Post revitalization is one of the tactics within The American Legion’s five-year strategic plan for sustained membership growth – a plan developed to help the organization reach a record total in membership by 2019, the Legion’s centennial. Through recent successful post revitalization efforts in New York and Georgia, Legionnaires are supporting the plan and in turn moving the membership needle upward.
The Bronx, N.Y., revitalization effort was based out of Samuel H. Young Post 620 with the goal of revitalizing a district, rather than a specific post. For three days, dozens of New York Legionnaires, National Membership & Post Activities Committee Chairman Kenneth Orrock, and national headquarter staff members made phone calls and went door to door to relapsed members and to department headquarters post members.
“We’ve all identified the same problems with membership throughout New York City, so it’s great for so many people to come together to help out with this,” said Bronx County Adjutant Joe Goonan. “It’s important that we get these guys – especially these young guys – hooked up into a local post.”
The revitalization team transferred 109 members into local posts, had two renewals and signed up four new members.
“It’s been really exciting to see the camaraderie and everyone coming together to produce this kind of efficiency,” Orrock said. “The work leading up to it, as well as the work by the local Legion family, has been exceptional.”
Revitalization efforts in Augusta, Ga., at Carter Burdell Hagler Post 178 resulted in the transfer of 214 members into local posts, one renewal and six new members. The revitalization team consisted of 14 Georgia Legionnaires, several Auxiliary members and a service officer who assisted 20 veterans with their VA benefits.
Orrock encourages other American Legion departments to take advantage of the resources available through revitalization collaborations with national headquarters staff members.
“Departments need to recognize the value in (post revitalizations),” he said. “It’s really national coming in with a tool chest of opportunities that can benefit your county, district and department.”
If you need help reenergizing or breathing life back into a post or district, I encourage you to utilize resources at National Headquarters where staff members, along with assistance from department leadership, can help with a revitalization effort. To learn more about post revitalization, visit: www.legion.org/membership
I also encourage you to access mylegion.org for assistance with recruitment and retention efforts. Post 1181 in Middletown, N.Y., was in fear of losing its charter after slipping to eight members. But Post 1181 now boasts 70 members, with more than 30 of them attending monthly post meetings, after members utilized mylegion.org – where posts, counties and districts can search for veterans whose memberships have lapsed or are members of the department headquarters post. The post members also visited the county tax office to identify veterans receiving a tax exemption.
“We did a lot of mailings and got some returns,” said Bob Hayward, a member of nearby Post 151. “But the best source is myLegion.org.”