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Wounded Warrior Project’s Performance Problem

Organization’s Mission and Vision

To promote and provide increased public awareness through transparency, education, and knowledge. The community sensitization and engagement will create advocacy and solicit the society’s aid for the needs of wounded soldiers. The vision of the organization is yielding faithful contributions and support for our most impacted veterans, families, and nation.

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Relevant Strategic Goals

  • To enhance public awareness of the Wounded Warrior Project and provide transparency related to the allocation of funds donated to the project regardless of their source.
  • To increase donations by 50 percent over the next three years through enhanced public knowledge and full transparency of donated funds.
  • Improve relationships with the public.
  • Create transparency within the organization.
  • Reduce financial waste.


Description of Performance Problem

The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) is the largest veteran’s charity in the United States. In its commercials, Wounded Warrior Project appeals to the American public’s generosity, and it works. Annually, the group receives more than $300 million in donations (Cerully, Smith, Wilks, & Giglio, 2015). With the support of our community of donors and team members, WWP gives a voice to those needs and empower our warriors to begin the journey to recovery. Its mission is to “provide increased public awareness through transparency, education, and knowledge”, but what the public does not see is how they spend their money (Cerully et al., 2015). Wounded Warrior Project’s public image has been tarnished due to issues related to the allocation of collected funds and suffers from lack of public awareness.

Significance of the Performance Problem

In 2016, the WWP Board of Directors terminated the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operations Officer. The termination occurred after multiple news reports highlighted lavish spending, including extravagant parties and events, and cited dozens of former staff members describing a toxic leadership culture at the popular veteran’s charity. If the Wounded Warrior Project’s public image is not quickly repaired, contributions and support for wounded soldiers and their families will dwindle, leaving no funding for the much-needed programs. This scenario will affect the organization because financial aid for therapy programs, which help our veterans and family, will be impacted, and eventually disappear, thus leaving no rehabilitation services for our wounded warriors.

Training Design for the Performance Problem

Title and Description

The proposed learning program is WWP awareness course. The success of the module is dependent upon the acceptance and buy-in of the public. Sustained success is conditional on the staff member’s communication with the communities. WWP will set up outreach programs, workshops, webinars, presentations, door knocks, and use the local media to reach as many people as possible. WWP depends on the successful awareness of the communities and their donations.

Targeted Learners/Participants

The primary recipients of the proposed program will be members of the public. The public awareness initiative will take a universal approach to improve the WWP’s image and create an environment that supports WWP’s cause. We will specifically target individuals with expertise and resources to change the public perception of WWP and help market the program both locally and nationally. They will include employees of federal and state agencies, veterans, community leaders, representatives of community-based organizations, religious entities, and cultural groups, media personnel, and students. Since WWP seeks to create public value, including players from these subgroups will ensure adequate participant diversity, strengthen advocacy for the Wounded Warrior Project, and enlist broad support for the cause.

Training Objectives and Learner Outcomes

Building staff competencies in WWP is critical for improving its public image and raising the level of donations after reports of wasteful spending practices by the agency’s top management. The workers enlisted in the awareness program will need to know and apply skills in outreach events meant to address the public image of WWP. Additionally, skills in financial oversight and management, public relations, resource mobilization, and organizational communication will be a critical part of the training. Among the core competencies that the program will seek to build in the staff are information and knowledge of event planning in the community, e-marketing to popularize WWP’s programs, and employing social networks to draw attention to the cause.

In translating these competencies into a learning module, three training objectives are identified. First, trainees will acquire knowledge of community/outreach event management, e-marketing, and public relations (PR) through the program. They will learn innovative methods to increase awareness of WWP and improve WWP’s tainted image. Second, the staff will learn to obtain and interpret data to evaluate the success of the outreach programs. Third, the trainees will acquire skills in enlisting support and sponsorship by increasing WWP’s visibility in public. They will learn to use social networks to enhance people’s participation and attract funds to the agency. The expected learning outcomes are increased knowledge of innovative PR strategies for improving WWP’s awareness and sponsorship, ability to confidently promote the program through the media – articulating key messages correctly and clearly, and capacity to signpost people to WWP’s goals and mission.

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Training Design/Outline

Type of learning vehicle

The two proposed delivery modes are community outreach and online and in-person workshops. Therefore, a blended instructional methodology that includes instructor-led training (ILT) and e-learning will be employed in the WWP information and education course. Community outreaches will involve ILT, which entails “face-to-face in-person education” in an academic-style lecture (Boyle & Charles, 2016, p. 87). The goal is to promote participant-facilitator interactivity, support hands-on discussions, and obtain immediate feedback on WWP awareness during the engagements. Instructor-led training will also accommodate visual, aural, and kinesthetic learning styles of the public since it involves a variety of delivery modes, such as lecture and presentation.

E-learning will be appropriate for delivering online workshops. The methodology entails learning using electronic technologies to interact with the facilitator or access resources and materials (Phillips & Phillips, 2016). E-learning will give participants some level of control and independence, which may be preferred by adult learners. In this program, the facilitator will interact synchronously with the audience at specific times in e-learning portals, where the online workshops will be held. Participants will also access resources from the platform, including texts, discussion threads, and webinars to give diverse viewpoints on WWP that will enrich their learning experience.

Inclusiveness is a crucial pillar of public awareness programs. The blended approach (ILT and e-learning) will be appropriate, given the heterogeneity of the target audience. It is relevant to the awareness program lies in addressing WWP’s public image problem by appealing to the different learning styles and contexts of the public. The online and in-person workshops will occur in structured formats or environments. In contrast, education through community outreach events will occur informally in specific sociocultural contexts. The trainers will share knowledge on WWP’s mission, values, and accomplishments with participants within the community and in social media.

Learning program

The purpose of the training is to educate the public about WWP, entrench transparency within the agency, and enlist financial support for the program. The learning program is illustrated below.

Learning Program.
Figure 1: Learning Program.

Through the learning steps, the staff will understand the benefits of WWP to the veterans. They will also be able to demonstrate the connection between WWP awareness and the amount of financial support the agency receives. Their concerns and views will be addressed. The expected outcomes include the capacity to develop and disseminate awareness materials, lead community mobilization and outreach events, conduct informal public education, and participate in online workshops. The training will also empower staff to contribute to content development for the educational initiative. The employees will share feedback on the learning program in a structured format to help improve the training.

Evaluation and Measurement

Level 0

It will be critical to measure and analyze the outcomes of the training to indicate its effectiveness. Independent of the instructional method, the measurement can help assess aptitude based on six criteria. Level 0 measures may include unique participants, number of people reached, and completion rate (Bull, 2017). For this course, the three indicators that will be assessed are listed below.

  1. The number of students/trainees – Given the multi-modal approach used in the public awareness program (online and in-person workshops, social media, webinars, presentations, and outreaches), it is expected that four million people will be reached. They will include members of the public, veterans, community leaders, soldiers on active duty, and staff of government agencies working with wounded soldiers.
  2. Courses shall be provided in three thematic areas to enable trainees to mobilize their efforts to support the wellbeing of injured warriors through the WWP project. The first one is community mobilization and sensitization. The objective is to train participants in the planning and execution of pro-WWP initiatives in their areas and encourage donations. The second course that will be provided is advocacy and governance to promote transparent systems and participatory culture in WWP’s programs. The third course is capacity building and organizational support. The goal is to empower communities and individuals with the knowledge to address issues affecting wounded warriors in their areas.
  3. Courses offered will relate to the above thematic areas. They will include WWP outreach and resource mobilization, communication and advocacy, social impact assessment, marketing skills, and community sensitization.

Level 1

This Kirkpatrick criterion measures the participants’ response to the training through immediate feedback and reactions through time (Bull, 2017). Course effectiveness or satisfaction will be based on how trainees react or respond to the instructor’s presentation, content, level of engagement, and relevance of the learning resources or materials. The trainees will complete a short survey (paper-based or online) after the session to assess these metrics. The Level 1 questions (measured on a 5-point scale) will focus on the relevance of the training to the plight of wounded soldiers, its applicability in practice, value, instructor rating, the usefulness of the learning materials provided, appropriateness of the duration of the class, and overall satisfaction with the module. Providing both paper-based and online (via email) questionnaires will help increase the response rate. A second Level 1 option will be verbal feedback. Participants will be asked to rate the items and their responses recorded. From the results, it will be possible to monitor important metrics, including completion rate and the length of each training session – essential for the online workshops. The feedback will be useful in determining areas that need further improvement to make the course more effective, enlist support for WWP from members of the public, and strengthen advocacy for wounded soldiers’ plight.

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Level 2

Here progress in student learning is measured. It is particularly applicable in contexts where the trainee is supposed to learn specific information or compliance-related courses (Bull, 2017). Participants who fail to attain a passing grade repeat the program. The WWP awareness course aims to impart knowledge about the initiative and create a favorable public perception. To achieve this goal, the trainees will be tested before and after the program to assess progress.

The specific learning outcomes of the course are demonstrated skills in community outreach and resource mobilization, public relations, and e-marketing to enlist institutional and private support for WWP programs. Skills-based evaluations such as written tests will be used to measure knowledge acquisition in each of these competencies. Additionally, learning will be evaluated through oral interviews and practical tasks. For example, engagement in role-plays will build skills in communication and community mobilization. However, subjective measures will not be avoided in the evaluations to make the metric as objective as possible.

Evaluating learning should be based on the contents of the course. Since the WWP awareness training focuses on helping trainees acquire new skills, such as public relations, an assessment that involves opportunities for the participants to apply these competencies would be most appropriate. The goal is to reduce social anxiety and promote advocacy and participation in WWP programs over time. The oral tests will encompass face-to-face sessions with instructors. The approach will enable evaluators to assess the participant’s understanding of concepts relevant to the WWP cause. Written tests and practical tasks will help relate the content of the evaluation to the learning objectives and determine a passing score. Evaluators will use a well-defined marking sheet to assess a trainee’s performance in resource/community mobilization, public relations, and e-marketing competency areas.

Level 3

In this step, the impact of the course on behavior is evaluated (Bull, 2017). In other words, it gauges if trainees are applying the skills learned in practice. Participants of the WWP awareness course are expected to demonstrate proficiency in the domains of resource mobilization, e-marketing, community sensitization, and advocacy for the wounded warrior project. Evaluation of the impact of the program on workplace practices will occur three months after the training. The rationale is to allow participants time to build confidence to use the skills acquired in practice and embrace positive change. An evaluation consultant will conduct the assessment to enhance the reliability of the measure.

The main options for evaluating the change will include phone surveys and focus groups. Trainees will be asked to mention one skill learned from the training they are applying to increase WWP awareness and donations and the frequency of use. Their competency in the area will also be explored. Subjective measures obtained from the surveys and focus groups will be combined with objective results obtained from self-assessments. Opportunities will be provided to the participants to use the skills learned in the course. The trainees’ performance in such practical tasks will indicate post-training behavior change and efficacy in their roles (Martins, Zerbini, & Medina, 2019). A consultant in student evaluation will be engaged to conduct the assessment.

Level 4

In this step, the impact of the training to the organization is measured (Bull, 2017). The results will be reflected in increased donations to WWP, the improved public image of the agency, enhanced transparency and accountability, which are the objectives of the training. A random sample of participants will be asked questions related to these metrics. Additionally, WWP’s financial statements will be used to measure the impact due to the course. For instance, an increase in donations by 50 percent over the next three years will be attributed to enhanced public knowledge and transparency following the training.

The baseline data will be compared with the post-training performance of the agency to determine the impact of the program. Survey results should indicate an increase in awareness of WWP, a favorable image, and improved relationships with the public three to six months after the training. Additionally, reports from regulators and the media should reveal improved transparency and accountability within the organization and minimal financial waste. These metrics will be measured quarterly based on financial data (donations) and public survey results to determine the effectiveness of the training. A digital platform will be used to assess if the course impacted any of the level 4 metrics.

Level 5

This step measures the return on investment (ROI). According to Phillips and Phillips (2016), ROI is the “net benefit divided by cost and expressed as a percentage” (p. 72). The gross gain from the investment is quantified from the dollar savings due to the forecasted impact. The negative public image of WWP cost the charity an estimated $91 million drop in donations and grants (Cahn, 2018). The total reported donations is $246,204,557. A 50 percent increase in contributions is forecasted after the training, which gives $369,306,835 in revenue in the next three years. Assuming that the program will cost $1,500,000 from development to delivery, the net benefit can be obtained by subtracting $1,500,000 and $91,000,000 from $369,306,835, which gives $278,156,835. Dividing $278,156,835 with $1,500,000 and expressing the result as a percentage gives an ROI of 185%.

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Therefore, a 185 percent ROI is forecasted to arise from the training. Given the negative impact that WWP’s poor public image has had on contributions, the program can be considered a worthy investment. It will enhance awareness and transparency, which will inspire public confidence in the agency and increase donations. Its high ROI implies a strategic alignment with the organization’s goals and makes a business case for the training.

Project Tasks

Development Phase

The curriculum for the training will be developed with a primary objective of promoting public/community awareness of WWP. The organization of concepts and content will be logical, building on the learners’ current knowledge. The curriculum will focus on the depth of the learning by offering trainees opportunities to practice what they have learned. Further, the approach will enable learners to connect concepts with real-world issues and public image problems that WWP is going through. WWP awareness education at national, state and local levels can draw public attention to the problems of wounded veterans and address misconceptions about the agency.

The curriculum development process will begin with a needs assessment. The methodology for this activity will involve a survey and research to understand current awareness levels of WWP issues. The baseline survey will help determine priority areas to include in the training curriculum. A review of WWP policy documents, public education standards, laws, programs, and resources will also be part of the needs assessment.

The curriculum development process will involve two stages. The first step is content creation. The curriculum will not be limited to factual knowledge but will focus on developing an awareness of the significance of WWP and promote support for the agency through donations and advocacy. Therefore, the program will aim to foster knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSAs) necessary to support the wounded warrior project in the future. Indicative awareness topics to be included in instruction are outreach and resource mobilization, communication and advocacy, accountability and responsibility, and community sensitization. In each of these areas, commonly misunderstood concepts about WWP will be explained to the trainees. KSAs and evaluation approach will be described for each of these thematic areas. Additionally, objectives, instructional methods, and learning activities will be included. New topics may be introduced based on the evolving awareness needs of the public as the program matures.

The second stage is methodology development. Learning will be learner-centered; thus, the focus will be more on individual experiences, personal goals, and self-directed education (Boyle & Charles, 2016). One outcome of this approach is that trainees/students become adept at tracking their progress. Since the target audience will include adult participants, a learner-centered methodology will be most appropriate for preparing autonomous learners and creating a community of WWP advocates according to their interests.

Delivery Mode

An innovative approach that will be employed in delivering instruction is concentrating on a specific topic each week. The strategy will ensure that trainees do not become bored with repetitive awareness content. Education will be offered first through outreach programs and later via online and in-person workshops. Therefore, two delivery modes will be employed for the WWP awareness course: live and e-learning. Outreach activities to increase public awareness of the WWP project will elicit interest and support for the program. Content delivery will involve live instruction by volunteers within communities, faith-based groups, schools, and organizations. By providing information that is tailored to the characteristics of each group, the audience will be motivated to support and advocate for WWP. Outreach volunteers will engage participants through hands-on pedagogy and storytelling.

The primary objectives of live training during outreaches and in-person workshops are to elicit support for WWP by interacting and informing the target group. Thus, the approach will require sustained interaction with the public. Since the project aims to disseminate information and increase awareness about WWP, a live instructional outreach will be appropriate. Educators will visit communities or neighborhoods and make presentations on the WWP’s mission, accomplishments, and funding needs. The goal of these sessions may also be to educate the public of the services provided by WWP to veterans and appeal for support. Thus, this informational approach will involve lectures and live presentations targeting different communities.

The delivery modes for online workshops will be e-learning and distance learning. Short online sessions (about one hour) will offer detailed and interactive content to participants. The distance education mode will allow trainees to learn at their workplaces or homes without any distraction. The system will track their participation in the e-learning courses. It will include links to WWP’s resources and financial statements to increase transparency and accountability. It will also give veterans a platform to tell their stories, experiences, and needs.

Related Training, Set Up, and Materials

An appreciation of WWP’s mission and practices is critical for the agency. We cannot assume that instructors are fully aware of the wounded warrior project. They will need to be trained in the organization’s policies and procedures. Therefore, an orientation or induction training will be essential to prepare them for the outreach and workshops. It will also be an opportunity to interact with WWP staff and establish professional links during the program. A standardized induction course will be developed and offered to all instructors in a typical train-the-trainer model.

The instructor training will cover topics such as general WWP obligations and practices, conventional pedagogical techniques, student evaluations, e-learning technology, communication approaches to awareness, and teaching aids and materials. The train-the-trainer course will be grounded in a module focusing on necessary skills that will enable trainers to provide adequate education to participants. Essentially, similar information will be included in the training designed for trainees during the awareness program. Learners will need information on WWP mission, values, funding sources, and practices, public relations, and community/resource mobilization to support wounded warriors. They will also require training on WWP’s history and programs it offers to address the needs of veterans in their communities. The sources of the awareness content will be WWP reports, policies, and guidelines, donor or partner organizations, and public information, such as media stories about the agency’s programs. Additionally, materials published by federal bodies and surveys will be used in developing the topics.

The setup of the training will be consistent with the proposed goals of raising public awareness and transparency and increasing donations. Thus, the focus will be on branding WWP, given the negative publicity it received in the wake of reports of financial impropriety by its managers. This marketing concept aligns with the project’s goal of improving WWP’s public image to attract more donations. The training setup will include creative and diverse communication tools that appeal to different categories of participants in the program. We plan to use a blend of traditional and electronic methods to deliver the module content. Handouts, presentations at meetings, poster graphics, newsletters, promotional materials (pens and caps), and seminar notes will be included in outreach and in-person workshops.

Modern electronic methods will be used in e-learning. They include webinar, email, simulations, and social media, which will help deliver awareness materials to the participants. Through the wide-ranging stimulating communication methods, which are better than disseminating information via media channels, we will engage and encourage trainees to support WWP. The content will be provided in-person – electronically and on paper. Instructors will receive a train-the-trainer guide indicating activities for each course in electronic and hardcopy format. Human interaction will be a crucial pillar of the training.

The training room must be equipped with appropriate materials and utilities. Technology equipment that will be installed in each site include computers, printers, copiers, and extension cords. Each trainee will have access to a workstation, where he or she can access the training content and other resources. Audio-visual equipment will enhance interactivity and enrich the learning experience. The training site will be equipped with a projector, laptop computer, a television for showing videos, laser pointer (useful during presentations), wireless microphones, an amplifier, and a projection screen.

The room will also be fitted with furniture, including desks, chairs, podium table, and bookshelves. Also crucial to the training are office supplies such as pens, notebooks, flip charts, marker pens, erasers, staplers, and envelopes. Other useful materials for participants include course outline, notes, and learning objectives, instructors’ contact list, and an evaluation form for level 1 assessment. Adequate light, access to washrooms, and water dispenser are also important. The list assumes that the training will occur in specific sites within community settings, and most participants will attend the in-person workshops and outreach programs. The e-learning component will not require most of these materials, as the trainees will access the content from their workplaces or homes.

Projected Budget

The awareness/training program will require resources to cover curriculum development, trainer, and student costs. Additional expenses will come from the design and delivery of awareness materials. The cost estimates are included in Table 1 below.

Table 1: Projected Budget.

Cost element Description $ Estimate
Development It includes funds for designing the WPP awareness curriculum and courses for trainers and students/trainees. The development of content, including learning objectives, materials, and outcomes, will involve expert designers. 500,000
Trainer cost Total remuneration for facilitators and coordinators. About 25 trainers will be engaged in this program at a monthly salary of $10,500. They will train students/participants for 120 instruction hours. Salary ÷ 2080 hours a year x total instruction hours $262,500 ÷ 2080 x 120 = $15,144
Student cost Include average salaries received by trainees for the hours trained. The students will receive facilitation allowances for participating in the program. It is anticipated that an initial population of 125 participants will be trained for 1200 hours, with each receiving $2,500 in stipends. Salaries averaged ÷ 2080 x total hours trained
$2,500 ÷ 2080 x 1200 = $1,442
WWP awareness materials Training resources, including course notes, pens, notebooks, and posters. The materials will be provided electronically and in hardcopy (handouts). $450,000
Administrative expenses Training space/room – a requirement for conducting on-site outreach and in-person workshops within community settings. $102,664
Utilities – include washrooms, accommodation, meals for trainees and trainers, and refreshments offered during the training. $30,000
Laptops, stationeries, and photocopying machine. Each trainee will have access to a workstation, a notebook, and pens. Copies of handouts and other learning materials can be made with the copier. $100,750
Audio-visual equipment – includes an LCD projector, a laptop, a television for playing educational videos, laser pointer, microphones (preferably wireless), an amplifier, and a projection screen. $200,000
Promotional materials – the public awareness campaign will require facilitators to give free branded pens, caps, and t-shirts to encourage community participation in this cause. $110,000
Cost of Investment $1,500,000

The business benefits of the investment will include an increase in donations made to WWP. We believe that greater public awareness of the agency will increase contributions and sponsorships by 50% within the next three years. Another benefit that will arise from the training is a strong corporate culture grounded in transparency, accountability, and cost controls. Increased compliance with these practices in WWP will create public confidence in the agency. The financial benefit (revenue) of the training will arise from restored public image and practices of transparency within the organization. The ROI from the training program (calculated above) will be 185%.


Boyle, B., & Charles, M. (2016). Curriculum development: A guide for educators. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Bull, S. (2017). An introduction to the business of personal training: Part 1. New York, NY: SH&B Publishing Ltd.

Cahn, D. (2018). Wounded Warrior Project on the rebound financially following dismal 2017. Web.

Cerully, J. L., Smith, M. L., Wilks, A., & Giglio, K. (2015). Strategic analysis of the 2014 Wounded Warrior Project annual alumni survey: A way forward. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation.

Martins, L. B., Zerbini, T., & Medina, F. J. (2019). Impact of online training on behavioral transfer and job performance in a large organization. Revistade Psicologiadel Trabajoydelas Organizaciones, 35(1), 27-37. Web.

Phillips, J. J., & Phillips, P. P. (2016). Handbook of training evaluation and measurement (4th ed.). London: Routledge.

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