Lights, Camera, and Action
Department of MS Membership Flyer for October 2023
Hello everyone. Looking forward to seeing everyone at our upcoming School of Instruction (SOI)/Council of Administration (COA) in Gulfport on October 20 through 22, 2023. Let’s look at what Membership means. Membership is the lifeblood of our organization, and I can think of no better way of honoring our veterans than belonging to an organization with the main purpose of taking care of and assisting our veterans and their families. Without members, we would not have the voice that we have and would not be able to accomplish the great things that we do in support of our veterans and their families. Think about it; without new and existing members, we will become just a memory. Who then will take care of our veterans?
Last year, our Department did such an amazing job, and I am so very proud of our TEAM. As a result of all of your hard work, our Department received a check for $300.00 from National for being 100% Plus in Total Paid Membership as of June 30, 2023, and a check for $200.00 from National for achieving the Outstanding Performance Award for Division 2 at the National Convention. In addition, 27 auxiliaries received $25.00 from National for being 100% Plus in Total Paid Membership as of June 30, 2023. These awards would have never happened without all of your hard work, and I am confident that you will do an amazing job again this year. In fact, I want to say congratulations to Auxiliary 12121 for being the first auxiliary to achieve 100% in Current Total Membership and Paid Total Membership; to Auxiliary 10567 for being the second auxiliary to achieve 100% Plus in Current Total Membership and Paid Total Membership; and to Auxiliary 12124 for being the third Auxiliary to achieve 100% Plus in Current Total Membership and Paid Total Membership already this year.
As of June 30, 2023, our “paid total” membership (including our 105 deceased members who had paid before passing away) was 2,991 members or 100.57% compared to 2,974 members the previous year! Our “current total” membership (excluding our 105 deceased members) was 2,886 (for a net loss of 88 members) or 97.04%. Because of all of your hard work in recruiting, we brought in a total of 146 new members. We also had 43 annual members convert to a life member. However, we had 127 annual members who did not renew their dues and/or convert to a life member. The question is why are we losing so many who do not choose to renew their dues and what can we do to change our retention percentages and keep members active and involved. With that in mind, now is the time to please be sure to contact those continuous annual members who have not yet renewed their dues. Currently, we have 593 annual members who have not renewed their dues or converted to a life member. Remember, you can generate dues reminder notices in MALTA to mail to your annual members and/or you can reach out to them by phone, letter, text, message, email, or face-to-face. Please encourage their participation and let them know how important they are to your auxiliary, our organization, and to all veterans and their families. Encourage them to renew or convert to a life member as soon as possible but no later than November 11, 2023, in honor of their veteran(s).
This year, we need to retain 778 continuous annual members (annual members who renew or convert to a life member) compared to 840 continuous annual members last year. As of September 26, 2023, we have had 165 annual members renew their dues, and 19 annual members convert to a life member. Also, we have had 26 new annual members and 8 new life members join our organization; however, we have sadly already lost 1
annual member and 29 life members who have passed away. As of September 26, 2023,
our “current total” membership (excluding our 30 deceased members) was 2,298 or 79.63% and our “paid total” membership was 2,328 or 80.67%.
This year, we will be incorporating movies into our Membership Program, and we want to make it fun for all. So, Lights, Camera, Action:
Invite & Recruit
Recruiting up-and-coming stars is a cornerstone of your Auxiliary’s mission. Be sure to keep scouting for that talent in your new recruits to help keep your organization alive and active. As members/talent scouts, it’s up to you to chat up a storm about our organization and show your enthusiasm about who we are, what we do, and why we do it. Also, be sure to invite more members to be talent scouts and then ask our seasoned members/actors to help guide, encourage, and motivate our newbies and get them involved. Our seasoned members have a wealth of knowledge and experience and can offer sound advice and, in turn, our newbies can show our seasoned members how to use new technology to enhance and expand our organization.
Always be sure to carry at least a couple of applications with you and a Fact Sheet or two about our organization. Think about asking your potential members to come to an event and help in some capacity and, most importantly, put on your happy face and SMILE for the camera! See how easy it is to get people involved and connected?
Now it’s time to get all cast and crew members involved in your Auxiliary. No matter how small or how large the jobs are in your Auxiliary, there is always something for everyone to do. Please don’t become a clique and make someone feel as if they aren’t needed because that’s a great way to lose a member quickly! Remember, we were all newbies once upon a time and learned as time went by from seasoned members who took the time to help and encourage us. New members need to feel welcomed and valued and need encouragement to help them stay positive.
Before every movie progresses, Lights, Camera, Action!, you need to have a read through with the cast and crew. This is when you need to follow up with these new members. It’s when you need to call them about the upcoming meeting or event. Do they need a ride? Could you meet them before the meeting or event? It would also be a great time to explain the Rituals and Bylaws so they don’t feel left out and in the dark. Sit with them at their first meeting and make them feel welcomed! Always make potential members aware of the importance of the goals of our organization.
Everyone is important to making a great award-winning movie. The same holds true for your Auxiliary. From the key grip to the cameraman to the director, it’s up to each and every one of us to encourage ideas from all members. Remember, all ideas are important and maybe with some slight modification, they can work in your Auxiliary. Don’t shoot down an idea because it has been tried before. Give it a shot and try it with a different approach; it could turn into a star-worthy project. Everyone has different strengths and skills. Find out who excels in certain skills and encourage them in that area. Always be positive and appreciate all that members do. A simple thank you goes a long way, and it helps reinforce that ALL members are important to the Auxiliary.
There are a ton of membership resources available for everyone to use. Check out Member
Resources in MALTA. Just log in to MALTA and click on Member Resources and then Membership. Everything you need is there for the picking. • VFW Auxiliary Applications; • VFW Auxiliary Brochure Order Form; • New Member Engagement Guide; • New Member Orientation Checklist; • New Member Packet; • Retention Tools; etc.
Our Directors (Conference Coaches) were chosen by National for their knowledge of the Membership Program, their strong leadership traits, and their great imagination. They pay attention to details as you can see with their taste in movies. They work well with others and are striving to help their Conference earn the coveted “Golden MALTA.” It is the dream of every Director to have their Membership story win the prestigious award for Best Picture of the 2023- 2024 Program Year. Let’s all “Band Together” to help make this happen for our Southern States Conference Coach/Director, Evan Smiley. How can we make this happen?
By investing in the future of your Auxiliary, you can grow into a successful franchise. With Lights, Camera, Action!, not only are we having fun, but we’re also Banding Together for Our Veterans. Remember, the VFW Auxiliary started with a small group of women who wanted to serve veterans; it has grown exponentially and now includes both males and females as members. There is only one way to add members: ask someone to join and, once they join, ask them to participate.
● Ask Someone to Join
There are numerous places and times to ask someone if they want to join the VFW Auxiliary. Your approach will look different depending on who your audience is. In all cases, the potential member should have some knowledge of what the VFW Auxiliary is and what we do before they ever receive an application. Some important tools are:
• Fact Sheet, available for free from National Headquarters; • Business card with contact information (Order yours from the VFW Store, vfwstore.org.); • MALTA Member Resources.
● Follow Up
Most likely, the first time you talk to someone new about the organization, that person may not be ready to commit. It’s important to ask for their contact information and then follow up within a week.
● Ask Them to Participate
The key to keeping members is getting them involved. Call or email a new member within a week with the next meeting date and time or the next possible event or project. Offer to pick them up, or invite them to get coffee before or after a meeting. Put a team of members in charge of contacting new members or members who haven’t been to a meeting recently. The team should be friendly and knowledgeable about the Auxiliary.
● Ways to Encourage Participation
• Monthly sign-up sheet for regular events.
• Emails and phone calls for special events.
• Public recognition of current volunteers. (Consider posters at your VFW Post Home, if permitted, that spotlight member involvement.)
• Be specific about what they will be doing, including the time commitment.
• Find out how that person best communicates, whether by phone, email, Facebook, or texting.
• Have another member stay with them for the entire length of the activity or event.
• If they say “no” to the first invitation, be sure to ask again!
• Plan family-friendly events! Members with children in the home want opportunities to do things with their family.
● Have a Plan
Every Department and Auxiliary should have a Membership Plan. This plan should
include: • Contacting current members; • Outreach to former members; • Recruiting events for new members; • Picking a mentor for a new member; • Before a membership year begins, set your calendar for these events.
• Make it as easy as possible for members to renew their dues. They can renew online in MALTA!
• Plan at least four recruiting events in your community each year.
Membership Program Awards
● Awards for Members:
1. Lights, Camera, Action! pin to each VFW and VFW Auxiliary member who recruits five (5) new members to the VFW Auxiliary from July 1, 2023, through May 31, 2024. The Department Treasurer must enter membership in MALTA with credit given to the recruiter by June 10, 2024. Lights, Camera, Action! pin will be mailed directly to the member from National Headquarters.
2. National Membership Achievement Award to each VFW and VFW Auxiliary member who recruits 20 new members to the VFW Auxiliary from July 1, 2023, through May 31, 2024. The Department Treasurer must enter membership in MALTA with credit given to the recruiter by June 10, 2024. NMA Award to be presented at the 2024 National Convention in Louisville, Kentucky. If a member is not in attendance, the award will be mailed directly to the member from National Headquarters after the National Convention.
3. Lights, Camera, Action! VFW Auxiliary Recruiter Drawing. Each VFW Auxiliary National Membership Achievement Award recipient will be entered into a drawing to receive a $500 Visa Gift Card (VFW Recruiters are not eligible). Recruiter Award Forms are no longer needed for VFW Auxiliary members. Reports are compiled by VFW Auxiliary National Headquarters from information entered in MALTA. VFW members who recruit new VFW Auxiliary members will need to fill out the required VFW members-only form that is available on MALTA Member Resources. Completed form must be received at VFW Auxiliary National Headquarters and Department Treasurer must enter membership in MALTA by June 10, 2024.
● Awards for Auxiliaries:
1. $25 to each Auxiliary that reaches 98% Plus in Paid Total Membership by March 31, 2024*.
2. $25 to each Auxiliary that reaches 100% Plus in Paid Total Membership by June 30, 2024*.
3. Lights, Camera, Action! VFW Auxiliary Drawing. Each VFW Auxiliary that reaches 101% Plus in Paid Total Membership by June 30, 2024* will be entered into a one time drawing to receive $500.
● Awards for Department Chairmen:
1. $25 VFW Store gift certificate to one Department Membership Chairman in each of the 10 Program Divisions for the most outstanding training and promotion of the Membership Program.
2. Outstanding Performance Award to one Department Membership Chairman in each of the 10 Program Divisions based on criteria listed on Page 5 and for the promotion of the Program Goals listed at the top of Page 42. Winners will be announced and awards presented at the 2024 National Convention in Louisville, Kentucky.
● Awards for Departments:
1. Bronze Department Award #1: $200 to each Department that reaches 95% Plus in Paid Total Membership or 2,742 total members (including deaths) by November 30, 2023*.
How can we achieve this goal? We need 414 annual members to renew their dues
or convert to a life member out of the 593 annual members who have not yet renewed and/or we need to gain new annual or life members. Can we do it? I believe we can. So, the challenge has been issued. Let’s see what we can do to reach this goal by November 11, 2023. What a gift that would be on Veterans Day to honor your veteran(s) with your membership.
2. Silver Department Award #2: $250 to each Department that reaches 98% Plus in Paid Total Membership or 2,829 total members (including deaths) by March 31, 2024*.
3. Gold Department Award #3: $300 to each Department that reaches 100% Plus in Paid Total Membership or 2,886 total members (including deaths) by June 30, 2024*.
4. Platinum Department Award #4: $400 to each Department that reaches 101% Plus in Paid Total Membership or 2,915 total members (including deaths) by June 30, 2024*. Departments that receive the Platinum Department Award #4 for $400 will still receive the Gold Department Award #3 for $300 for a combined total of $700.
● Conference vs. Conference:
1. $50 to each Department within the Conference with the highest total percentage by January 31, 2024*.
2. $50 to each Department within the Conference with the highest total percentage by June 30, 2024*
*Based on the June 30, 2023, year-end membership numbers.
Report Your Membership Activities Monthly. Please remember to complete the monthly reporting form on line at http://www.vfwauxms.org/report-forms/ or by completing the attached form and sending it to me via regular mail at Michele Brinson, 140 Oak Ridge Lakes Drive, Coldwater, MS 38618 or by email at no later than the 5th day of each month if possible. If you have problems completing the reporting form online or sending it via regular mail or email, you may call me or text me with your information at 901-734-8160.
Let’s continue to honor our Veterans, our Service men and women, their families, our communities, and our organization by keeping our membership current, being involved/active, and asking others to join. Remember, our membership and service matter because alone we can do so little but, by “Banding Together,” we can do so much.
Soaring Above and Beyond for Veterans,
Michele M. Brinson
Department of Mississippi