A publication of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. ®
An organization chartered by the U.S. Congress

August 2001/September 2001

Membership Matters

VVA Goes International

By Allen Green, Director of Membership

It's hard to believe the 2001 National Convention is over. Before it becomes a distant memory, I would like to thank all the chapters and state councils for their help in credentialing each of the 642 delegates. It made a big difference to have more than 80 percent of the delegates pre-registered. Most problems were solved prior to arrival in Greensboro. We had a phenomenal 99 percent accuracy rate at election time. On behalf of the VVA Credentialing Committee, a "well done'' goes out to all.

VVA is now an international veterans organization. Joining our chapters in Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands is VVA Chapter 887 of Angeles City, Luzon, Philippines. Air Force and Navy veterans will remember this as the site of Clark Air Base. Please join me in welcoming them aboard.

With the great turnout of new members who joined VVA at the convention, the summer of 2001 was a strong season for membership. September brings the end of summer and VVA's renewal season.  Historically, the majority of our annual VVA and Associate members share an expiration date of February 28. Beginning in October, when these members renew, we will validate their membership through the next February. Each member will receive at least two renewal reminders, with the next reminder due in early October. Our most successful chapters get ready for the new season by fine-tuning their member rosters and updating addresses.

Address accuracy remains the best way to guarantee a successful renewal season. VVA and AVVA mail renewal notices using the Postal Service's bulk mail system. Bulk mail does not get forwarded.  So, when we carry a bad address, the member never realizes that his or her membership will soon expire. This is the primary cause of members not renewing. It occurs most frequently with state-level at-large members.

When a member appears lost, I recommend two search options. The first is the most obvious. If you have the member's phone number, use it. Often, the cause of a bad address is a transposed house number or Zip Code. We also find many of our B-coded addresses were incorrectly classified as bad addresses because the Post Office returned the member's last issue of The VVA Veteran.  Second, the VVA staff uses two websites that help locate individuals. They are http://www.infospace.com/info.abii/index_ppl.htm  and http://www.whowhere.lycos.com/Phone 

The renewal season also highlights the fact that between October and February, VVA and AVVA have a dual-track renewal system. All new members who join during this period--and existing members who joined between October 2000 and January 2001 and renew their dues--will receive an expiration date one year from the month and year of payment. This differs from long-time members who retain their February expiration date from previous renewal cycles. This is a carry-over from our transition to an anniversary-date renewal program and will eventually blend into one system. Until then, be ready to answer questions from your members.

One final reminder is to send dues monies immediately to the national office for processing. Delays in forwarding dues result in delayed mailing of member cards. Overlaps between a member paying dues and the next mailing of renewal reminders is guaranteed to confuse all involved.

We recommend sending all transmittal sheets and checks to the mailboxes in Baltimore. The VVA address is: VVA, P.O. Box 64299, Baltimore, MD 21264-4299. The AVVA address is: AVVA, P.O. Box 64732, Baltimore, MD 21264-4732. It is very important to send VVA dues and AVVA dues in separate mailings, since AVVA now maintains its own finance records. This will expedite processing.

Also, don't forget that AVVA renewals must submit the full $20 per member. Checks should be made out to AVVA. For states with large numbers of incarcerated members, we recommend renewing incarcerated chapters with one transmittal sheet. Double-check prisoner numbers and dues, since each state has unique guidelines on dues and mail format. All VVA and AVVA membership-transmittal sheets can be downloaded from the VVA Membership website, http://www.vva.org/Membership/memforms.htm 


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