One afternoon in early 2008, a gentleman named Andy was designing a banner on BuildASign.com. Nearly finished with his design, he was having trouble deciding between “WELCOME HOME!” and “SO HAPPY YOU’RE HOME!”
Andy, former director for us at BuildASign.com, was designing a “Welcome Home” banner for his sister; one of many brave soldiers making their way back home after being deployed overseas for many months.
After he settled on the classic “Welcome Home!” phrase, Andy got an idea. What if we printed free homecoming banners for all families anxiously awaiting the return of their loved ones fighting for our freedom? It’s the least we could do! So, Andy and his team put together a proposal and committed to donating 10,000 welcome home banners for military families. We were certain this number would sustain over multiple quarters, if not a year.
In a matter of weeks, we hit 10,000 banners and orders were pouring in. FOX News, America’s Newsroom, picked up our initiative and gave us a spotlight in July of 2008.
Suddenly, we had this amazing opportunity laying at our feet. So we scrapped the idea of limiting the number of banners we’d give and committed to providing this as a service to our military community indefinitely. In order to keep up with the demand of these banners, we were forced to hire more help and buy more printers. Which, in truth, was just what we needed to get over the hump and really gear up to grow. 30,000 banners and $1.5 million in donated retail value later – the Troops Program – BuildASign.com’s first real philanthropic endeavor – was born.
As we saw continued growth as a company, so did our philanthropic efforts. The driving force to all of our giving, however, remains true to the Troops. To date, 2011 still holds the title as The Troops Program’s busiest year – having shipped almost 73,000 banners and signs. with 2012 finishing a close second at 66,000 items donated. And as of last week, our Troops Program hit an incredible milestone:
Because of that amazing achievement, The City of Austin and Mayor Lee Leffingwell issued a proclamation declaring October 22, 2014 to be “BuildASign.com Day”. By far one of the coolest honors we’ve ever received!
Don’t worry, I framed it.
As a company, we’re so honored to serve the military community in this way. The fact that we get to be a part of one of the most intimate moments in these people’s lives is truly overwhelming. So, in order to continue to share these moments, we’re innovating our Program with more free signage offerings! Since there is a decline in the number of homecomings, our focus will evolve to supporting those soldiers who may already be home, or have not yet left. With our banners being fully customizable, these families are given the opportunity to make generic “We Support Our Troops” signage, or to congratulate their cadets on graduating from boot camp, academy, etc. Plus! We’ve launched the same concept on AlliedShirts.com – free custom tees in support of our military service men and women.
Again, all you military families and supporters, thank you so much for letting us serve you.