When I was traveling as national commander of The American Legion, Legionnaires would often say to me, “The American Legion should ...” No matter what the ideas were, my response was always to explain how we are a grassroots organization and encourage them to follow the resolution process.
The idea for every program of The American Legion, from American Legion Baseball to the American Legion Riders, began at the post level and moved forward through adoption of a resolution. Legionnaires seeking to resolve a particular problem or change a process can write a resolution stating very specifically what action is to take place.
The three main purposes of a resolution is to state a position on veteran issues, to create and support the organization’s programs, or to authorize change within the organization.
When a post decides to put forth a resolution, it is important to determine if the subject falls within The American Legion purpose. There are so many good and just causes in the world which may attempt to lead us away from our specific mission. The Preamble of The American Legion is an excellent guide to ensure the subject matter is germane to the principles of our organization.
If you find a subject needing a resolution, there are many things you can do to help it succeed.
The following are a few ways to make sure your resolution is well written and follows the proper formatting.
1. It should cover only one subject.
2. Double check it for proper spelling and grammar.
3. Write the “Resolved” clause first. It sounds counterintuitive but stating the result you wish to achieve will help you compose the reasons needed for the action.
4. Research and construct a set of facts to support your position. These facts will make up your “Whereas” clauses and explain in detail why the resolution is needed. If you have supporting documentation, it may be submitted along with the resolution.
5. Outline a cost analysis or return on investment report up front may help make your case. Resolutions requiring financial support or impact can often start with an uphill battle.
6. Pay close attention to the timing of such resolutions.
If you need help with writing a resolution, download the resolution booklet at legion.org/resolutions. The booklet explains how to format a resolution and the steps involved to submit it up the chain for consideration. Part of that chain involves following your department’s procedures. Also, use the Resolutions collection in the Digital Archive to search for and view adopted resolutions.
Submitting resolutions is an important function to keep The American Legion alive and relevant. If an issue arises that affects veterans, children and families, and you feel it needs action, start by putting pen to paper to achieve your goals.