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

December 2001/January 2002

Membership Matters

Customer Service

By Allen Green, Director of Membership

Itís halftime for renewal season. As our VVA and AVVA membership chairs gather to map out their second-half strategies, we offer several suggestions on how to insure a winning season. VVA National mailed the first renewal forms in October 2001. These went to all annual members with expiration dates of October 2001 through March 2002. The second mailings arrived in early January. They target the December 2001 through May 2002 members. Our most successful chapters time their own renewal campaigns to coincide with the national reminders.

This technique guarantees a double reminder that itís time to renew. Some VVA and AVVA members intend to renew but lose track of their expiration dates. When chapter membership chairs show a personal interest in maintaining the account, it guarantees a favorable impression. Compare this to your experiences with a good salesman: the familiar face and friendly handshake are the two best tools to "make the sale." This is also a great time to suggest the life-member option.

The next step is to confirm the memberís information (address, phone number, e-mail, etc.). Here in the VVA Membership Department, we send more than a thousand member cards a week during peak season. At least 20-30 cards come back undeliverable from each batch because of incorrect information. For this season, the contractor who mails the renewal forms for VVA has done a change-of-address search prior to the mailing. This helps us find members who have moved since last year. It has been especially helpful for locating at-large members.

I am proud to claim success with the VVA membership database. Many remember the tough transition that occurred two years ago, but the bugs are gone and we are turning out renewal forms and mailing cards within two weeks of receipt. Your comments and concerns from previous years were taken to heart, and weíve worked hard to be able to offer such a guarantee.

Our thanks go to Network Express, the contractor who designed the system, and to the VVA membership technicians who spend long hours processing your forms. To help us maintain our track record, I remind you to send all VVA membership monies to VVA, P.O. Box 64299, Baltimore, MD 21264-4299 and AVVA membership monies to P.O. Box 64732, Baltimore, MD 21264-4732.

With the move to Silver Spring, the turnaround time is increased when chapters send their renewal forms and monies to us rather than to the Baltimore addresses. Itís also important to separate VVA dues from AVVA dues. Send separate payment checks (made out to VVA or AVVA, as applicable) and remember to send the full $20 for Associate dues.

VVA Membership Committee Chair Bill Meeks asked that I include a reminder about the Membership Outreach and Recruiting Program (MORE). The MORE program has been in existence for many years, yet few chapters or state councils are aware of how it can help local member drives. VVA National supplies the tools for you to recruit Vietnam veterans and family members to VVA and AVVA. For example, MORE kits include applications, Agent Orange and PTSD VVA Benefit Guides, copies of The VVA Veteran for complimentary distribution, and when desired, a large, tabletop display unit.

The display unit fits on a typical 3'x6' table and contains photos and signage to attract potential members. We ship it to you. The only cost is the return shipping fee for the display kit--normally less than $50. Itís a great deal and yours for the asking. There are two tabletop displays, so we recommend that you reserve them in advance. Contact VVA Membership at 800-882-1316, extension 115, to schedule the displays for 2002.

Finally, VVA has begun a big push to enter membersí e-mail addresses into the main database. Our goal is to insure that we can send out critical information on veterans benefits, legislative issues, and simple VVA information quickly and at low cost.

E-mail me at agreen@vva.org  and ask for your chapterís roster in the EXCEL format. Iíll include the e-mail field from the database and chapters can update this information and return it to VVA Membership. Itís a simple way to insure VVA takes the next step to offer better customer services to our membership.


E-mail us at TheVeteran@vva.org

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Vietnam Veterans of America ģ 
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