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the organizerYou must be thoroughly familiar with the background,accomplishments and objectives of the Veterans of Foreign Wars ofthe United States, as well as the obligations of each Post Officer.You must carefully read and understand the VFW CongressionalCharter, By-Laws, Manual of Procedure and Ritual.You must conduct yourself in a manner that commands respect foryourself and for the VFW which you represent.You must make sure that prospective VFW members are given awholesome impression of the organization. Remember that firstimpressions are lasting ones.If you do not know the correct answer to a question, do not guess.Instead, reply that you will get the answer and give it to the personlater.You must recognize that the VFW can only build its strengththrough personal contact. There is no satisfactory substitutefor doorbell ringing and hand-shaking. No remote, impersonalapproach will work as well.You must resolve that you will not abandon a Post once you haveorganized it. You must continue to help new Posts get solidly on theground. This can be accomplished by making yourself available toadvise and help Post Officers and Committees.

how to organize a VFW PostThere are many ways to make contacts, such as through VFWmembers who live in communities without Posts, as well asbusiness professionals, personal friends and advertising.Do not let the first veteran you talk with discourage you from yourgoal. Somewhere in every community is a veteran who is interestedin the VFW. Maybe he or she is concerned about veterans rights.Perhaps the needs of the community are first in his or her mind.The secret is to find the person, then identify his or her basicinterests. Remember whenever you go into a community to bepositive, speak positive and act positive.New Post Starter Kits are available in the VFW Store!Order one today by calling 1-800-821-2606,or by going online to www.vfwstore.org.

how to get leadsIn nearly every community there are VFW members who belongor have belonged to a VFW Post in another area. These VFWmembers may have been active in the VFW previously but havemoved to a new community without a Post. These people might beinterested in helping you organize a Post in your community. Anyveteran who has maintained membership, even after moving awayfrom a Post, is a good prospect to help you organize a new one.Also, a VFW member who belonged to a VFW Post that has gonedefunct may be helpful in establishing a new Post.Go to city officials or the Chamber of Commerce. They have theinterests of the community at heart and will help. They are awarethat the VFW will be an asset to their community. Many officialsare veterans and they may be able to suggest the names of overseasveterans who might be interested.County service officer programs need the support of veteransorganizations. These service officers can assist in the developmentof a new Post.Go to the county courthouse and ask for recorded servicedischarges if available. These are public records in many counties;contact your county courthouse to confirm that you can accessthese records. From those you can compile a list of eligible veterans.Contact these veterans personally or by mail. If by mail, enclose aself-addressed postcard the veteran can mail back to you if he orshe is interested.

Some newspapers, radio and TV stations will announce news ofyour organizational meeting for free if it is presented to them asa news release. You may also need to use paid advertising such asposters, circulars or advertisements on broadcasting stations or innewspapers.Any veteran who comes to your meeting is interested. Whether oneperson or ten people attend, this is the nucleus for your new Post.Do not be discouraged by a low turnout. These veterans will workwith you in contacting others. After the first veteran signs up, see ifthey can provide the names of other veterans who might be eligible.This has a chain-reaction effect. Before you know it, you will havethe required number (35) for a charter application.HAVE YOU HEARD about the Shotgun List Program?If your Post is trying to find new members in an area, theVFW Membership Department can help. If you provide uswith a list of ZIP codes that you are trying to cover, wecan provide a list of names and addresses for potentiallyeligible veterans in your area at a minimal cost of 75.00per 1,000 prospects.The Shotgun List Program is a great tool for building aPost’s membership at any stage of Post development.For more information, contact the VFW MembershipDepartment at [email protected]

how to get a charter applicationPersonal Contacts – After signing up that first veteran, obtain alist of prospective members. If possible, ask the person to introduceyou to other veterans in the community. If not, he or she mayhave a friend who can help contact prospective members. It ismuch better to have at least two people than to go alone. First, tryto get applications from prominent veterans in the communityand use them to influence others. While you must convince eachprospective member individually, this method is very effective.VFW-eligible veterans are easier to find in small communities. Inlarger communities, evening and weekend calls are usually moresuccessful.When talking to prospective members, be positive in yourapproach. Have no doubt that a Post will be established. Fill outmembership applications for the prospective members, otherwisethey may look at it and say, “Come back and see me later.” Thesecallbacks waste your time, so try to avoid them. Collect enoughdues to cover the National and Department per capita amountsand a little more to begin a Post fund. (No transaction is completeuntil you have a completed membership application with the newmember’s signature and dues.) The Post can change its dues amountat its first meeting if desired.Once you have the first member signed up, do not stop untilyou reach the minimum of thirty-five applications from new orreinstated members required to complete the charter application.Formation - A Post may be formed by completing a charterapplication consisting of thirty-five eligible veterans, of which atleast twenty-five must be new members, submitted through properchannels to the Commander-in-Chief.

Institution - Each new Post shall be instituted within sixty days ofthe date the charter application is approved by the Commander-inChief. If not instituted within sixty days from the date of approval,said approval may be rescinded.Chartering - The charter of an instituted Post shall include thename, date of muster, location and list of members. The chartershall remain open for ninety days from the date of institutionof the Post. After forwarding the charter application to theDepartment Headquarters, call an organizational meeting. Urgethe new members to bring other veterans who may be eligible formembership to the meeting. Suggest that they bring their dischargepapers as proof of eligibility.Organizational Meetings – Get the names, addresses and e-mailaddresses of as many eligible veterans as possible. Set a dateand location for a meeting that will suit the convenience of theprospective members. Advertise by any media available. Do notbe disappointed if your attendance is low — many will wait tosee what happens at this meeting before committing. Explain thefunctions of the VFW and its programs as briefly as possible tothose in attendance. Let them select a temporary Commander andQuartermaster to head the new Post until it is instituted. Explainthe dues structure and let them suggest the amount of dues tocharge. Remember to consider that the dues must include thecombined National and Department per capita amounts. Theyshould also have some money left for the Post treasury.Explain the membership application. Have those present completemembership applications and collect their dues. Encourage them torecruit more members and go with you to make personal contactsin the immediate future. Continue until you have secured a total of35 eligible veterans.

putting the post into operationWithin sixty days following approval of the application for charterby the VFW Commander-in-Chief, members of the new Postshould set a date and a location for instituting the Post.The institutional meeting should be publicized. If desired, thepublic may be invited along with prominent officials and peoplein the community. Consider the size of the meeting place so theroom can be arranged according to the VFW Ritual. Again, thefirst impression is the lasting one. It is essential that the Post beinstituted in a very serious and proper manner. If the Departmenthas a Ritual team, it is suggested that it be used to assist theInstituting Officer in the performance of his or her duty.The Department and District Commanders and their staffs shouldmake every effort to attend the ceremony with as many VFWmembers from the Department as possible. This will give membersof the new Post confidence in the District and Department, andmake them feel that they are part of the organization.After the Post is in good working order and officers installed, aninstructor should be assigned to each chair officer to explain hisor her duties in detail. Special attention should be given to theQuartermaster. The instructor should explain the procedure forbonding the elected Post Quartermaster. Advise the members thatthe Post Quartermaster is to be the treasurer of all Post committeesthat handle funds. (This applies to any club activities.)The Instituting Officer will complete the institution report and sendit, along with the Quartermaster bond, through channels to theAdjutant General.Posts should retain copies of original applications and maintainaccurate Post records as National Headquarters does not keeprecords for awards, anniversaries, etc.

following up witha new postThe Department should have the District Commander assignat least one VFW member who is well acquainted with theorganization to attend each meeting of the new Post for at least sixmonths, or longer if it seems necessary.The VFW member(s) should be able to help the new Post in allaspects of VFW work. It is also important that the VFW member(s)be diplomatic with their assistance.The new Post members must be made to feel that we are there toassist them—not dictate to them.Promotional and informative materials are available upon requestfrom National Headquarters.HAVE YOU HEARD about the Online Membership System?The Online Membership System (OMS) allows VFW members tomanage their membership details via the Internet; dues renewals,address changes, upgrading to Life Membership - all with the clickof a link through our secure online portal.Post officers can also use the OMS system to manage Post business.A Quartermaster can view the Post’s roster, pay members’ dues,transmit a member’s application, and find out how your Post’smembership compares to other Posts in your area or nationwide.For more information about the OMS system, log on to www.vfw.organd visit the MY VFW tab.

general informationNaming of Posts - VFW Posts usually bear the name of theircommunity or the name of a deceased VFW member whom fellowmembers want to memorialize. No Post may be named for a livingperson, other than a living Medal of Honor recipient. After thename has been selected and voted upon, public notice should bewithheld until permission to use that name has been given by thenext of kin or the living Medal of Honor recipient.Selecting Qualified Officers - The utmost thought should be givento the selection of Officers qualified to serve effectively and whoare willing to do full justice to their offices. Do not fill a Post officesimply for the sake of filling it. Be sure every Officer selected hasthe qualifications to fulfill the office’s responsibilities. At the firstmeeting of prospective members, the Organizer should read a listof offices to be filled by election, so members can think about theirvotes before the election takes place.Instituting Officers - The selection of Instituting and InstallingOfficers is up to the Department Commander. Usually the VFWmember selected as Instituting Officer should be a DepartmentOfficer. The VFW member designated as Installing Officer shouldbe at least a Post Commander.Initial Organization - The By-Laws state that there shall be at least35 new or reinstated members on the charter application. Thisfigure is not a maximum. In many communities it may be possibleto obtain 50 or more charter members on the application.

Organizer’s Responsibility - It is the responsibility of theOrganizer to check every application with applicants’ proof ofeligibility, then attest by their signatures as to the eligibility of theapplicants concerned.What Department Gets - The items to be sent to DepartmentHeadquarters are:1. Report of Institution in duplicate. This can be found in thePost Charter Kit.2. A check made payable to the Department for dues coveringNational and Department per capita amounts for all membersbeing reported.3. Any other forms and reports the Instituting Officer shallrequire.Where To Now? It is the responsibility of the Department, Districtand County Council (where one exists) to provide assistance to thenew Post. Do not organize a new VFW Post and then feel that yourjob is done. Several months of follow-up work with the Post areneeded to ensure that it will prosper and grow.

Chartering - The charter of an instituted Post shall include the name, date of muster, location and list of members. The charter shall remain open for ninety days from the date of institution of the Post. After forwarding the charter application to the Department Headquarte