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may/june 2009

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BY BILL MEEKS, JR., CHAIR

VVA membership expanded from 40,000 members in 2001 to more than 50,000 members in 2005, and VVA will reach 60,000 members by the time of our Convention in Louisville. Most of our success is due to the outstanding job the membership is doing recruiting new members. Retention of members from year to year has improved. A good portion of those renewals are converting to life membership. That sharp increase has pushed life membership in VVA to 49 percent of our overall membership.

Another area chapters may explore to provide additional members—an area that is often overlooked or under-utilized—is the at-large member rosters within each state. Those rosters comprise about 20 percent of our current VVA membership totals.

There are many reasons members choose at-large status. Here are a few: 1) Some new members do not designate chapter affiliation on their VVA membership application; 2) Some have experienced unpleasant chapter affiliations; 3) Many at-large members live in rural locations with no nearby VVA chapter; and 4) Some did not receive information about how to locate a VVA chapter.

If you’re an at-large member with a desire to join a VVA chapter near you, go to the VVA’s web site, www.vva.org Click on “Membership.” Under “Related Links,” click on “Locate Local Chapter” and check out the chapter locations within your state.

There are many reasons that 78 percent of our membership is committed to chapter affiliation: 1) Chapters maintain high visibility with community-geared projects and programs; 2) Chapters provide better communication by using the Internet to contact members and the general public; 3) Chapters provide a mentor role for younger veterans; and 4) VVA members are assuming a larger leadership role on veteran legislation.

Some at-large members might insist that they already have been chapter members and for one reason or another didn’t like the experience. But have they checked out our chapters lately? They might be surprised. Regardless of members’ decision to affiliate or not, we’re still glad they’re members of VVA.

 

 

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