnered with many major sports teams, leagues, promoters, organizations, venues, and ticket holders to provide free and discounted tickets to currently serving military, honorably discharged veterans, and families of those killed in action.
“These traditional American events provide essential re-integration processes, as well as family-bonding experiences,” stated Michael Focareto III, CEO of Vet Tix, whose innovative ideas have changed so many American lives. “Our goal is to create as many as possible, because 79 percent of our Vet Tixers find it very hard to afford these simple pleasures.”
Focareto served for five years in the U.S. Navy and comes from a military family. Many of the Foundation’s employees and directors are veterans too, and now see it as a privilege to give to others who have served while encouraging the rest of the nation to express and contribute gratitude to these amazing men and women.
Edward Rausch, Vet Tix COO, was featured in an article that appeared on Forbes.com. When asked why the organization was created, Rausch spoke of Focareto at a Super Bowl game. During this iconic American event, the color guard was honored, but then asked to leave the stadium directly after. Focareto then noticed that the two seats next to him were empty for the entire duration of the game.
After this troubling incident, Focareto brought his concept (acquiring tickets to give to any currently serving service member or veteran and their loved ones) to the attention of his friends and family. Focareto wanted to create an organization that would stand for unquestioned loyalty and patriotism, honor, and support for the men and women who have served our country.
“Our IT systems allow us to receive electronic tickets with only a few days’ notice and share them with Vet Tixers interested in going to an event,” Rausch explained. “In May 2016, Vet Tix, which now has 420,000-plus Vet Tixers, announced that it has delivered over 2 million tickets to military families since 2008.” The Foundation’s award-winning program (ranked first by Greater Nonprofits) has filled empty seats at events, honored and recognized the service of the troops today, and given memories that last a lifetime.
“We are overwhelmed by the generosity of so many ticket donors, as well as the supporters who have been paramount to our tremendous growth to over 560,000 tickets last year alone,” Focareto said. “Our 2-million ticket milestone could have been a family attending a circus event, a date night at a Kenny Chesney concert, or four buddies at an Arizona Diamondbacks game.”
Rausch added, “We are honored by the support of all our Arizona-based pro and college teams, PIR, AZSTA, and show producers like those at Gammage, with whom we collaborate on Thanksgiving and Date Night events. Live Nation, the global leader for live entertainment, is our largest donor of tickets for concerts and family programs. We also recently teamed up with another military nonprofit and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band KISS for their U.S. tour. The band is hiring a military vet to be ‘roadie for the day’ at each city it visits. It’s that type of clever thinking that makes our efforts so fulfilling.”
Rausch said creative nonprofit marketing doesn’t end at partnerships. “Vet Tix was featured in that Forbes article because the writer was stopped in his tracks when he saw our graphics at a seminar. Tempe-based Spark Design created the edgy, memorable graphics, which show military garb and equipment, such as guns and grenades.
“These images have since been shared on every marketing program. Our blue military person is becoming an iconic symbol used in all of our marketing materials, including our website, posters, social media, and public service announcement (PSA) ads. When people see it, they know it’s our brand. In addition, we have other poster art representing concerts, football, hockey, basketball, racing, and baseball, which are also catching everyone’s eyes and being used strategically in their respective markets, including point of purchase displays and trade shows.”
Mike continued, “Marketing is vital, but through huge support and word of mouth, this Foundation has grown exponentially, by approximately 500 people a day. Social media, led by Facebook, has also worked well. The engagement of our Vet Tixers is incredible, as the Foundation has received over 115,000 testimonials with a thank you to the donors.”
One Army vet, Joel DeLand, sums up the Foundation’s efforts well: “Many veterans face financial challenges while making the transition from military to civilian life. As such, many events that would interest veterans may be cost-prohibitive. The Veteran Tickets Foundation allows veterans to enjoy events with their friends and family that they otherwise would not be able to attend.”
But it doesn’t stop there. DeLand sees much more value in the experiences Vet Tix provides. “There are many veterans who have long-lasting psychological effects from their time in service,” he said. “In many cases, this leads to anti-social behavior and depression, caused in part because the veterans isolate themselves from others [when they return home]. I know this all too well because this is something I deal with. I have used tickets provided from Vet Tix to go to events locally with both friends and a couple of people that I served with.
“While this may seem insignificant to some, trust me when I say that this can be invaluable for a veteran who is struggling with their transition to civilian life and beyond.”
What can you do?
Watch our 90-second PSA to hear directly from Vet Tix families.
Learn more about Vet Tix and donate.