Veterans service organizations, the services they provide, and how they attract and retain membership are topics that are near and dear to our hearts here. They will be a continuing topic on the veteran’s page. This is just a brief introduction….

Traditional Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) such as: The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and AMVETS were based on a model of fraternal organizations popular in the early to mid-1900s. At the time, they grew into large veterans advocacy groups with powerful political lobbies supported largely by male veterans meeting in local beer halls. Despite a surge of Post 9/11 returning veterans, the average age of membership in these organizations remains in the late 60’s and climbing. This model does not resonate with returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who have a more diverse gender profile and an age range between 18-45.

Traditional VSOs have leadership who are aware of the risks. Not changing the organization culture to attract new members will result in declining financial contributions and decrease in political voice. The challenge is in convincing the aging, club-focused membership the change is beneficial.

Combining the strengths of a traditional veterans lobby with the civic-minded activism of organizations such as Mission Continues, Team Rubicon, and Team Red, White and Blue would have large appeal to Post 9/11 veterans. Post 9/11 veterans are interested in continuing their service on the home front, and these organizations offer participation in large scale community service projects. The traditional VSOs, through strategic partnership, would extend their legacy into the next generation of returning war veterans.

Do you have any information about Veterans service organizations?