Meet the community manager: Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America’s Paul Rieckhoff

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The difficulty experienced by soldiers coming home to the US from active military duty in Iraq or Afghanistan is well documented. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), founded by Paul Rieckhoff, was established to help the soldiers return to a normal life at home after serving abroad.

IAVA’s story is a remarkable example of how community can literally save lives. “Sometimes a veteran’s priority is finding a job; sometimes it’s just about feeling a sense of normalcy… Connecting vets with one another to rebuild a sense of community and security can literally make the difference between life and death.”

To build that sense of community, IAVA built an online space on the Salesforce Community Cloud called Rucksack — in just six weeks, mind you — to help connect Iraq and Afghanistan vets with each other, provide support in the way of suits for interviews, educational opportunities, and tickets to sporting events and concerts.

Beyond engaging its existing members — and adding an additional 38,000 — Rieckhoff credits Salesforce for automating business processes and providing better data about its members. “The goal is to create a completely unified user experience that aggregates all of our digital products,” he says. “We want to make it easy for vets to access our tools and each other for resources and support.”

Ben Martin

Founder of Online Community Results and CMAD 2017 organizer. Favorite community management team: Airbnb.
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