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318 Donelson Pike, Nashville, TN

The American Legion Department of Tennessee


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.

The Department of Tennessee sent a comprehensive plan for membership growth to National Headquarters and the plan was discussed during the 2015-16 Membership Workshop. The 2015-2016 National Commander, Dale Barnett and national vice commanders will receive an update during the 2015 Fall Meetings.  We also discussed wartime veteran penetration by county.

We have the following five strategies and tactics contained within our membership plan:

1. Brand awareness

  • Create and promote a tagline that best describes the Legion.
  • Develop a comprehensive marketing plan to increase clarity of brand awareness of the Legion as the premiere veterans service organization.
  • Encourage new corporate partnerships with veteran friendly organizations that have the same values as the Legion, all in an effort to increase the benefits of being a member.

2. Communication

  • Develop a media relations team within the Department of Tennessee, contact the Department Public Relations Chairperson.
  • Communicate the Legion’s story to the nation’s military components, with emphasis on eligibility.
  • Collect all members’ email addresses to disseminate information on any calls to action.
  • Increase public service announcements in local media channels, to include billboards.
  • Increase presence in social media.

3. Training, education and leadership development

4. Post creation, development and revitalization

  • Conduct post evaluations to identify areas that may need post revitalization, consolidation or new post development.  District Commanders are to visit each post twice annually.
  • Improve community awareness of posts by being active in the community.  Do your community leaders know what the American Legion does?
  • Welcome all members and their families...give them a project, get them involved!
  • Use the proper membership tools at all levels to achieve growth, like “Why You Should Belong” and “How We Help” brochures, Post Officer Guide and Public Relations Toolkit.

5. Membership recruiting and retention

  • Establish membership teams at all levels; retention must be the first priority.
  • Develop and implement a strategy for transferring members from Post 2000, the headquarters’ post into their local post.
  • Evaluate current reward and incentive programs at all levels and make recommendations for change if necessary.
  • Develop a working relationship with military senior leaders to offer an opportunity to join the Legion to all eligible members of the active military, National Guard and reserve.  Become involved in all phases of the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program process.
  • Make all new members feel welcome and part of the Legion family.
  • Offer participants in the Legion programs, and their families, the opportunity to support such programs through membership in The American Legion family, if eligible.

American Legion Membership Penetration by County with a goal to 10% by 2019.

Overall, we need to improve our community awareness. We need our community to know that we are not just a bar — that we are about service to our veterans, their families and our communities. We need to be seen as service first, and we must always be aware of our image.

We need to continue to work with our Auxiliary and Sons of The American Legion (members) to welcome them into our complete American Legion Family. And with their help, we will welcome our veterans and their families into this great organization.

Now it's time for you to ...."Be the Change...or Try Again"


Tennessee's Five-Year Strategic Plan as of  January 1st

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