At the beginning of June, the chair of the Marketing Committee initiated the second 2020-2021 Buddy Check program with the help of three Marketing Committee members and six E-Committee members.
The member roster contained 839 active members and 246 expired veteran names. The volunteers called the phone number listed first, and if disconnected, Googled the name for a current or new number for that address. If the veteran had no phone but had an email address, some of the volunteers sent an email. However, to reduce the need to send emails individually by volunteers, our email coordinator sent the Buddy Check message to active and expired members. For the most part, few veterans stated they had any needs except for membership issues that the first vice commander handled and questions about benefits that we forwarded to the service officer.
We called and emailed 47% of the active members. The total active-member numbers dialed were approximately 400 (.468 x 840 = 393), and callers talked to the vet or a family member 36% of the time for a total of 143 conversations versus 106 last year. The number of participants might have been higher if we had made all calls from the post, where the Legion's ID would have appeared on the recipient's caller ID.
We devoted approximately 100 hours (20 more than in 2020) to calling and determined that the weekends were the best time. Our service officer was the most productive in yielding conversations with vets, and he, our adjutant and historian dialed the most numbers.
The exciting thing about this year's Buddy Check program was that the percentage of vets reached was higher than last year, 36% versus 15%, and the actual number of veterans reached increased despite dialing fewer numbers. We suspect the increase was probably due to a greater willingness for the vets to pick up the phone post-COVID, and the persistence of some of our E-Committee callers.