WHITE PAPER 3 – Reunions and Other Events

Recruiting and retaining new members through attendance at reunions and other events can be a powerful strategy for veterans organizations like the United States Submarines Veterans, Inc. Here’s a five-step plan to effectively utilize these gatherings:

1. Plan and Promote Engaging Events:

a. Diverse Event Options: Organize a variety of events, including reunions, special commemorations, charity drives, and community outreach activities. Ensure that these events cater to different interests and demographics within your veteran community.

b. Event Calendar: Create an annual events calendar to give members a clear overview of what to expect throughout the year. Share this calendar well in advance so that members can plan their attendance.

c. Personal Invitations: Reach out personally to members who haven’t attended recent events. Share the benefits of attending, such as reconnecting with comrades, sharing stories, and contributing to your organization’s mission.

2. Improve Event Experience:

a. Guest Speakers: Invite distinguished guest speakers, veterans, or experts to share their insights or experiences related to submarine service. Engaging speakers can draw more attendees.

b. Workshops and Panels: Host educational workshops or panel discussions on relevant topics, such as veterans’ benefits, health, or transition support. These sessions can provide valuable information and foster a sense of community.

c. Recognition and Awards: Acknowledge and celebrate achievements and milestones of your members during events. Recognize exceptional service, accomplishments, or contributions to your organization.

3. Network and Build Relationships:

a. Networking Opportunities: Create dedicated networking sessions or mixers during events. Encourage members to interact, share stories, and make new connections.

b. Buddy System: Implement a buddy system for new attendees, pairing them with experienced members who can introduce them to the community and make them feel welcome.

c. Digital Engagement: Use social media or event apps to facilitate networking and communication before, during, and after the event. Encourage attendees to stay connected virtually.

4. Membership Promotion:

a. Membership Booth: Set up a dedicated booth or information table at events to provide details about your organization, its mission, and the benefits of membership. Encourage attendees to join or renew their memberships on the spot.

b. Exclusive Event Benefits: Offer special perks or discounts to members attending events. This can include early access to event tickets, reserved seating, or exclusive merchandise.

5. Feedback and Follow-Up:

a. Post-Event Surveys: Collect feedback from attendees after each event to understand what worked well and what could be improved. Use this information to refine your future event planning.

b. Follow-Up Communication: After events, send personalized follow-up emails or messages to attendees, thanking them for their participation and encouraging them to stay engaged with the organization. Share event photos and memories to evoke positive experiences.

By implementing this five-step plan, the United States Submarines Veterans, Inc., can leverage reunions and other events to not only strengthen its existing member base but also attract new members who can contribute to the organization’s mission and camaraderie.