An effort to increase membership among the young.

According to a May, 2016 AARP article, the average age of a VFW member is 67 years old. Of its total membership, 400,000 are 80 or older, contends AARP. This is out of 1.6 million members. A thousand posts have closed the past decade and the VFW has lost one third of its membership in the past 20 years.

Organizations often find themselves against difficult odds and alter their communication/marketing approach. McFarland believes this reality is critical for the future health of the VFW. “I’ve been to posts–to meetings–the aging membership is true. Bringing younger vets into the fold infuses the organization with actively-engaged business leaders and such who get things done–something any organization that wants results requires for success,” McFarland states. “After all, we don’t just want the VFW to survive; we want it to succeed.”


A Broad Campaign

Clearly the campaign to revitalize the VFW is possible and will require multi-media. Outdoor advertising is a great start. Millions of square-footage is vacant at any one time across the U.S. Outdoor marketers frequently use this vacancy for charitable advertising and the VFW should certainly be at the forefront in this regard.

Below are three comped billboards in sketch-form that aim at the younger vets. The final will be full-color illustrations. Just as Cadillac, Buick and the PBA saw a changing demographic and altered their message, so too the VFW will need to connect to the younger veterans and give them a sense of value. Clearly, the future of the VFW can be as bright as the past, but effort to evolve along with the evolving culture is a must in retaining a strong voice for veterans both for today and tomorrow.