Convey the Legion's message

“There was a time when you said the words ‘American Legion’ and people knew exactly who we were and what we stood for,” said newly-appointed American Legion National Membership & Post Activities (M&PA) Committee Chairman Kenneth Orrock to committee members during their annual meeting last month. “When we look at brand awareness in the (Legion’s) five-year membership plan, at what point in time did we as an organization surrender our position as the dominant voice of the American veteran? We cannot serve our communities, our nation and our fellow veterans without a robust membership program.”

Brand awareness was one of several topics discussed during the M&PA meeting where members re-evaluated the viability of each tactic within the Legion’s five-year strategic plan for sustained membership growth to ensure the plan’s overall mission of building and sustaining a culture of growth is achieved.

“The five-year plan has laid the foundation for a culture of growth within every facet of The American Legion,” Orrock said. “We have to integrate membership and membership recruitment into everything that we do. Everything we do is an invitation to talk to eligible veterans about this organization and what they can do to join.”

National Headquarters is helping Legionnaires build and sustain a culture of growth through a new publication, which shows members how to convey the Legion’s message on the many ways in which the organization fulfills its mission to assist veterans, military personnel, families and communities. The booklet, “The American Legion Membership Public Relations Guide,” can be ordered by emailing A PDF version of the document can also be downloaded on the Legion’s publications web page under Public Relations:  

“We need to share stories of success and excitement for the culture of growth,” Orrock said. “Because at the end of five years, we don’t stop working membership. We don’t stop growing this organization. The five-year plan is our guide as we work our way through building and a sustaining a culture of growth.”

Committee members also shared best practices that their respective departments have implemented as part of their five-year membership plan, such as:

  • Appointing a Direct Mail Solicitation (DMS) chairman to help monitor the DMS list on and to help with post and district revitalization efforts.
  • Soliciting membership to veterans who received VA claims assistance from an American Legion-accredited service officer.  

Additionally, each member of the M&PA Committee has been assigned a group of departments to offer assistance and support in their recruitment programs. Each committee member will act as the subject matter expert on their assigned departments, will know the status of their department’s five-year plan and what help it may need, and will relay information from M&PA meetings to the departments, as well as provide feedback from the field.

Orrock reiterated to the committee members that to keep the Legion relevant for years to come, the five-year membership plan is vital as is the Legion symbol.

“When I wear the Legion symbol, whether it’s on a shirt or cap, it’s an invitation for veterans to speak to me,” he said. “It’s an invitation to those who want more information about this organization, and I think it’s so important that we show this proud symbol and make that invitation for veterans to talk to us about this organization whether they join us or not.”


  1. We are losing the veterans of the recent wars as they joining the IAVA. This organization has over 300 thousand members. We have to make our organization relevant to the younger generation or we are going to lose them just like we lost the Vietnam VETS upon their return from Vietnam.

  2. I hesitated for many years after my Vietnam service to join the American Legion. My father was an active member, involved with many activities. I have been a member for a few years, but have no idea nor any post affiliation for activities. I see nor hear of any activities local or state so I may not continue my membership. I will not affiliate with the VFW, as they seem to be a bunch of whiners, not patriots! What does the American Legion do today to maintain its relevance and integrity in these days of declining military service membership?

  3. I,like many of my fellow Legion members, feel "every veteran should be eligible" to become a member of our organization. We all served in uniform at the behest of our country, ready to march into hell, yet many who served during the so called "Cold War" are refused membership. Why is our leadership so unwilling to change the "outdated" membership guidelines? Come on fellow members lets light that fire under our leaders and let's get our stepbrothers and sisters onboard!


  4. The National plan is for Posts to push brand awareness. However, I would venture to say that 80% of active duty members do not know what The American Legion does for them. We need a national level advertising campaign, maybe tied in with USAA (money) to increase the national awareness so that local Posts have some assistance with recruiting new members. On the tv today, the IAWVA advertises to promote brand awareness and for market penetration. National cannot rely on local posts to get out the message against an unwilling local media.

  5. I've read the three presently posted comments from our Veterans who've served our country with dedication and bravery-and my heart goes out to them. I can tell you that in our small Town of Rumford, Maine that we have a very committed American Legion Post 24 and we have a veteran, John Kezal who at the age of 80 something years old is very involved in the Maine Veterans' Homes and as busy as he is- we could always use MORE veterans and families of veterans to volunteer their time and efforts. I agree with the guys-we do need MORE exposure and community awareness/involvement in what the American Legions are doing for our veterans. We're a rural Town in Rumford but we have an aging population and it's less than 5,000 people. Advertisements and digital cameras and such are just some of the ways that our veterans can be kept in the KNOW but what about their human life stories? What about visits to the Maine Veterans Homes for those without family? We can do a lot for them when we put the human element into our good intentions.