WASHINGTON: Integrated agency Reingold has won a $13.8 million contract from the Department of Veterans Affairs to raise awareness of the benefits veterans are eligible for following their service.
For years, the federal agency has noted that many veterans do not take advantage of services they have access to. The reasons why many former servicemen and servicewomen have been reluctant to ask for help include lack of awareness, unfamiliarity with the systems that house the benefits, excessive paper work, and doubting the quality of care.
“Only a certain portion of veterans, 40% to 50%, are actually using the benefits they qualify for. This includes not only those just getting out, but those who have been out for years,” said Kevin Miller, principal and partner at Reingold.
As part of the contract, the firm is building a web portal it hopes will be up and running by February 2014. Talks are ongoing about whether the educational resource will have a unique web presence or be a subsite on a Veterans Affairs web property, Miller said.
There is also a potential social media outreach component to the contract that is being hammered out. One idea being discussed is developing content that partners would be able to disseminate through social media channels to draw attention to VA resources, said Miller.
Reingold's work also includes a strong paid-media component that will target both regional and national audiences.
A VA spokesperson said via email that “this contract is part of a comprehensive and synchronized VA outreach campaign to expand access to earned care and benefits for eligible veterans, their survivors, and family members.”
On a related note, the federal agency has also posted award documents showing it intends to award Reingold a $2.8 million contract to continue suicide-prevention outreach. The firm has been working with the federal agency on the issue since 2010.
The scope of work includes implementing an ongoing outreach plan and designing key metrics to ensure communications materials are achieving intended results. There is also a heavy material-development comment, according to the award notice.
The contact also includes funding for regional TV, radio, and out-of-home advertising, as well as digital advertising on social media. Research, planning, and media monitoring services are also a part of the scope of work.
This story was updated on August 8 with comment from the Department of Veterans Affairs.