If you missed the October Division III Leadership Development training session in Fuquay-Varina, you missed a fun event. The instructors were energetic, informative, and easy to follow. They shared ideas on how to improve posts by understanding better how to manage a post, develop a strong membership program, and build a solid public relations program.
Leadership development training is an extension of the annual Legion College program. We are trying to ensure that all posts have an opportunity to share ideas with other post commanders and post leaders by taking training to them; division by division.
The training was hosted by Jerry Mangum, Division III Commander, and led by Past State Commander, Bill Oxford, NC Department Leadership Chairman.
James Moore, NC Department Membership Team, spoke on the duties of the Post Commander and what makes a good leader. He encouraged all to review the Officer’s Guide provided to post commanders each year. He also reminded everyone to build their posts around the design provided in the manual; for example:
- The Post Commander is entrusted to supervise all duties of all officers of the post
- The First Commander assists the commander as the membership chairman, working with the post adjutant, and
- The Second Vice Commander assists the commander as the building manager, supervises building rentals, and ensures the meeting rooms are setup.
Lee Heavlin, NC Department Public Affairs, spoke on post public relations and communications. He reminded us all that the preamble to our constitution sets the standard for what drives public relations and communications. We exist to
- Promote Americanism,
- Preserve the memories and incidents of the great wars (and current conflicts), and to
- Build a sense of individual obligation to our community, state and nation.
We need to share our programs, projects and activities with our community. This not only provides them information on what we do, it also demonstrates the positive contributions of our members. We are here to serve our community. He emphasized the use of local newspapers and other media by providing press releases on post activities. “It works!,” he said, as he shared examples of recent district American Legion media coverage.
Heavlin also provided information on the rapidly changing world of communications, print media, and social media. Our returning veterans are very informed and are seeking information on veterans groups. He asked, “Will they be able to reach your post and get information on what you are doing?” Many posts do not now have a web site beyond a static page of contact information.
Heavlin also stressed that public relations drive post membership. Websites are our silent recruiters. They are the visible link to our posts. Information on no-fee telephone service and call forwarding, no-fee web hosting and software, no-cost photo editing, and no-cost office suite and publishing software was provided. The tools needed by posts to publish news and information are available without cost. The only cost is time invested by members and the post communications chairman. Watch this site for more information.
Bill Oxford, NC Department Leadership Chairman, spoke on duties of Post Adjutant. The adjutant is the post secretary. They handle all administrative and membership matters for the post like a First Sergeant in a company command. He also stressed the importance of maintaining post minutes (our historical record) and filing IRS Form 990N each year.
Greg Gabry, NC Department Membership Team, spoke on membership. He also provided information on how to setup a membership table, and provided recruiting and informational brochures. We were provided with information about and viewed MyLegion.org.
Jerry Mangum stress the important of all posts supporting the Veterans’ Service Funds. Has your post provided their annual contribution? Each post provides 50 cents for each member. Funds support the American Legion Home and veterans relief.
Our host, Post 116, Commander was Lee Johnson. His post is most impressive. It includes two buildings, about 20 acres and sits on a hill overlooking Johnson Pond. The pond is 20 acres and 16 acres are owned by the post. Their newest building is about four years old. It contains a clubhouse area, a large meeting room, and covered picnic area. The meeting room is awesome and has hosted over twelve weddings this year so far. The design team for this room did a great job with wall design, lighting, and colors.
Their post website is well constructed and contains a lot of pictures of the site, the rental areas, and the construction of the facility. Take a look
Division II Commander Mangum reminded all that the future of our posts and the Legion rests with the post leaders. They build and create the post environment that builds a strong, welcoming post. Everything in the Legion starts in the local post home. How about yours?
Our next combined meeting is the November 17th District 12 meeting at Mebane Post 95.
Additional resources (click on link to view):
- District thoughts on post membership development
- The American Legion, “Who are we?”
- IRS Form 990 filing
- Post By-laws