Fellow Marines, Corpsmen, and Associates,
At the MCL Spring Conference, I spoke a bit about what it takes to recruit and retain new members to the Marine Corps League. I talked about a proven method that has been working for eons. It is as simple as talking to people that you see around town, wearing either a T-shirt or a baseball cap that has Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard emblazoned on it. I also mentioned placing a business card or a recruiting flyer on the windshield or driver’s window of any vehicle displaying any service icon or bumper sticker. Attending street fairs and going to places where Veterans congregate was another option.
I may have mentioned several other things; we all know what has to be done, but the main problem is going out and doing it. Several Marines came to me and said that they had tried everything that I had mentioned and it did not work for them. Their Detachment needs members or the Detachment will cease to exist so they need a foolproof way of growing their Detachment. New ways have to be implemented, like using the social media, the internet, yada, yada, yada.
For a while, I wondered how behind the times I must be but decided to set out and use the old proven method of “talking to people”. I invited 14 people to attend the next 597 meeting in April. Know from the very onset, that not everyone you invite is going to show up. Not at the next meeting, the next one or the one after that! It took me one year to get Ben Pfister to finally attend his first meeting and look at him now. Ben is a very productive member of the 597. He has served as Adjutant, Ship Store Captain, and now is the Poundkeeper of the Ventura County Devil Dogs…and Ben has further aspirations to gain a position with the MODD at the State level.
To prove to myself that using the old proven method of talking to people still works, in spite of the internet, of the 14 people that I invited to our April meeting, here is the result.
Members of the 597 sponsored by Matt E. Valenzuela, Past Commandant April 2018
1. Ivone Quintero-Cagnacci, Marine, became a regular member
2. Jeffrey Cagnacci, Marine, became a regular member
3. John Calderon, Past Commander of DAV Chapter 55 became an Associate4.
4. Wendy Calderon will wait until she is through school to become an Associate
5. Doug Bamforth, fellow Chaplain of VFW Post 10049 became an Associate
6. Jo LeFevre Bamforth, Auxiliary member, VFW Post 10049 became an Associate
7. Paul Lopez, Veterans Chair at the VA, became an Associate
This means that 7 people said ‘yes’ to my invitation and 7 people said ‘no thanks” at
this time. Some people may fear “rejection”, being told “No, thanks!” and quit inviting people after the first ‘No’. So it may be a personal thing and not the “old method” that doesn’t work. Out of 61 people at our April meeting, 18, or 29.5% were personally sponsored by yours truly using the “old method” of talking to people.
I wrote this article not to brag and not to complain, but to prove to myself and to the ‘naysayers’ that the things we already know how to do and have in our head, work, but they have to be implemented.
Matt E. Valenzuela
Jr Vice Commandant
Marine Corps League
Department of California
310-768-2847 Office Mon-Fri 0800-1800
310-308-7015 Mobile Mon-Sat 0700-2000
Sunday – Fo’get about it.