CONVENTION UPDATE: As of the last Convention meeting, here are a few items that you need to know.

  • Parking has been resolved, Motorcycle parking will be directly behind the Wyndham Hotel on the corner of N. Myers St. & Pier View Way.
  • The Host Hotel is Holiday Inn registration & credentials will be set up there for early check in.
  • At the site of convention Junior Seau Recreation Center Beer & Wine will be sold. This is a CASH ONLY bar. Tickets will be sold for beer & wine consumption. YOU are strongly encouraged to purchase tickets.
  • Transportation to and from Hotels will be provided by Erika from SOS. Make sure you get a card with her number and donations are encouraged. Erika provides rides to our service men & women through your donations.
  • Chapter assistance, in order to make this a great convention we all need to pitch in and help. For some time, I have asked for chapters to either contribute $50.00 per chapter OR a raffle gift towards convention. If you haven’t done so please consider doing one or the other.
  • PRE-REGISTRATION is encouraged, if you haven’t done so please pre-register. This helps the host chapter plan for food, shirts and all preparations necessary to prepare for a major event like this.

Working links from above

Register on line at

Hotel reservations website:

RV parking: or


Good morning Riders!

I wanted to share a quick snapshot of where the ALR DoC is sitting in regards to membership. 


Gary Teicher, our Membership Officer, has been collecting basic membership information since last convention, and has been taken directly from your online rosters, which should be getting updated monthly.   


This is a simple line graph that shows overall ALR DoC membership, and is broken down further by each of our programs (Veterans, SAL and Aux).


As you can see, we peaked in overall membership growth in the Oct-Nov time frame with 2,165 Riders, and as of the January membership report, we are sitting at total department membership of 2,115 Riders, with an overall Department wide membership growth of 4.9%. 


A good percentage of our Chapters have had positive membership growth since last convention, with Chapters 521 (Elverta) and 739 (Indio) having tied with the largest membership gains (each growing by 23 members). But even with an overall net membership gain, what is concerning is that we are seeing fairly significant membership losses in several of our Chapters.


As you can see from the chart, Veteran membership has had the most fluctuation, with SAL and Aux membership maintaining a fairly steady state.  


However ... after we peaked in the Oct-Nov timeframe, we have seen a slight decline in net membership. This could be attributed to Chapters finally getting around to updating their rosters, or we could actually be seeing a decline in membership for other reasons.


So what?  How does this apply?

Statistics show that in any volunteer organization, the largest attrition is from 1st & 2nd year members who join, but fail to renew for a multitude of reasons, but mostly because the organization has failed to engage with them in a meaningful way.  They get bored and/or disenchanted, and then quit.


Bottom line is that we need to do better in meeting the needs of our members, and making the ALR a group more people want to belong to. If that means taking a look at what the Department or Chapters are doing, and make the necessary course corrections, then that is what needs to be done.


You will start seeing an exit poll that departing members will be asked to fill out anonymously when they leave their Chapter. This will be optional of course, but we need to start identifying and quantifying why members are leaving the ALR. Maybe it’s a Department level problem, or maybe the issues lay closer to home within the Chapter, or the member themselves. Or maybe it’s a combination of all the above. But either way … we really need to work towards making the Riders an organization that more people want to belong to.


Please pass this information out to your Chapter members, and use it to start discussions on what your Chapter/District can do to increase recruiting and increase that 1st & 2nd year member retention.  


Randy Brenneman

Vice President

American Legion Riders

Department of California



As Riders, we have done a great job in remembering and honoring the veterans from past conflicts, but are we doing all that we can for the current generation of Veterans?


In the Constitution of the American Legion, the last of the two purposes of the Legion say “to cement the ties and comradeship born of service; and to consecrate the efforts of its members to mutual helpfulness and service to their country.”


We all are aware that when the Vietnam War ended 43 years ago, veterans were not welcomed home or given the support they needed. Since then we have vowed “Never Again” would we allow veterans to return home from our nations conflicts without welcoming them home, and doing everything we can to help them adjust back into civilian life.


Flash-forward to now, and we have vets who have returned (and are still returning) home from combat in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. Because of the type of urban warfare and advances in battlefield medical and trauma care, we are seeing these veterans returning home with physical and mental wounds that were seldom seen in past conflicts. Double, triple and even quadruple amputees have become less rare. And Traumatic Brain Injury and PTSD are savaging our returning troops.


We cannot forget what previous veterans went through when they returned home, and we must vow to do more for these returning veterans! We need to spend more time and effort to focus on providing help and support for these veterans!


We need to find out what it is they want and need from the Legion. We need to make sure our Posts and Chapters are providing them what they are looking for. We need to be willing to do the hard and unglamorous work to help them be able to return to a normal civilian life. Do not let our current generation of veterans experience the lack of support our Vietnam era veterans did.


I challenge each Chapter/District to find a way to help our returning veterans, or veterans in need, and create a minimum of two events per year to provide support to this generation’s warriors who need our help the most.




I wanted to share some suggestions and ideas on how to organize and effectively carry out a membership campaign at the Chapter level.  But keep in mind; perspective Riders must first become members of their parent organization. So your recruiting strategy should ensure you’re not only bringing in quality Riders, but quality Veterans, Auxiliary and Sons too.


To be successful, every Chapter needs a strong and effective membership campaign.


Sounds easy enough … but how do you actually go about developing one?

  • Recruiting new Riders, reinstating former Riders, or retaining existing Riders is a matter of selling and enforcing the positive aspects of why they need to be members! To do a good job of selling, you must know the product—in this case, the American Legion, its programs and objectives. Questions will be asked and must be answered.
    • I would suggest having your Riders attend the American Legion Extension Institute (ALEI). This can be done online, or you can contact Mick Sobczak, and he will come to your post and teach it face-to-face.
  • A successful membership recruiting campaign must be carefully planned and effectively carried out. Organizing a membership campaign must include capable personnel, good planning, continuous supervision and regular evaluation of the results. But most of all, hard work is required in order to get the job done.


No membership program can be successful unless it is carefully planned and has definite objectives.

  1. Select a Committee: Chapter Presidents should appoint a capable Rider as Membership Officer (Chairperson), then work with this rider in selecting a committee and planning a membership campaign.
  2. Set a realistic Goal. Your recruiting goal should be realistic and achievable. This goal should include categories for new and reinstated Riders, as well as retaining current Riders.
  3. Brief the Committee: Dates should be established for the Membership Committee to report to the Chapter on the progress of the membership campaign.
  4. Publicize Membership Efforts: Use your Chapters communication tools (Facebook, Website, Newsletters, e-mails etc.) to emphasize your successes!
  5. Incentivize recruiting success: Make recruiting fun. Set incentive goals. Ask members of your Chapter and Post to help sign up new and reinstated members; Announce contests, dinners and other incentive awards. Advise the membership of your Post on progress of the membership drive and announce winners of contests and awards.
  6. Measure your results:  You need to have a way to measure your results.  This way you can make a quantitative decision on ways (if necessary) to adjust your strategy for better results.  


Membership Booth. A popular method of recruiting is a membership booth. This method is fairly simple and can be used by nearly any Chapter, regardless of its size or location. The following general outline will produce new members and help to reinstate former members.

  1. Start Early
    1. This will work best as a joint Post/Auxiliary/Chapter operation.
    2. Contact the manager of a shopping mall, trade show, state or county fair, or any place there is a large public gathering. Ask permission (or pay) for space to set up a membership booth. Serve refreshments (if possible) at the booths.
    3. Give advance news releases to your local newspaper and radio stations regarding your membership booth.
    4. Place recruiting posters and signs in store windows, post signs at the entrance to your city and along major thoroughfares or any place the public will notice them.
    5. Obtain an adequate supply of recruiting and informational material. Some material is available from Department and National Headquarters. Other material can be obtained from Emblem Sales.
  2. The Operation
    1. Decorate your booth with recruiting posters. Display informational material on the table. At least one Post member, Auxiliary, sons member and one Rider (wearing Parent program caps or ball caps with Post or Chapter logo) should be in the booth at all times. Display a sign large enough to let everyone know you are there.
    2. If laws allow a drawing, get a member or merchant to donate a gift, prepare tickets with stubs that show name, address and telephone number, hold the drawing and save the stubs for later contact.
    3. As eligible prospects visit the booth, inform them of the American Legion programs and pass out informational material.
    4. This is the most important! As eligible members visit the booth, TALK with them and determine whether they are interested in joining the American Legion. If they wish to join, SIGN THEM UP. If they don’t wish to join at this time, DON’T BECOME DISCOURAGED. Just make sure that you get their names and addresses and find out when they will be available so you can follow up with them
  3. The Follow Up
    1. Within a few days, assemble teams of members to contact the eligible members and talk to them about joining the Riders. This is the time to check their discharge papers and collect their membership applications and dues. Getting their dues increases your chances of recruitment.
    2. Be sure your membership teams are prepared to answer questions about the various American Legion programs.
    3. When a new member joins, make them feel welcome. Ask the new Rider to take an active part in the Chapter as well as the Post, and to help recruit others. Remember that everything you do prior to calling on a prospective member is a form of advertising and Public Relations. Actual selling is done where a perspective member feels at ease, and can give full consideration to the importance of being a member of the American Legion Riders.

I know this was long, but I hope you were able to get something that you found useful in devising your Chapter's recruiting strategy.


Randy Brenneman

Vice President

American Legion Riders

Department of California

(559) 285-8513

From: 04/20/2018 12:00 pm
Thru: 04/22/2018 1:00 pm

Working links from above

Register on line at

Hotel reservations website:

RV parking: or


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