Storm Williams is the founder of Books for Soldiers (BooksForSoldiers.com) and today, Veterans Day 2009, is a great time to recognize this cause.
After the first Gulf War, Williams founded this 501(c)(3), realizing how much the paperback books he and his friends had sent to deployed military men and women had meant to soldiers under a lot of stress and with little to occupy their free time.
Books for Soldiers works on a very simple business model by requiring volunteers to register in order to gain access to the “wish list” of books provided by American service men and women. First, go to http://booksforsoldiers.com and click at the top of page on a link marked, “Volunteer Forum.”
Select a soldier or military unit that has requested books you would like to share. All branches of the US Military are listed and all of the soldiers who participate have been deployed. Books for Soldiers is a Not-For-Profit corporation registered in North Carolina. It is operated by a non-denominational, interfaith outreach ministry and is a 501(c)(3) charity recognized by the IRS, which means all donations are tax deductible.
For shipping the books, Books for Soldiers suggests FLAT RATE BOXES, available from the US Postal Service. Fill the box with books, CDs, and DVDs. You can ship them for only $8.10, no matter where they are going. Some volunteers use other much appreciated items like candy as packing material.
Isn’t this an amazing social/philanthropic/for-the-good-of-another-human effort? Nearly $3 MILLION in books, DVDs, and CDs were distributed last year alone.
And as a business model, isn’t it equally amazing? It’s a database with a social media marketing effort behind it. As Storm Williams says, “We were using Social Media Marketing before anyone was calling it that.”