2016 - 2017 Membership Guide

We've just started the new Membership Year 2016 - 2017. Although we are now back to a full 12 month period (September 1st - August 31st) and the dues are back to a standard amount a lot of the posts are continuing to make mistakes on the DNRs they are sending to the Department. The problems arise because a lot of you will not take the time to educate yourselves on the proper procedures and instead prefer to be spoon-fed the information. In the past I have added or renewed the members that were properly included and sent emails back to the posts on the mistakes that were made. I did this to try to be more accommodating instead of just sending back the mistake-laden package to be redone as in the past. However if the errors continue to be repeated as they have been I will have no choice but adopt the new procedure. I have tried to educate everyone in the Department with this Membership Guide in the newspaper/online and again we will have instruction training at the Fall Conference which should answer all of your questions. Again this year I will upload this guide and instructional materials for those who couldn't make it to the conference on the Department website - your best bet is still to attend! The major mistake most of you have been making and continue to make is sending renewals for the new membership period that are not current for the previous membership year. This is a recent requirement from National and to renew a member for 2015 he must have paid his dues and be current for 2014. If he skipped that year or a number of years he cannot be renewed. There are 2 ways to get these members current. One is to pay their dues for 2014 & 2015 (if 2014 is the only year not current) or to add them as a new member. To figure this out you must do a little work on your own by checking with the database for your post that is being provided by National. The Commander, 1st Vice Commander and Adjutant have the capability of downloading this list from the National website. Another mistake is not including the proper amount of dues with the DNR to the Department. This has been a continuing problem because of the changes in dues structure over the past 2 - 3 years. For the membership year 2013 the dues portion allocated to the National was $13, to the Department was $7 (total $20) and the rest was kept by the post. For membership year 2014 which was the adjustment year of 8 months the dues allocated to the National was $8.66, the dues for the Department was $7 (total of $15.66) and the post kept the rest. Now for the new membership year 2015 the National portion was raised to $15 while the Department's portion was raised to $8 (total of $23) and the post of course keeps the rest. You have to remember when renewing a member for one of these renewal periods the proper amount of dues must be included. Both the National and Department are going almost completely digital meaning that every post should either have a computer or have one of their members with a computer to handle the information flow. Along with this we are also trying to get as many email addresses as possible from our members. When you sign up a new member be sure to request this. I have noticed that a considerable amount of new member cards are coming through without email addresses. If your post doesn't have a computer or doesn't know how to use one let me know and I will provide one with instruction. National is sponsoring a recruit membership drive. For every 5 new members you sign you will receive an AMVETS challenge coin and your name will be entered into a drawing for a California Resort stay and free cell phone. For more information check the National/Department website. So what we need are step-by-step instructions on how to renew, transfer, add new members and I am adding process Deceased Members. There are a few things about the deceased member form that virtually no one is taking advantage of and I will explain that below.

So what do we understand from the information above and how do we handle taking care of renewals and signing up new members?

Here is how we do it:

  • 1. New Members - When someone wants to join as a new member the process is the same as it has always been. You have them fill out an application form, take a copy of their DD-214, current ID card or other document provided to them after discharge and take their money (each post has their own fees charged for members - if you are not sure what you should be charging contact me and I will let you know what your fee structure is). Once the individual has been accepted by your post as a new member you fill out the membership card (the one with the flimsy copies - you must fill out the information completely as National will not accept new members without service & service dates, DOB and address) and give the top one to the new member. This will be his permanent card for the remainder of the membership year until renewal time. You now have 2 options - enter his name on a DNR (alphabetical order) (only 1 copy is now required) and forward it with 1 flimsy copy (only 1 is now required) to the Department with a check for $23 for each new member or you can go online to the National website and enter the information and pay for the new member yourself with a credit or debit card (the information on how to do this can be downloaded from the Department website Membership page). The cutoff date for new members is May 31st of each year. After that all new members with will be added to the roster for the following membership year ( in this case on June 1st, 2015 the member is current for 2016).
  • 2. Renewals - The first most important thing when dealing with renewals is to determine the current status of the member. If the member is current for 2014 and is renewing for just 2015 then you can enter his name and membership number on a DNR (alphabetical order) and send 1 copy with a check for $23 for each renewed member to the Department (please do not send member applications for renewals). If the member is not current for 2014 he must renew for both 2014 and 2015 to become current. To do this you can enter his name and membership number on a DNR indicating that he is renewing for 2014 and 2015 and send 1 copy to the Department with a check for $15.66 (2014) + $23 (2015) for a total of $38.66 for each of this type of renewal. As above this can be done on the National website as well. You can mix new and renewing members on the same DNR if you like just please put them in alphabetical order. At this time you will provide them with the printed plastic membership card from National - there will be a card with a 2014 expiration date for those renewing for 2014. If they were a new member in 2014 then for their renewal in 2015 they should receive a plastic card with the 2015 expire date. If a member is renewing for 2015 and they have a card expiring on 2014 they will receive a sticker (previously sent to all post Commanders) with the 2015 expire date to place over top of the 2014 expire date - If you run out of stickers let me know and I will get some to you. If the member has a lost or stolen card, a replacement can be ordered by filling out the replacement card order form and send a check for $5. These cards are to last for 3 years with just replacing the sticker each year so do not throw these away until new ones are printed.
  • 3. Life Members - these members will be handled the same as always. Fill out the Life Membership Form and forward it to the Department with a check for $187.50 for each life member. New Life Members can be handled on the National website as well but conversions (already an annual member) must be forwarded to the Department. Their membership cards will come directly from National when they process the package.
  • 4. Transfers - You transfer a member by filling out the member transfer form - you can download this from the National/Department website. Make sure you fill it out as completely as possible and send it to the Department for processing.
  • 5. Deceased Members - As with transfers you can download the deceased members form from the National/Department website and fill in the information as completely as possible. Most posts are just filling in the top half and leaving the bottom blank and as mentioned earlier they are not taking advantage of the suitable for framing Memorial Certificate and Carillon chimes that the National Service Foundation furnishes. This is a valuable keepsake for the deceased's family - so go the extra mile for them. I have a copy of a completed form in the Fall Conference training package.
  • Just a quick note about revalidations. You will be getting all of your information on revalidations from the Department only via the Department website and emails. If you can't do either give me a call and I will mail you the proper paperwork. You are not to pay any attention to what National is saying about revalidations. If you do not revalidate properly with the Department sending all of the required information by the indicated time provided, your post will be suspended until the information is provided whether or not you sent anything to National. The revalidation package will contain a checklist indicating all of the required information which must be returned to the Department. This checklist must be returned with your package to the Department as well with all appropriate signatures