By Charles M. Pickett
The national VFW Membership Department supports the mission of the organization by hosting webinars, focused on topics such as retention, processing applications, and validating qualifying overseas service.
Prospecting was the topic of the December 2015 webinar (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rx5mvghuehA&list=PLS17GMBrjUlatKGz__QdpAoUHnXAvaPXi&index=11).
It is something I give a lot of thought to because there is an oversized emphasis placed on finding, signing, and retaining members in the VFW. Not to bring up the obvious, but the bulk of American veterans are, old. But that is for another post.
Prospecting is any action to put a recruiter face-to-face with a potential member.
A prospect is an individual that appears eligible for membership in the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
What method works best for the target market: telephone, referral network, advertising, PR (PSAs, press releases), direct mail, personally developed contacts (PDC).
Telephone > most efficient prospecting tool available
Referrals > asking people if they know anyone who might want to join, every person is a potential source of referrals
Advertising > national does mailouts (targeted, blanket)
Social Networking > Facebook, Twitter, and VFW sponsored websites
Current members: called, visited, door-to-door, ask for referrals
Local Guard/Reserve Units; Homecomings/Yellow Ribbon events; Veteran Job Fairs; USO at airports; Veteran Representatives at colleges; VFW flyers/magazines at Barbershops; VFW Material in VA Hospital waiting rooms; past membership rosters
Guerrilla Prospecting: Mil license plates, shirts, caps; FOI DD214s; military recruiters
Quartermaster Tools: unpaid list, print list > divide list among a committee.
Yellow Ribbon Events: https://www.jointservicessupport.org/Events/Default.aspx?State=92a3e852-48ad-4c64-b398-9bec19d6eb98 This is a searchable event calendar for Yellow Ribbon 30-60-90 post-deployment events.
Recruiting Booths: Great for creating public awareness: state fairs, job fairs, any event that has veterans or provides community awareness of VFW (don’t stand behind table!)
Shotgun List Program: $75 per 1000 names/addresses. Get from a company. May get dead vets.
CENSUS DATA: www.veteransdata.info
Student Veterans: SVA college groups, cultivate relationships