The Centennial Plan

Goal 1 (Increase Membership)

Our first strategy was to increase membership by 400 through 2019.
The initiatives were:
a. Implement Membership Task Force with volunteer Past Department Presidents.
b. Plan fun activities in the communities.
c. Provide publicity in all forms (print and social media).
Our outcomes were:
Three Past Department Presidents worked with units to retain membership and encouraged these units to mail in membership on a weekly basis. The Past Department President who is also a District President had 100% membership with her units. With the help of two Past Department Presidents two new Units were formed and another is in the process.
We did a great deal of talking about fun activities but the only one we were able to implement this year outside the district meetings was a membership roundup on a Saturday early in 2015 where members came in for refreshments and called over 200 members who had not renewed. A grocery store donated cakes which were used as prizes for the members who called the most members. Units were encouraged to join with their posts to have a picnic or a similar activity.
The Department continued to use a Facebook page to communicate with members and promote activities. Units were encouraged to participate with the Department on online fundraisers (coffee and plants) that were talked about on the Department Facebook page. Units were encouraged to place pictures in their local newspapers about their activities. The Department Executive Director has worked with Lamar to provide a billboard in the Columbia area free of charge advertising membership in the Auxiliary. Phonevite and Constant Contact were utilized to publish events and membership goals.
Our second strategy was to invest in opportunities to attract, engage and retain members.
The initiatives were
a. Offer incentives to units that retain the most members.
b. Furnish each new member explanation of programs and survey interest.
Our outcomes were:
The units were given cash awards at each district meetings for those who brought the most membership. This year we did not specifically focus on incentives for retention but this is planned for future years.
Units were encouraged to email new members the new member kit or alternatively to print and furnish to all new members. The Department President wrote a handwritten note on specially printed notecards featuring her picture to all new members (juniors and seniors) who joined the Department this year.
Our third strategy was to engage Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom veterans and their families in ALA service.
The initiatives were:
a. Participate in local and state job and health fairs for visibility.
b. Participate with the Family Readiness Groups of the South Carolina National Guard in serving veterans’ financial needs.
The outcomes were:
Units were encouraged to go to Yellow Ribbon events and participate in post open houses and job fairs where a table could be manned to promote membership among veterans’ families.
The units were encouraged by the Department President to seek a National Guard unit in their area and to partner with them in celebrations (i.e., Christmas, Easter and homecomings) and furnish refreshments and children’s gifts. A Past Department President works as a contractor to assist National Guard units and at our annual convention she passed out a brochure to each unit listing a contact person such as herself in all areas of the state. Unit members were encouraged to use this brochure and make contacts and form lasting partnerships.

Goal 2 (Create An Internal Culture of Goodwill)

The first strategy was to create an environment of compromise for the good of the Department.
The initiatives were:
a. Educate and enrich members with innovative ideas.
b. Lead by example.
The outcomes were:
Committee Chairmen were encouraged to give awards to unit winners from their plans of action that were not the traditional certificates or plaques. These ranged from a print of the United States flag to big pencils with big erasers. Members were encouraged by our Leadership Chairman to think “outside of the box” and to not do things just because “we have always done it that way.” At annual convention multiple awards were given based on unit size rather than on overall accomplishments.
The Department hosted a National workshop which was attended by 63 members. Members were given a notebook that they were able to take home with them and encouraged to share with others. This notebook contained a copy of all of the power point presentations used by the presenters.
The second strategy was to create an atmosphere of civility.
The initiatives were:
a. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
b. Maintain a positive attitude.
c. Think twice before speaking.
The outcomes were:
At each District meeting the Department President presented a message encouraging members to apply these three initiatives and she distributed buttons that said “Be Kind to One Another.” Also, at the District meetings, fall conference and the annual convention the Department Leadership Chairman presented tips on applying these initiatives beginning at the unit level.

Goal 3 (Develop Leaders)

The first strategy was to identify person who have leadership qualities.
The initiatives were:
a. Observe unit members’ activities at all levels of the Department for leadership qualities.
b. Ensure quality of the Department activities with use of technology.
The outcomes were:
The Department’s Leadership Chairman encouraged members at District Meetings, fall conference and the annual convention to find their leadership style and gave many tips to encourage members to step up to leadership roles.
The Department bought a projector, a laptop and a large speaker to use at District and Department meetings so that power point presentations and music could be used to enhance learning activities. At the annual convention members learned to fold pocket flags with the instructions being placed on the screen and one-on-one instruction. This projector was also used to display power points furnished by National on plans of action at fall conference and at the workshop provided by National leadership.
At fall conference a power point presentation was given that demonstrated how to write quality reports.
The second strategy was to utilize positive Past Department Presidents from different quadrants of the Department to share their knowledge.
The initiative was to ask for volunteers from different geographic quadrants of the Department to share their knowledge.
The outcomes were:
Three Past Department Presidents participated in delivering plans of actions to units and encouraged unit members to pick plans that they could perform with the size of their units. Various Committee Chairmen wrote articles for the Department bulletin and excerpts from their midyear reports were placed in the bulletin to furnish additional ideas to units on working the plans of action.
The Department Leadership Chairman encouraged units to assign mentors to new members and to make personal contact with each other, to pick up the phone and/or write a personal note and let members know they are important.
The second strategy was to target and encourage unit members to serve on Department committees.
The initiatives were:
a. Define interests of all members attending Department functions.
b. Educate all members on programs of the ALA.
The outcomes were:
The leading candidate for Department President made notes at each District meeting and fall conference of members who were engaged in these meetings and endeavored to use these individuals if they were willing to serve as Department Chairmen or committee members for the upcoming year.
At each District meeting power point presentations were shown on each plan of action and members at these meetings were encouraged to ask questions.

Goal 4 (Strengthen The Department of SC And All Units)

The first strategy was to implement budget items for unit incentives in all program areas.
The initiatives were to:
a. Promote sense of enthusiasm regarding awards to be given.
b. Provide innovate awards to unit other than plaques.
The outcomes were:
The Department President encouraged all Committee Chairman to be enthusiastic when awards were presented at annual convention. Some brought props (such as hats) and other played music.
The Department provided a budget of $30 to each Committee Chairman to provide tangible awards to units and awards were broken down into three categories for each plan of work, units less than 25 members, units less than 100 members and units over 100 members so that even a small unit could be rewarded for excellent work.
The Membership Chairman provided an enthusiastic membership rally at all District meetings, fall conference and annual convention complete with music, encouraging members to clap and be rewarded for bringing membership and reaching their goal. Many smiles among members in attendance at these meetings were seen.
The second strategy was to promote regular one-on-one communication with all members.
The initiatives were:
a. Encourage unit participation in Bulletin, “Auxiliary in the News.”
b. Role playing telephone techniques at Department meetings.
c. Educate in preparing personal “elevator speeches.”
The outcomes were:
The Department continued its use of Constant Contact o send email blasts and encouraged all members to furnish their email addresses so that they could receive these blasts regarding membership and department activities. Over 300 members took advantage of this opportunity.
Realizing that many of our members do not regularly use email, the Department initiated a Phonevite system for all members of the Executive Board and all unit presidents so that a short phone message could be delivered encouraging participation in Department activities and achieving Department goals. This was very well received as this system allowed a message to be left if the member were not able to answer the phone personally.
The bulletin was prepared and mailed to all unit presidents and Executive Board bimonthly and all Committee chairman were invited to send in articles. Unit presidents were encouraged to share the Bulletin with their members. Units were encouraged to share news from their units for inclusion.
The Department President wrote two personal letters and mailed to all unit presidents encouraging them to meet reporting deadlines and to attend Department events. In prior years the most reports received by a Department Chairman was 12. This year one Chairman received 30 reports and all chairmen reported increases in reporting.
The Leadership Chairman presented information at district meetings and fall conference regarding telephone techniques that promote comradery.
The Membership Chairman encouraged members to prepare a short speech when asked “What is the American Legion Auxiliary?” and sample elevator speeches were presented to members at the district meetings.
The third strategy was to engage in fun/educational activities for units.
The initiatives were
a. Offer new opportunities for units with the goal to unify unit members.
b. Provide outdoor fun activities for the Legion Family.
The outcome was:
The units were encouraged to participate with their posts in open houses, picnics and other Legion Family activities.

Goal 5 (Work With TAL and Build Brand Loyalty)

The first strategy was to initiate quarterly meetings with the TAL and the ALA.
The outcomes were:
The initiative was to contact the adjutant via written communication with a follow-up call.
The Department Adjutant, the Department Commander, the Department President, and the Department Executive Director held two meetings which were very productive. Our annual convention was very well executed by this increased cooperative spirit. An evening mixer for the Legion Family was held for the first time at annual convention and all attending reported a great experience.
The Department President was invited to write two articles for the Connector, the Legion Department newsletter.
Units were encouraged to initiate such meetings at their posts.
The second strategy was to wear ALA shirts, hats and pins at community volunteering and events.
The initiatives were:
a. Designate Wednesday as day each week to promote ALA pride in what we wear.
b. Encourage wearing ALA attire at public appearances.
c. Wear patriotic attire.
The outcomes were:
The Senior Vice President encouraged members to wear patriotic attire to the District Meetings and the Department President, Senior Vice President, Junior Vice President, and the NEC wore the red membership shirts, “One in a Million” to all district meetings.
Members were encouraged to buy “Honoring Their Service” buttons to honor their veteran and to wear them to encourage the public to ask about the button and possibly ALA membership. Order forms for this button were available at all District meetings.
The third strategy was to develop a marketing plan for the Department.
The initiatives were:
a. Explore possibility of a meaningful “gift” to promote ALA membership.
b. Explore “free advertising” sources.
c. Encourage participation in social media.
The outcomes were:
The Department President designed a small tent card with the requirements for ALA membership that was distributed at all District meetings for members to give out to encourage others to join the ALA.
Lamar was contacted and plans are in progress to give the Department a free billboard advertising ALA membership in the Columbia area. The Department’s only cost was artwork.
Units were encouraged to establish Facebook pages to promote themselves and their activities.

Click Here to download a copy of the Centennial Worksheet.

Connect With Us Today

American Legion Auxiliary
Department of South Carolina
810 Dutch Square Boulevard
Suite 211
Columbia, SC 29210
(803) 772-6366 - Office
(803) 772-6284 - Fax


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