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Special Project

Special Project
From the 14th Annual Shorty Awards

VFW #StillServing

Audience Honor in Non-Profit


The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is a nonprofit veterans service organization with a membership comprised of eligible veterans and military service members. The #StillServing Campaign was developed as a means to:

Strategy and Execution

It’s no secret that veterans’ organizations like the VFW often have the reputation as smoky watering holes with old veterans sharing war stories. Yet, the truth is far from that. In fact, VFW members alone contribute some 3.3 million volunteer hours each year. As a whole, U.S. veterans are 1.5 times more likely to work in public service or charitable organizations and volunteer 25 percent more hours per year.

This campaign was launched to set the record straight and change the narrative being told about veterans. To achieve this, the #StillServing campaign encouraged veterans and service members to share stories about how they continue to serve within their communities. Our initial goal was simply awareness (impressions). As the campaign evolved, we sought more engagement. In 2021, our focus shifted to eliciting more active levels of engagement: sharing a personal story, requesting a decal or face mask and sharing web content on social media and joining the email list.

Along the way, we adapted to changing situations and opportunities. Right after campaign launch, COVID hit. Fortunately, we were able to shift and spotlight myriad veterans who were helping with community COVID efforts.

Another shift included adding a mini campaign focused on how veterans’ dogs help them continue to serve. It was especially timely during September’s service dog awareness month.

Since the campaign launched, more than 1.8 million people have engaged with it (web visits and video views as well social clicks, likes, shares and comments). The campaign is viewed as an enormous success, serving as a rally cry among existing VFW members and drawing attention from communities, the media and other veterans who want to get involved.


Since the launch of the campaign, #StillServing has earned more than 54 million cumulative impressions. More than 1,000 veterans have shared their personal story of how they are still serving and nearly 30,000 #StillServing decals have been distributed. The team was able to leverage the #StillServing veterans’ stories to garner earned media that helped change the conversation around VFW. In 2021 alone, this included 157 placements across local, regional and national media markets featuring 90 diverse veteran voices, more than half who were Gulf War-era or younger. With more than 4.22 million media impressions, this coverage represents a significant additional media value to the VFW. In 2021, the average monthly spend on digital advertising was nearly 70% less than the average monthly level of the 2020 launch year. In spite of this, the average number of actions per month increased 46%, while the cost per action fell more than 70%. 

Numbers alone don’t tell the whole story. Veterans themselves have responded enthusiastically through in-depth focus groups. One such comment:

I liked it showing veterans of all ages and sizes and backgrounds being active and helping. It appeared totally un-staged to me. You can tell they are real people doing real things. It gave a real positive message about helping in the communities in many different ways, and they looked like they were sincere and enjoying what they were doing. Good stuff.


Video for VFW #StillServing

Entrant Company / Organization Name

M&C, The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)