Guest blog by Nancy Moses, National Membership Committee Southern Division Chairman
Membership recruitment and retention is the most important activity in every organization. Sustaining and growing our membership is the way we can continue working the programs of the American Legion Auxiliary (ALA). Decreased membership lessens our advocacy i.e. “political clout” for our veterans to governmental officials.
Our national ALA membership has declined 13 percent during the past five years. Organizations are competing for volunteers’ time and resources, which is why it is important that we show potential members why the ALA is the organization to believe in. If we continue to decline in membership, we will cease to exist as an organization.
Recruiting new members into the ALA breathes new life into our units by bringing fresh ideas and new skill sets. In addition, a new member could be your new best friend.
There are many methods to recruit, but above all, be positive, kind, and welcoming. Volunteers want to provide value to an organization while at the same time, feel they are valued for their time and resources.
Instead of telling potential members what we do, let them know how their membership makes a difference in the lives of our veterans, our military, and our community. Relate personally through stories about the difference our organization makes. For example, “Our unit provided food and utilities for a needy veteran’s family. The outpouring of relief and gratitude from his wife and family let me know what a difference our unit is making.”
Recruiting is as easy as placing a door hanger on a vehicle with military or veteran’s plates or putting one on a doorknob of a house flying the American flag. These can be downloaded online at www.ALAforVeterans.org/Resources/marketing—promotional-materials/ (login required).
Always have your American Legion Family membership application on hand and try to get it completed at that time or make an appointment to meet and assist with the application. Let them know they can join immediately online via the national website. Personal follow up is extremely important as a potential member needs to know you want them in your organization.
Utilize the resources and tools available on the national website, including a potential member script, an elevator speech, applications, and instructions on how to host an open house. You can find these at www.ALAforVeterans.org/Members/Membership/.
Armed with a positive attitude and the many tools and resources that are available, how can an eligible person not want to join our wonderful organization?
This was originally published as an eBulletin. Read the latest ALA In the Know eBulletins here.