Author and former professor at the Naval Postgraduate School Kenneth W. Thomas once said, “Make sure you’re not just waiting for someone else to fix things or hoping that things will improve. Figure out what’s going on, and make a plan to improve things.”
As veterans, we have all shared that sentiment. It can be a surreal experience when someone raises their right hand to take an oath and swears to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, but it binds us together in a profound way.
As DAV members, we have the responsibility of continuing to lead, to serve and to grow our ranks by recruiting new members.
The reality is, even when a service member takes off the uniform, their earned benefits and health care are not etched in stone. It’s our job not only to safeguard these benefits but also to expand and improve upon them when necessary.
Our national service officers are working hard to secure earned benefits. Our legislative team is fighting on behalf of veterans nationwide. Our rapidly growing employment program is helping veterans and their spouses find work. And our robust volunteer network helps to ensure veterans are getting the critical local services they need. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of this great mission of serving fellow veterans?
The challenge becomes effectively selling the value of DAV membership to prospective members. It’s not a one-size-fits-all endeavor.
Just as important as “selling” a prospective member on DAV membership is our ability to listen to what veterans have to say. Their words can often be used as a road map, providing us the information we need to talk to them directly about the issues that matter most to them. We want them to “buy in” to DAV as much as we want to sell them on the idea of membership.
We want prospective members to feel that they will have a voice and can impact our direction. We want to avoid making them feel like they are just another name on our rolls, but rather that they are an influential and important part of DAV.
We understand the challenges veterans face, and that is why it’s important when speaking with a potential member that we illustrate the whole picture of DAV’s mission—from securing earned benefits to addressing veterans’ overall health and well-being through our programs, and from our legislative efforts to our volunteer programs and employment services.
An African proverb states, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” With the strength of over 1.3 million members behind us, we not only represent the voices of ill and injured veterans before Congress but also must find new voices to add to our mission.
Let’s see how far we can go together by actively recruiting new members to DAV and ultimately strengthening our voice. Make a plan and take action!