May is National Military Appreciation Month, a perfect time to look for opportunities within and outside of your company or organization to show gratitude for those currently serving or those that have already served. Following are seven ways to say ‘thank you’ to our military community and support veteran-owned businesses:
1. If You Don’t Already, Offer a Military Discount — One of the best ways to say thank you as a business to all those that currently and have served (and their families) is to offer a military discount. These discounts or offers don’t need to be complicated; anything from a simple percent off all purchases or a special day of the week offer (think “Military Mondays”) where you provide an added service or discount work well. This is especially useful if you operate a business that may see a lot of military clients, such as a cleaners, barber shop, cleaning service, movers, etc.
2. Volunteer For a Veterans Cause or Event — Rally the team and your employees to support a veterans program or special event. Contact your local Veterans Affairs (VA) office to determine which services or organizations in your market could use local volunteers. Many major markets also have either Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) or United Service Organizations (USO) chapters that frequently hold events. Stepping up to staff a pancake breakfast or an aid station during a charity walk is a great way to not only support a wonderful cause but also can serve as a fun team building activity.
3. Send Care Packages or Letters — Encourage your employees to participate in a letter or package mailing program frequently hosted by groups such as the USO. It takes little to no time to write a quick card or have everyone contribute a small amount to create care packages for troops stationed overseas. If your business provides a product that could be useful for a service member overseas (think of personal care items, comfort items or treats), consider creating an ongoing program where a percent of merchandise is donated each quarter or year to a care package program. This concept can even be helpful when you have potentially out-of-season merchandise or overstocks that can no longer be sold — Put them to good use and donate to a care package.
4. Use Your Social Media Channels — Your Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or Twitter feeds are all wonderful ways to say thank you to our military community without spending any additional budget! Allocate at least one post a week during May to highlight some part of why or how your business is thankful for the troops and their families. Using social media throughout the month to promote any military discounts or programs is another good opportunity to tie back into Military Appreciation Month.
5. Make a Point to Support Veteran-Owned Businesses — In both your personal and professional settings, there are multiple ways to support veteran-owned businesses. Pay attention to social media profiles and web sites that designate a business as veteran-owned. A simple Google search for “veteran-owned businesses in XX (fill in your town here)” will provide a number of places to start. Select and recommend vendors that fall into this category and consider cross-promoting or co-op advertising together with a local veteran-owned business.
6. Enroll in and Support Transition Organizations and Programs — There are countless transitional service programs across all branches of the military that assist those leaving a military career and joining the civilian workforce. Whether someone is a 20+ year veteran and retiring with full benefits or is coming out of a shorter stay or medical discharge, the switch into a civilian career can be quite stressful. Numerous programs are available across the country on both national and local levels that assist service members with that transition — and they are always looking for companies that are interested in working with former military members and their spouses. Get more information on and consider signing up for any of the programs available.
A great first step is your local VA and their Transition Assistance Program (TAP); Easterseals offers a Military & Veterans Services division specifically designed to help reintegrate military members into civilian jobs; Workforce Opportunity Services works with companies in diverse industries and may have a need for more companies in your service sector!
7. Fly the Flag the Right Way! — Whether your business has an American flag on display every day or just certain times of the year, one specific way to show your support and respect for the military is to ensure you are correctly displaying the flag. Visit https://www.usa.gov/flag for a handy official set of guidelines and also a list of recommended days to fly the flag if you are not displaying it every day.