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American Legion Auxiliary
Department of Illinois

Centennial Strategic Plan Overview

Our 5 Strategic Goals are Increase Overall Membership, Create a Culture of Goodwill, Develop Qualified Leaders, Strengthen our Department and Units along with Joining The American Legion to Build Brand Loyalty.

Our First Year Initiatives were -
* Board of Directors Training- a training session was held at last year's Fall Board of Directors Meeting and also yesterday for the voting members of our Board wherein we discussed their overall duties including their fiduciary responsibilities.

* Board of Directors Disclosure - We are debuting a newly designed, comprehensive report which we hope will be easier to understand.

* Illini Girls State - A review of IGS has begun and structural changes and updates are currently in the works as have been mandated by National.

* Leadership Training - We were lucky enough to be assigned a national training team for Saturday, April 18th. Over 100 members attended this most informative day.

* Policies and Procedures - We took the first step towards a centralized and standardized set of policies and procedures. The Finance Committee has begun the task of establishing financial related policies and procedures. Additional policies and procedures are being formulated.

* Investments and Financial Reserves - A more aggressive investment approach was researched and implemented, always keeping in mind the precious nature of our available funds and the need to make them grow. A Fidelity Brokerage account was opened and funded.

* Year End Reports - Taking the lead from the National Report forms, we developed a new Unit Report. An on-line reporting template was developed that could be accessed by Districts and all interested members through our Department website. Each District was directed to our website where they would enter the results of their tally of Unit reports. Each Department Chairman was then directed to the web results to gather the information as reported by the Units that they needed for their programs reporting.

* Our first year accomplishments are noteworthy but there is still a vast amount of work to be done. 

Goal 1 - Increase Overall Membership - Deb Lewis as Goal Captain with Teri Miller.

Initiative 1: Work as a Department to meet the National Membership goals as reported and set by President Kathy and Membership Chairman Pam. Wholeheartedly embrace their plan of action and work together to attain stronger, more vibrant and diverse Department.

Initiative 2: Membership Wall of Fame: Units, Districts, and Divisions exceeding their membership goal will be placed on the Membership Wall of Fame at Department Convention. The Wall of Fame will have Bronze Level at 100 - 102%; Silver Level at 102.1 - 105%; and Gold Level at 105% and above.

Initiative 3: Ensure a positive experience for all members by promoting an internal culture of goodwill. Wear your "Let's Be Kind" buttons to all Unit functions as a reminder of our goal to treat each other well. Welcome all members, respect members of all ages and backgrounds and respect the input and ideas of all members. Ask for and be open to new and different ideas. Return to making personal contact with all members at the unit level. Don't expect all members to attend meetings, and don't chastise them for not doing so. Promptly address and resolve conflicts in a positive manner.

Goals 2 and 3 - Develop Leaders and Create a Culture of Goodwill - Luella Buske as Goal Captain with Pat Sienkiewicz and Linda Kilmer.

Culture of Goodwill
First we have to have a positive attitude, this is a must. If you are not in a positive attitude at this time I hope that you will be positive after you hear all the program plans for the new year. We want to plan for a positive uplifting year.
When you sat down at your table today, did you know everyone at your table? If you didn't did you introduce yourself and make everyone feel welcome? (Hands) Being positive and introductions are two simple acts of goodwill. (Speaking, smiles, shake hands or a hug-acts of goodwill)
If you do have a problem that your unit is facing or a unit in your District, ask for help, there are people to help. Let's try to leave out names, let's just take care of the problem. We know we have to build up membership so be sure to ask, and remember goodwill about auxiliary.
Sometimes a thought in our head gets bored and goes for a stroll out through our mouth. Sometimes this is not a good thing. Be on guard.
Be a motivator for your team. Talk success in your Division, District and Units. Some areas are smaller than others; however we have to keep the morale and energy up and going forward. Use e-mail, phone tree or whatever works best for your area, to spread the word effectively. Communication is vital and will show growth in your goals.
As is said: People want the front of the bus, back of the church and the center of attention. Let's give the Culture of Goodwill with encouragement to all!

What is the definition of Leadership? When I did a Google search there were so many answers it was mind-boggling. The one I felt best fits our needs says "Leadership is about 3 things: listening, inspiring and empowering".

This committee has discussed how to reach these goals.
First we must all listen to all members of our organization--- then take what we learn and inspire and empower others. Our inspiration is serving the veterans and working our programs. Empowering may be providing the ways and means of being a great leader.
A couple of suggestions we want to put forward for consideration is having a short snippet in each ALA plus the website. Another idea is to do leadership courses on line. We are getting information on how best to do this. In our busy lives it is sometimes hard to have a day for travel and attending a leadership course} but if we could log on to our computers or join in with our phones to participate} we may be able to take part more times and listen to each other for ideas.
Please use your Unit Guide Book. It is a great resource! Every member should have access to one.
Please remember this quote from President John Quincy Adams: .. If your actions inspire others to dream more} learn more} do more and become more, you are a leader..
You are all leaders!

Goal 5 - Build Brand Loyalty in Conjunction with The American Legion - Marsha Haag as Goal Captain with Gailwyn Starr and Rebecca Sue Johnson.

We are striving to achieve brand loyalty. How will we do this?
Initiatives and goals should be set and then strive to achieve them. We NEED TO and CAN achieve this !!

It won't happen overnight BUT it is possible. At IGS Gail Starr, also a committee member and I tossed around a few ideas. All can be accomplished. Rebecca Johnson is also on our committee and we spoke briefly at Department convention.
Sample initiatives:
1. Wear your pin proudly at all ALA activities and wherever you go when representing your Unit. Purchase the Presidents pin this weekend if you haven't already and get it on your lapel. Have a few on hand for your Junior members and other Unit members. $3 should be affordable.

2. If you have apparel with the ALA logo, wear it to events. Be a proud member. SMILE when you wear it.

3. Window stickers are available from Emblem Sales, purchase a few to share. It could be a nice little thank you for membership to all your members and especially when you sign up all these new members. Give them one.

4. If it doable in your area, try advertising your Unit. Tell some things you're doing, successes you've had and try and spark interest in membership. If it's in print in front of people to see, along with the logo and a few smiling faces, hopefully this will peak interest.

5. If you have a ALA patch, put it on a favorite garment and wear it proudly.

6.Name badges are another popular way to tell people which organization you are affiliated. These can be simple blue badges with the ALA lug on them and no year has to be specified. A business in our area makes them reasonably.

Sample Goals:
1. Purchase pin or lugs to show your membership in the American Legion Auxiliary. The membership pins the presidents sell is a perfect example.

2.There is a lot of jewelry available through emblem sales. Several members could go together to create an order and have it available for sale at your meetings.

3.Make sure to wear your name badge at Auxiliary functions to the public can see what organization you're associated with. Encourage other members in your Unit to do the same.

4.Have window stickers available for sale to your members.

5. If its affordable to you, purchase and proudly wear the ALA apparel. It could promote conversation and land new members

Resources

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