Goals change focuses on new recruits

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Conversion of partially paid members de-emphasized

New recruiting goals for the 2019 will increase the focus on attracting new veterans to join the organization, moving away from previous objectives that emphasized converting partially paid veterans to life members.

“We got a lot of feedback from the field and agree that the conversion of life members, while still critical to the health of our organization, isn’t as important as onboarding new veterans and adding their voice to our cause,” said Doug Wells, National Membership Director. “We want to make sure we’re recognizing chapters and not penalizing them for introducing DAV to as many veterans as possible.”

Membership in DAV determines the amount of funds chapters and departments receive in distributions from the national organization’s fundraising program. Those distributions fuel grassroots charitable efforts at the community level. Prior quotas emphasized conversion because it was frequently difficult to receive continued support toward life memberships after someone had joined.

However, according to Wells, converting partially paid members is more successful than ever before when veterans apply using a credit or debit card.

“When someone pays outright or signs up using recurring payments, DAV doesn’t have to continually track them down to ask them to stay in the fight. We can focus our time and communication on providing information that provides clear services to the veterans we serve,” Wells said.

Cash or check paying applicants must make a minimum $40 down payment toward life membership and receive statements soliciting their continued support. Debit or credit card applicants can sign up for as little as $10 and customize future distributions based on their ability to pay.

According to Wells, the change is based on feedback from the field. Chapter and department leaders who achieve their goals are recognized for the effort. But conversion requirements for chapters who had a large percentage of partially paid members reflected poorly on those who fell short of a requirement many considered arbitrary to DAV’s overall mission.

“We believe our recruitment goals are well within our reach,” said Mick Aguirre, past department commander from Minnesota. “Focusing on the new recruits and easing the initial financial burden is a step in the right direction.”

DAV has 1 million members nationwide, and though the number has ebbed and flowed, Wells believes DAV’s focus on providing relevant services and fighting for veterans’ benefits will keep it from declining significantly as other member-based veterans service organizations have in the modern era. To aid chapters and recruiters, DAV is enhancing member advantages and providing resources that make it easier for them to succeed.

“We looked at our at prospect files and created a Hotlist,” said Wells. “This Hotlist consists of more viable candidates or new prospects for recruitment. They are new veterans or veterans who have never heard of the DAV or made contact with us. They are recent, eligible veterans that DAV has identified as good candidates.”

The new goal paradigm will enable DAV to increase the size of its ranks by becoming more accessible to a broader population.

“Focusing on part life members was like preaching to the choir,” said Wells. “They’re already involved and a part of DAV. This will help us reach the three million disabled veterans who don’t know about DAV, whether they have been out for several years or just transitioned out of the military.”

Chapters can request a Hotlist for their area by contacting the National Membership department at 1-888-236-8313 or email membershippublic@davmail.org.

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