From the Jaws of the Sr. Vice Commander (Stan Kogutkiewicz)
The Department of Wisconsin started the membership year needing 346 new members to reach 100% membership. We currently need 107 more new members for 100%. The goal is within reach!
We now have 11 Chapters that have met or exceeded their membership goal. These chapters are: Chapter 3 (1 over); Chapter 4 (met goal); Chapter 17 (3 over), Chapter 18 (met goal); Chapter 23 (1 over); Chapter 29 (1 over); Chapter 30 (2 over); Chapter 51 (4 over); Chapter 53 (1 over); Chapter 57 (met goal); and Chapter 64 (1 over). Congratulations!
The Department of Wisconsin has been number one (1) in Membership Division III for the past three years. That was easy to do, because the Chapters did not have to do anything. The Department Goals were based on the number of Part-life members who were paid up to Full- life members. In the past at this point in time, the Senior Vice Commander would be calculating how many Part-life members he/she would have to pay up to Full-life to guarantee first place.
For this program year, National finally got smart and realized that with the old program, DAV was not gaining any NEW MEMBERS. With the new program, it’s up to the Chapters to recruit new members. We started this year in seventh place in our division. We quickly dropped to eighth place and that is where we are now. South Carolina has the first place spot in Division III with 211 new members over goal.
DAV National has provided Departments with lists of potential members. The list for the Department of Wisconsin has 46,468 names on it. One would think that with 44 DAV Chapters we could find 346 new members.
Out or curiosity I counted the number of members in the Department who joined with a $40.00 down payment and became inactive because they quit making payment on their membership. The number is 130 inactive members who did not follow up on their 1 membership payments. One Chapter had 17 members that went inactive. (Good recruitment – Poor retention.)
What do you want for your Chapter: Quantity – $40.00 down payment and let the chips fall where they may or Quality – sign the potential member up on a credit card and have them become a sustained member?
Resistance to change is human nature and I can see where some of our members might be intimidated by the new membership program. This program is requiring Chapters to do things that most have never done before. The preferred method of contact, prescribed by DAV National, is mail. The thought of folding recruitment letters, stuffing envelopes, putting mailing labels on envelops and – The Big One – attaching postage stamps at $.55 each are exhausting.
There is an easy way to do this. Write the letter, give the letter and your mailing list to your local printer and let him do the work. One Chapter sent 1,234 two-page letters at a cost of $495.48. The key is being recognized as a non-profit organization by the U. S. Postal Service. I highly recommend doing this or at least for sending out meeting reminders. Send meeting reminders to members in a reasonable commuting distance and not just the ones that regularly attend the Chapter meetings.
I thank Past Department Commander John Polk for providing the following information that he gathered without leaving his house:
The process to obtain a Non Profit number from the Post Office
• Talk to the printer you are going to use. To get an understanding of the process from his perspective. Shop around and look for the best deal.
• Google how to apply for Non Profit US Mail Status: https://ribbs.usps.gov/locators/find-bme.cfm
• Download Publication 417 and Forms 3623 and 3624
• Google the Post Office’s Business Mail Entry Unit near your location and get the number and address of the Post Office people you need to talk to.
• Fill out Form 3624 mailed to Business Mail Entry Unit. You should receive your nonprofit number to give to the printer in about 2 weeks.
The Department made it to the Elite Eight! Unfortunately, we lost to Arkansas. Arkansas lost to Georgia. Georgia lost to Missouri. So the winner of March Madness is Missouri. Thanks to those who helped get us to the Elite Eight. Much appreciated!