November 2015 seems like forever ago when I sat in a conference room with National American Legion Press Association (NALPA) leadership and staff from The American Legion’s Media and Communications Division in Indianapolis to discuss the future of NALPA.
We started the meeting with the thought that if we could not develop a plan or path then NALPA would cease to exist. The association was struggling with its identity, brand, image and purpose.
I left National Headquarters that day ready for the challenge to make NALPA what it could be – the go-to association for public relation officers and communicators from every level of The American Legion that would provide the tools to train, inspire and grow the image of The American Legion.
With support and resources from the Media and Communications Division, we changed the NALPA newsletter's look, feel, content and purpose of what it should convey to members. And we placed NALPA's website under the Legion's national one (www.legion.org/nalpa) for consistent branding.
NALPA leadership, with the help of Media and Communication Division staff, took front and center stage at the Legion’s annual Washington Conference in 2016. The large NALPA banner and table display was in the path of everyone. We handed out postcards about the social media blast scheduled for that event. We promoted NALPA, we signed up new members, and NALPA was given the opportunity to speak in front of conference attendees to encourage the Legion Family to Tweet, Facebook and talk about the meetings they were about to have in Washington, D.C., using the hashtags presented.
Under the leadership of immediate past NALPA President Dave Wallace and the steadfastness of Executive Director Patrick Rourk over the past year, NALPA’s relationship with the Media and Communication Division is strong and it’s working. This relationship is ready to take aim at the next level.
NALPA is ready to fire on all cylinders, we are ready to take up the challenge to help our fellow Legionnaires and family make better newsletters, make better use of their websites, and make better use of social media. If we deliver more robust newsletters then members will want to renew. If we deliver interesting content then perspective members will learn about who we are, what we do and will want to join. If we make better use of social media then we can reach out to more veterans, their spouses and children to join the Legion Family and take advantage of all the Legion has to offer.
Technology is changing how the world communicates at warp speed. NALPA is well positioned to fire our rockets and keep up to teach the Legion Family how to use that technology.
Watch for it, encourage your fellow communicators to join, follow us and give us the opportunity this year to show you why NALPA matters. You will not be disappointed.