Jimmie Foster, leading candidate for 2010-2011 national commander, offers insight during the National Membership & Post Activities Committee meeting. Steve Brooks

Foster: Keep the members we have

Legionnaire Jimmie Foster believes it's important to bring new members into The American Legion. But the leading candidate for 2010-2011 national commander believes renewing former members is just as important.

That's why Foster, if elected, will focus his national commander's incentive program on renewals. His Lucky 7 program - introduced during last Friday's National Membership & Post Activities Committee meeting - will provide a special pin to Legionnaires who bring in at least two new members and up to five renewals.

"I want you to continue to get new members," Foster, the national commander's representative to the National Legislative Commission. "But also I want you to keep the ones we have. We do a dynamic job getting new members. But I think we do a terrible job with those going out the back door.

"I think a lot of that is after you get their money the first time, you don't actually communicate with them. You might meet them one time at the post. You don't ask them what they would like to do, or how involved they would like to become in your post, your organization. The lack of communication drives them out the back door."

For more coverage of the M&PA Committee meeting, visit www.legion.org later this week and read the January edition of The American Legion Dispatch later this month.



  1. I am a "younger" member (42) and am amazed at the language I hear from the old white guys about the n*****s, s***s, indians/muslims, etc. It makes me cringe and at times I have called some of them ignorant bigots. And they wonder why they can't get more younger people to be active. Maybe National needs to push a diversity program to teach the old white men that there are veterans of other races. Oh, and I am white. About the tax-exempt stuff others mentioned. The posts are clueless (lots of them) about the IRS rules and National or the state level isn't helping much. Has anyone looked at the list on the IRS site of the number of posts that have lost that tax-exempt status. If the IRS wants to help the govt make money, they just need to start auditing every post on that list and start giving them interest and penalties on the money they should be paying in taxes since they don't have their status.
  3. The Devil is in the details of your Post By-Laws. If you aren't happy with how they are, write a resolution to change them.
  4. I have been / was a member of the AL, and proud to be one. 12 years in service Air Force with an Honorable discharge. I thought it was a good thing to be a AL member. Then I joined. From the 1st month, I was bombarded with donation request; I was informed that I was a member of the local, 150 miles away. Although I had 4 other AL’s close to me within 20 miles. With no communication from the membership other than donate to this, donate to that, please donate here, for this member
  5. First I'm sorry to your induction to the American Legion was not a pleasant one. But in answer to your question! Contact the 1st vice or Commander of the post your interest in attending and make a formal request to "transfer your membership". They in turn should contact the other post and make the necessary changes. Bada Bam Bada Bing! As for being bombarded for donations. Understandable I can relate to the situation! They many members at my post that not in the financial position to make cash donation. However these selfless individuals do donate what I like to call "Time, Talent or Treasure". For example our friday night dinners which do raise a large portion of our operating cost for our post, are conducted completely by members volunteering a 2-3 hours week. Others members/volunteers have a talent for organizing and decorating post fundrasieing events which also benefit our post. Others have skills in electrical or pumping and they come in handy when minor problems arise. As my Post Commander would say "If we can get 1 percent effort from each our members, then collectively we can move mountains for our fellows vets. in need. In closing, I salute you sir for fighting for America...So now I encourage you "keep the faith" and fight for your fellow Vets.
  6. Frequent and continuous public display by Legionnaires is important. Not just within our sphere of veterans, but out in the overall public arena. I am a Patriot Guard Rider and have participated in over 200 welcome homes and funerals for current war veterans. I can say without a doubt that the PGR has done more to foster patriotism and garner respect and support from our troops and public than any other group. I also proudly display my Legion membership at these events. Welcome Home!
  7. I wanted to conclude my previous comment that the post I visited was primarily made up of WWII Filipino veterans. A very proud and patriotic group. Another way I believe The Legion can earn and keep more members is by becoming more visible in the community. I don't mean by just participating in traditional events like Memorial Day and Veterans Day parades... I mean by showing ourselves every day in some way to the general public. Wearing Legion gear, participating..to be continued.
  8. Wow! Where to begin... A few months ago, as a district officer I visited a Post and was astounded at the speech read to the members by the post commander. It was a very patriotic speech full of pride for The American Legion -- Pride in what The American Legion stands for, what the emblem represents and how members should always show respect for The Legion and emblem. And, yes, ones attire helps to demonstrate this respect. A dress code, especially for officers, is not unwarranted.
  9. The Post I belong, is essentially an open to the public bar and grill operating illegally here in the state of Maryland. We have now invited the public to watch the Ravens in the Post Lounge this Saturday night. I con't see any reason to pay dues to belong to a so called patriotic organization that openly breaks the law. My real complaint is that I did not serve 4 years in the USAF so that I could join an organization that violates the tax exempt laws in order to make a buck.
  10. Clearly, the vast majority of both Officers and members do not understand, nor do they have a clue about the law outlined in IRS Code 501(c)(3). I agree - why pay dues when the person setting next to you has the full enjoyment and privileges of the Post at no cost! Furthermore, here in Mattoon, IL. the Post has used "illegal gambling monies" to donate to other tax free organizations. In many states, 501c3 monies obtained from illegal action must be repaid. If they only knew!!!
  11. I joined the American Legion three months ago. I have been trying to contact my local post in Humble Tx. When I call the number listed, I am referred to another number and told to leave a message. I keep leaving messages but have not had a single return call. I am currently a member of the Humble VFW which, while small, is very active. I can't say the same for the American Legion. I want to become an active member but not one will tell me when they have their meetings, etc. Jim Haycraft
  12. I have been a member at large for 2 years. Decided to find local post. Members not really interested in new members in this area. Will be active with VFW from now on.
  13. I recently joined the Legion after being a VFW Life Member for years. I live in Westland, MI and the VFW Posts near me do not interest me enough to join a local post. I was searching local posts on the Legion web site and found four that are near by. I called the post numbers and, in some cases, was able to leave a message which was not returned. Two have web sites but with no way to contact them through the site. Two also mention e-mail addresses that are currently invalid.
  14. I have been a member of the Legion for 10 years now, how can we keep the members we have now or even bring in new members, when I know of 4 Legion Posts around here, that have an open door policy !!!! If your 21 and older you can walk right in and Drink and you dont have to be a member, makes me wonder, why do I keep paying for a membership Frederick
  15. Post and Dept Ldrship should be actively recruiting NEW members into LEADERSHIP positions. The mature members of our org. should be mentoring them to take on the resp.of leadership. New ideas that are carried through by members who have the time, strength and motivation to do so is what is going to grow the Legion. Take a look at our Natl Org. They have so many younger people working and doing a great job. They are mentored by legionnaires who have the maturity to GUIDE them.
  16. I just wonder just how many we might lose to a New Dress Code that the Department of CO has put into place. ALL who attend DEC Meetings must have jacket & tie to come into the meeting. I think that is telling members if we want your money but not you if you can not dress the way I want you to.Members of the Legion Riders come on their bikes. So telling them to wear a jacket and tie is not the best way to show them they are wanted to be part of the business of running the Legion.
  17. The members of the Legion Riders only need to wear their Legion Cap to be in uniform during Legion meetings. Requiring wearing a jacket and tie is a sure direction to decreased membership and participation. Reconsider amending that requirement for the Good of the Legion.
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