As an online student in the Sports Marketing & Media degree program, Joe Cabrera is already applying what he’s learning as the Communications and Social Media Director for Operation Giveback. Based in Orlando, the non-profit offers support to wounded vets and the children of fallen veterans.
Joe landed the job in January, and already he’s helped promote the non-profit’s 5K Aloha Run – one of several sports events Operation Giveback hosts each year. He’s now gearing up to develop comprehensive marketing campaigns for Operation Giveback’s upcoming sporting events: a golf tournament in April and 5K/15K race in May.
“As soldiers, we love sports,” says Joe, an Air Force/Army veteran. “Those of us who are veterans [and] have been to different deployments, on our downtime, we’re always playing sports.”
Yet the events cater to all abilities. The May event is called the Run-Walk-Roll for this reason: “We get a lot of soldiers that come in with wheelchairs,” says Joe. “We get soldiers that have lost limbs that are still doing it.”
Joe’s job is to promote Operation Giveback’s sports fundraisers and veteran services via social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest. Cabrera is also responsible for reaching out to the media through press releases, developing relationships with local businesses, creating content for the non-profit’s website and newsletter, and producing reports based on social media analytics. He also helps organize the sporting events and plans to develop stronger themes for the events.
As part of its mission, the organization helps steer veterans to the services they need and donates Christmas gifts to children who have lost parents in combat. Joe says Operation Giveback has plans to open offices in all 50 states and Puerto Rico within the next several years.
Operation Giveback also wants to focus on veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or what Joe calls ‘invisible wounds.’ “We’re trying our best to create awareness,” says Joe. “We try to focus on not only the children, but [the] veterans that have PTSD, those soldiers that are still going through that.”