As Legionnaires, our most sacred responsibility is to look out for each other and our fellow veterans. National Commander Brett Reistad has called for a Buddy Check during our National Week of Calling around the Legion’s 100th birthday as a way to reach out to members and former members who may need help. Perhaps they have been waiting for a personal call or visit to renew or rejoin. No matter their situations, we can do as our founders did by making personal contact with veterans in our communities.
How do I organize a Buddy Check?
1. Gather up a team if possible to call or personally visit members and former members of The American Legion. If each member in a team of 10 calls just 10 Legionnaires or former Legionnaires, 100 veterans can be reached in one sitting.
2. If you don’t have a list of members and former members at your fingertips, visit myLegion.org and download the names of current members and those who have let their memberships expire.
3. Save the file of members and those whose memberships have expired onto a spreadsheet or copy and paste into a Word file to distribute among your team members. Print several copies of the lists.
4. Divide up the call list among your team members. Some may have personal connections with the member or the former member and should make that particular buddy check.
5. Start calling – either from a quiet place inside the post or from your home – to see how the members and former members are doing, ask if they need anything and invite them to any event or activity planned to help celebrate the Legion’s 100th anniversary.
6. Use the spreadsheet to record your calls and identify those who haven’t been members since 2014, 2015 or 2016. For each former member who rejoins from those years, your post may receive a $5 reward.
7. If you are making it a group effort, where many members of your team are calling on a particular night or time, invite the local media to show The American Legion celebrating its 100th birthday the personal way: by checking in on their buddies in the community.
8. Make sure you thank the member or former member in the beginning and at the end of your call.
9. If the member or former member wishes to renew, be sure to have your post’s payment procedure at your fingertips, the address to send a check or offer to stop by in person to pick it up (another opportunity to connect).
10. Leave contact information in case the member or former member can’t take the call or needs anything in the future.
Using scripts makes it easy for your team to make buddy checks on members and former members. Use these scripts, modify them or draft your own before reaching out. Remember, the most important part of the call is to see if the veteran and family are OK, if the Legion can help and to invite them to celebrate any planned centennial events or activities.
Answers to FAQs
When you speak to an unrenewed member or a veteran eligible for membership, they may ask the question: “What does the Legion do?" You can be prepared with quick answers that apply at the national, department and local level using this worksheet:
Recruit your team - download and print the Buddy Check Flyer
Rewards for Renewals and Rejoins
An added benefit to the Buddy Check is the opportunity to improve membership, and the national commander is offering new rewards this year for departments and posts that exceed targets and return members to the organization.
Departments that achieve 100% of their 2019 membership goals by the Armed Forces Day target date on May 8 will receive $2,500. An additional $5,000 will be awarded to each department that hits 105% of its goal by the Delegate Strength target date.
Posts will receive $5 for each 2014, 2015, 2016 expired member who rejoins his or her post for membership year 2019. After the incentive program ends on May 8, 2019, checks will be disbursed to each post through their department headquarters.
To receive credit for renewing a 2014/2015/2016 expired member, you must renew that member in your post and use his or her current membership ID# found on the expired listing.
To assist you in your efforts, the 2014/2015/2016 expired members lists can be easily retrieved from the Report Server on myLegion.org
Select “Reports/Labels” on the left-hand menu.
Posts - Open Post Reports folder, click on Revitalization folder to see: Un_Renewed Letters, Un_Renewed_Labels, and Un_Renewed Roster
Districts – Open District Reports folder to see un_Renewed Roster listing
Counties – Open County Reports folder to see un_Renewed Roster listing
Find Members in my Area – now includes last paid 2014/2015/2016.