Thursday, February 4, 2016

National Commander

I had the pleasure last month of letting members of The American Legion’s National Membership & Post Activities Committee know that 36 departments were either at or above the 80 percent membership target date for January. For the past two years, less than 10 departments had met the January membership goal.
I was smiling when I shared the good news, and I hope I continue to smile and see more green membership numbers than red ones as we focus on finishing the game. We have to be close to that 100 percent membership target date of May 11 if we are going to grow this organization.
The dues increase and revitalization efforts are two reasons I believe membership is in the green.
A dues increase doesn’t usually represent growth, but with it being implemented in the middle of the membership year it created a focus for the membership team that there was a reason to get out there early and work membership. And with revitalization, I’ve seen the fruits of those efforts. Not every department has implemented a revitalization effort while others have implemented it extremely well. Where we’ve done revitalization efforts is where we are seeing membership growth.
One way to grow membership is by discussing with potential members during a Walk for Veterans event what the Legion has done for you and then share how they can get involved to serve their country once again. Since taking office as national commander last September, I have participated in 16 walks during my travels to departments. And no two walks have been alike, but there is one commonality − they all have been successful because we got The American Legion out of the post home and out into the community, visible in the community.
I want people in the community to ask what we are doing and for us to tell why we are a member of The American Legion Family. That is something we have lost in this organization; we don’t tell our story.
I want to be able to say that The American Legion is growing when we go into our 100th year. We can grow; it’s got to be a team effort.