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The American Legion National Executive Committee passed Resolution 64 during the 2012 Fall Meetings, charging the Legion’s Internal Affairs Commission and Membership & Post Activities Committee to establish a five-year strategic plan to help the organization reach a record in total membership by 2019, the Legion’s centennial.

We want to encourage all members, all members all the way down to the post level, to be a part of this plan. It needs to be a grass-roots effort. We have to tell The American Legion story to our nation’s military and emphasize to them that they are veterans, even though they are still wearing the uniform. They are eligible to be members of The American Legion.

Tennessee's Five-Year Strategic Plan

2018-2019 

 

PRIORITY NO. 1 – CREATE BRAND AWARENESS

 

Is The American Legion a household name in the state?                                                  YES                         NO - X  

 

If yes, what is being done to maintain and enhance The American Legion as a household name?

 

If no, what are the department’s plans to become more recognizable as the preeminent veterans service organization? When will it be implemented?

 

Year 1 - X             Year 2                   Year 3                    Year 4                    Year 5

 

We find most people throughout the state find the American Legion and VFW as synonymous. The plan is to have “all” posts schedule and hold regular monthly meetings.  The majority of our posts do not have post homes, but for those that do, we ensure they are properly marked.   For those without post homes, we stress the members wear their caps and if possible position American Legion emblem in view of the public.  Additionally, place the Legion emblem on each communities’ Chamber of Commerce boards.   Essentially, keep the emblem in the public eye.

 

Is the department actively promoting programs to the general public?                     YES - X                   NO        

 

If yes, how and what program(s) are the department actively promoting?

Through Americanism programs, i.e. American Legion Boys State, American Legion Baseball, Junior Shooting Sports, American Legion Oratorical, Eagle Scout, JROTC…outside of Americanism, and more recently we’ve become more involved with Reconnect Programs such as the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program.

 

What is the plan to continue building awareness for these programs for the future?

Continue to educate our Legionnaires and communities about The American Legion’s Four Pillars, our programs and our commitment to serve.

 

If no, when will the department actively promote these programs?

 

Year 1                   Year 2                    Year 3                    Year 4                    Year 5

 

PRIORITY NO. 2 – COMMUNICATION

 

Does the department have a media/public relations team?                                           YES - X                   NO        

 

If yes, what are their responsibilities and how are they being utilized?

 

A PR team exists, but as with many programs, it can be improved upon; some areas throughout the state are more fruitful than others.  Small communities tend to be more willing to publish and/or broadcast our message.  We encourage our posts to publish monthly articles and use promotional and advertising material offered by the Department Public Relations Chairman.

 

If no, when does the department expect to have a team in place?

 

Year 1                    Year 2                    Year 3                    Year 4                    Year 5

 

(The Public Relations Toolkit is available from the National Headquarters to assist in conducting, planning and evaluating public relations at all levels of the organization.)

 

How is the department communicating with its members? How often?

 

Legionnaire                        Quarterly            

Email                                     Routinely for those who have email addresses, we’re continually compiling our contact list.

 

Personal Contact              Through outreach projects, i.e. Soldiers Wish, YRRP, and Military Child.

 

Other                                    Annual Open House, District Meetings, Monthly Bulletin, Facebook, and Department Webpage

 

 

Does the department have a website?                                                                                   YES - X                   NO        

 

If yes, how is it utilized to assist in providing information to members and the general public?

The website has a calendar of events to include Department and District meetings, conferences, conventions, and posting of our monthly bulletin.  The site has links to a variety of outlets to include the Veterans Administration.  Furthermore, the site offers LEAD training, our vision and mission statement as well as membership statistics by post, division, and department updated weekly.

 

If no, when would the department have a website set-up?

 

Year 1                   Year 2                    Year 3                    Year 4                    Year 5

 

Is the department communicating with the general public?                                           YES - X                   NO        

 

If so, what is being done and will this generate other opportunities for the general public to be involved with The American Legion?

Yes, but not as well as we could be…tough sledding with limited discretionary funds.  Recent state law change may give us an opportunity to add a few dollars to our coffers.

 

 

If not, when and how would the department implement a plan to communicate with the public?

 

Year 1                   Year 2 - X             Year 3                    Year 4                    Year 5

 

Does the department have a relationship with local media outlets?                           YES                        NO - X  

 

If yes, explain the relationship.

 

What is the plan to build a stronger relationship with media outlets so they can continue to help tell The American Legion story?

Funding is a major concern. As stated previously, state laws limit our fundraising ability; we’re working with state legislators for relief, but nothing very positive on the horizon.

 

If no, when and what plans are being made to establish a relationship?

Year 1                   Year 2                    Year 3                    Year 4                    Year 5 - X

 

Is the department maintaining an email database?                                                           YES - X                  NO        

 

If yes, how is it being utilized?  Does it include non-members?

The database is a continuous process updating post-district-division-department officers with email addresses and adding addresses from a variety of sources, especially civic and military related organizations.

 

If no, when and what plans are being made to create an email database?

Year 1                   Year 2                    Year 3                    Year 4                    Year 5

 

A continuous project in process.

 

PRIORITY NO. 3 – TRAINING/EDUCATION/LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

 

Does the department have a training/education team?                                                   YES - X                   NO   

 

If yes, explain what their responsibilities are. How are they being utilized effectively?

Tennessee Legion College as well as a recently trained instructors to offer on-site Basic Training/Intro to Basic Training and myLegion instruction.   Also Legion Education and Development instruction is on the horizon with course development and deployment in its infancy stages.

 

If no, when does the department expect to have a team in place?

 

Year 1 - X             Year 2                    Year 3                    Year 4                    Year 5

 

Are there requirements for post/district/department officers to take and pass the American Legion Education Institute?                                                                                                                            YES - X                   NO        

 

(The American Legion Education Institute can be taken online by any individual or taught in a classroom format.)

 

If yes, please explain.  The current plan dictates each of our Department, District and Post Officers complete Basic Training as a minimum.  We continuously offering both on and off-line courses.

 

If no, when and what plans does the department have to implement a requirement for current and future leaders to take the American Legion Extension Institute?

 

Year 1                   Year 2                    Year 3                    Year 4                    Year 5

 

Does the department have a mentoring process in place to develop new leaders?

If yes, please explain.                                                                                                                     YES - X                   NO        

We have implemented a policy where District Commanders appoint District Adjutants and Membership Chairman to work, train and mentor the Posts and themselves with the assistance of the Department Vice Commanders.  We also use National American Legion graduates as mentors in their respective districts.

 

 

If no, when and what plans does the department have to implement a process to mentor new Legionnaires for future leadership roles?

Year 1                   Year 2                    Year 3                    Year 4                    Year 5

 

Does the department have a Legion college?                                                                       YES - X                   NO        

 

If yes, when and where is it offered and what is the purpose?

Department of Tennessee American Legion College is offered yearly immediately after the Department Convention, with Basic Training as a prerequisite.  The course includes material to address the Department’s greatest need, to include, but limited to post/district revitalization, Americanism programs, and membership management.

 

If no, when and what plans does the department have to implement a department Legion college?

Year 1                    Year 2                    Year 3                    Year 4                    Year 5

 

Does the department have a process in place to select and send candidates to the National American Legion College (NALC)?                                                                                                                YES - X                   NO        

(The NALC is held once a year in Indianapolis at the end of October.)

Candidates selected by an interview process at the annual Department Convention.

 

How are the NALC graduates utilized once they return to the department?

 

NALC graduates are given leadership and mentoring opportunities in their respective Districts and encouraged to share the knowledge gained as well as pursue positions of greater responsibility.

 

Is the department utilizing the LEAD program?                                                                   YES - X                   NO        

 

(A LEAD booklet can be requested through the Internal Affairs Division to get an idea of what courses are offered.)

 

Is the LEAD training being used to enhance and develop other training venues?   YES                         NO - X  

 

LEAD Training is currently in its infancy stage.  We have concentrated our efforts on establishing interest in and developing offline training for Intro to Basic Training and myLegion.  Our Department website offers several LEAD classes.

 

What other training is offered for members?

 

Department and District-level officers attend a position orientation session immediately following their election/re-election to office, complete with an orientation book and electronic media.

 

Does the training team have the capability to travel to posts and districts to offer training for those who do not come to conventions and conferences?                                                                             YES - X                   NO   

 

How would this be implemented?

We currently have a Department Training facilitator traveling to each Post and are working to train facilitators in each Division. 

 

PRIORITY NO. 4 – POST CREATION, DEVELOPMENT AND REVITALIZATION

 

Is the department familiar with the revitalization and development process?       YES - X                   NO        

 

Does the department know National staff can assist and train volunteers by conducting district revitalizations?                                                                                                                                    YES - X                   NO        

 

Does the department have its own development and revitalization team?              YES - X                   NO        

 

If yes, explain what their responsibilities are and how they are being utilized?

 

A team that consists of Department Commander, Department Membership Chairman, respective Department Vice Commander, respective District Commander, Post Commander and post membership team along with community/civic leaders. The key component in our process is the District Commander with assistance from the Department Membership Chairman and respective Vice Commander; much of the ground work falls on the District Commander’s shoulders with the assistance of the post commander, gathering demographic data via myLegion and other sources i.e. county VSO office, local NG armories etc. using a pre-developed checklist as a guide…once the groundwork is complete the Vice Commander, Department Membership Chairman, and when available, Department Service Officer begin to take action; holding town halls, making calls to expired and at-large members, and offering assistance to veterans in the local area…in many cases, the team will need make a very key decision; whether to continue to revitalize, merge, or pull the post charter all based a variety of factors to include veteran population, distances/locations of other TAL posts, and demographics.

 

If no, when does the department expect to have a team in place?

 

Year 1                    Year 2                    Year 3                    Year 4                    Year 5

 

Does the department have an annual goal for starting new post?                               YES - X                   NO        

 

If so, how many new posts?

One per district, we have ten districts.

 

If no, when?

 

Year 1                   Year 2                    Year 3                    Year 4                    Year 5

 

How does the department identify a potential area to start a new post?

 

We look at the area’s veteran population (potential members), distance of other legion posts and demographics. We’ve had requests to start posts in communities where a post already exists, and because of petty (but real) disagreements some of the dissenters want to start a new post. We would much rather have one viable post than two unsuccessful posts…one of our major keys, is “what high school do you plan on supporting?”

 

If no, what is the plan to implement a goal for starting new posts? When will the goal be in place?

 

Year 1                   Year 2                    Year 3                    Year 4                    Year 5

 

Does the department have an annual goal for revitalizing posts/districts?               YES - X                   NO   

 

If so, how many revitalizations?  Where needed, averaging 3 per year for the past 2 years.

 

How does the department identify a potential area to revitalize?

Lack of membership, limited or no high school and community support, and how often the post holds meetings?

 

Use the Post Responsibility Audit form to gather information?                                     YES - X                   NO        

(Found at www.legion.org/publications in the Post Membership Team Training Guide on pages 6-11)

 

If no, what is the plan to implement a goal for revitalizing posts/districts? When will the goal be in place?

Year 1                    Year 2                    Year 3                    Year 4                    Year 5

 

 

PRIORITY NO. 5 – MEMBERSHIP RECRUITING AND RETENTION

 

Does the department have a membership team?                                                              YES - X                   NO        

 

If yes, explain what their responsibilities are and how they are utilized.

 

The best way to answer this question is to take an excerpt from our SOP:

“MEMBERSHIP, REVITALIZATION, AND POST DEVELOPMENT TEAMS

National Headquarters suggests that every Department have a Membership Team, Revitalization Team, and Post Development Team.  Remember the 3-R’s of Legion Membership, Renew, Recruit and Reconnect.   In Tennessee, the Membership Team and Revitalization Team consist of the following:

·         FIELD Membership and “Revitalization” Teams   (Renewing Team)

·         Department Membership Chairman (responsible for training and monitoring).

·         Vice Commander of the respective Division.

·         District Commander of the respective District (active supervision).

·         Post Commander (he may appoint a Post membership chairman).

·         Post Membership Team consisting of Post Chairman and 5% of the Post membership. If a Post is being revitalized, initially Post members may not be available.

(Just because an individual is the First Vice Commander does not mean he/she is the right Legionnaire for the job as Post membership Chairman).

 

POST DEVELOPMENT TEAM   (Recruiting Team & Reconnect Team)

·         Department Membership Chairman

·         Respective Department Vice-Commander

·         Respective District Commander

·         Prospects from Headquarters Post 2000

·         Civic leaders

·         National Guard/reserve component military unit personnel (Reconnect Activities)

 

DEPARTMENT REVIEW TEAM

·         Department Commander

·         Department Judge Advocate

·         Department Adjutant.

 

The purpose of the Revitalization Team is twofold:

·         Revitalize American Legion Posts…get them going again.

·         Justify why a charter must be cancelled.

 

If no, when does the department expect to have a team in place?

 

Year 1                   Year 2                    Year 3                    Year 4                    Year 5

 

Do they focus on both recruiting and retention?                                                                 YES - X                   NO        

 

If no, when would the department require them to do so?

 

Year 1                   Year 2                    Year 3                    Year 4                    Year 5

 

Do they assist with renewing and transferring headquarters post members?        YES - X                   NO        

 

If no, when would the department require them to focus on renewing and transferring headquarters post members?

 

Year 1                   Year 2                    Year 3                    Year 4                    Year 5

 

Does the membership team offer training for posts/districts?                                      YES - X                   NO        

 

 

Do they have the capability to travel and offer training directly at the post/district?

YES - X                   NO        

 

Does the department have an awards program in place to recognize members for their recruiting and/or retention efforts?                                                                                                                YES - X                   NO        

 

If yes, please explain

 

Several different awards as outlined in our annual membership guide, distributed at our annual convention…monetary award for the post who achieves 100% by Oct 20; jacket for recruiter of the year, to go along with star award trophies for different milestones, both individually and by post, district, and division.

 

Are the awards evaluated each year to ensure they are effective?                             YES - X                   NO        

 

If no, when and what plans does the department have to implement a recognition program?

Year 1                   Year 2                    Year 3                    Year 4                    Year 5

 

How is the department service officer involved in the membership process?         YES - X                   NO 

 

If the service officer is not involved, when and what plans does the department have to implement a program for them to assist in membership?

Year 1                   Year 2                   Year 3                    Year 4                    Year 5  

 

Does the department have a relationship with all military components and installations located within the department?                                                                                                                     YES                         NO - X

 

If yes, explain all relationships?

 

If no, when and what plans does the department have to establish a relationship?

Year 1                   Year 2                    Year 3                    Year 4                    Year 5 - X

 

The key word was “all” we have a relationship with many, but not all…and we know we can do better.

 

Is the department aware through the Americanism, Children & Youth (AC&Y) Division at the National Headquarters there is a staff member who can assist with military outreach?    YES - X                   NO        

 

Their responsibilities include, but are not limited to the following: Operation Comfort Warrior (OCW)

Heroes to Hometowns (H2H) Family Support Network – 1-800-504-4098 Temporary Financial Assistance (TFA) Reconnect

 

Is the department involved in any of the following programs?

 

Transition Assistance Program (TAP)                                                                        YES                         NO - X  

 

Wounded Warrior Program                                                                                         YES                         NO - X  

 

Yellow Ribbon Events                                                                                                     YES - X                   NO        

 

Adopt-a-unit                                                                                                                      YES                         NO - X  

 

Pre and post deployment briefs                                                                                 YES - X                   NO        

(The department is not limited to just these items. Any and all involvement with the military is highly encouraged.)

 

If not, what are the plans to do so and when?

Year 1                   Year 2                    Year 3                   Year 4                    Year 5 - X

Fort Campbell is the only active duty base located on the border of Tennessee, with the community in Tennessee, but the base itself in Kentucky. Therefore, it’s our understanding that the Department of Kentucky has representatives participating in their TAP according to base officials.  We have not verified with the Department of KY as of this publication.  We’re working with the NG to obtain valuable Commander’s time to interact with air/army guard members throughout the state.

 

This is an ongoing process especially since Commander’s time is so limited and valuable. We’re also working with the Military Child Coalition to help children of guard and reserve members in our communities that don’t have the “military” community as a basis of support. We’ve become more involved with YRRP in past year and plan to institutionalize the process.

 

Does the department communicate with the military?                                                     YES         NO - X  

 

If yes, how?

 

If no, when and what plans are being made to establish communication?

 

Year 1                   Year 2                    Year 3                   Year 4                    Year 5 - X

 

As previously stated, the Department of Tennessee doesn’t have a formal active duty mission within its borders, almost of our military association is with the Guard and Reserve units.

 

Does the department have a relationship and communicate with the National Guard’s state adjutant general (TAG)                                                                                                                                                YES - X                   NO        

 

How will the department build upon and increase involvement with the TAG?

General Haston attends and participates in our American Legion Boys State program annually and well has hosting the Military Child coalition.

 

If no, when and what plans are being made to establish a relationship with the TAG?

 

Does the department have a relationship with Student Veterans of America chapters or universities located within the department?                                                                                                     YES                         NO - X  

 

If yes, explain all relationships?

 

How will the department expand their relationship with these groups?

Multiple attempts, with mixed results.  We share Student Veteran Affair organizational information with all Legionnaires through a variety of forums and avenues to include, but not limited to Department & Districts meetings and conventions, Tennessee Legionnaire, and our monthly bulletin.

 

If no, when and what plans does the department have to establish a relationship?

Year 1                   Year 2                    Year 3 - X             Year 4                    Year 5  

 

MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS NOT COVERED

 

Please explain in detail other relationships, events and/or other procedures the department has implemented that is not outlined in one of the five priorities.


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