Operation Hat Trick August 2023 Newsletter
Pictured above: Dot Sheehan - Founder, President and CEO of OHT; Lonna Henrichs - Licensing Director of EIS Winner: Nebraska; Trey Derrenbacker - Director of Licensing at OHT.
To say Operation Hat Trick is a unique non-profit organization would be an understatement! As many of you know, OHT’s royalties from the sales of products are passed on to other non-profits that align with our mission to support the recovery of wounded service members and veterans. Our branding is KEY to our fundraising initiatives, as more than 85% of our donations are generated through royalties.
The pandemic ultimately proved how resilient we as an organization can be. Our accountant always asked why we kept a certain amount of money in reserve, and I said that it was in case retail “tanked." Well, guess what? It DID! But, what happened during the first year of the COVID pandemic made us aware of how wise it was to make the decision to keep money for a “rainy day."
In 2020, there were essentially no games being played at the collegiate level. No games, no tickets being sold, and no one traveling to watch their team. However, what we experienced was amazing; people continued to purchase co-branded products online and in stores. They wanted to support their school/team and OHT provided an opportunity to do that all the while helping veterans in need. We were beyond grateful and knew this would ultimately help us help more recovering service members and veterans. In other words, we were filling more critical gaps in care and able to make a bigger difference. Surprising to us, OHT was able to provide 50% more funding to organizations during this than in years past!
Our strategic partnerships also allowed us an almost unheard-of opportunity; OHT donated more than $1 million to organizations in each of the last two years! We were a lifeline to many smaller non-profits that thought they would “go under." They did not, and that’s because of our strong collegiate partnerships.
We have always been truly thankful for our partnerships with all of you across the country. The co-branded products that have been created over time have allowed us to make over $4.5 million in donations since 2014. For an organization our size, this is simply remarkable!
We have also been successful in maintaining great partnerships with many licensees. Our brand tells the story of Nate Hardy and Mike Koch, two Navy SEALs who fought and died together in Iraq in 2008. Our licensees help tell the OHT story, which spreads awareness and offers further exposure.
As we all know, branding is key to ALL sectors. Everything is about branding! We have strategically aligned with so many great partners, and we never take the primary position with co-branded products. This means that a school’s brand is front and center, and OHT is placed elsewhere, so as to not take away from a University’s branding.
To date, we have donated almost $700,000 to organizations on behalf of University partners through our Excellence in Service program. Set up to acknowledge schools that have gone above and beyond representing OHT on campus, online, etc., we donated $200,000 to ten different organizations last year – on behalf of 10 schools – and it was all thanks to our branding partnerships with schools! This was the most we have ever donated, and to say that the organizations were grateful would be quite an understatement. Keeping this kind of money in the local area helps further the partnerships schools have with their non-profits close by.
We encourage Universities to continue to work with OHT and join us in participating in Excellence in Service in what has become quite the competition among schools. Remember any royalties schools realize from EIS is INCREMENTAL revenue – so important to every school out there.
The unique method of using our royalties to generate donations is unheard of in the non-profit world. Everyone at OHT is grateful for the opportunities to partner with institutions like yours. The brand partnerships that we have created are invaluable to our nation’s veterans. I hope our partners remain proud of the work you do with us; I know our veterans are grateful for your support.
Founder, President and CEO