I am Robert Allen and I am a candidate for the Region X Vice-Presidency.  I am very concerned that NARFE’s membership has been on a continuous decline year over year, decade over decade since peak membership in CY1982 (492,000) to 157,000 at the end of CY 2021. CY 20121 saw a drop of 14,000 and we can assume NARFE could lose another 40,000 members in the next three to four years, which will result in a financial crisis.  For the last two years NARFE has seen a financial surplus, but the impact of losing so many members can severely our bottom line.  Tie this with the increase in dues, which accounts for a bit over half of our revenue and our financial situation could get into the red again very quickly.  That’s why we must set reasonable and achievable membership goals. The NEB must take the lead here to ensure we pursue every avenue possible to turn our membership decline around.  I am committed to having the next NEB immediately prepare a two-year membership recovery plan at the start of the next term.  One that the Association will adhere to so we can see positive results in the next three years.  Our recovery plan must ensure that all association officers and members are kept aware of progress or the lack thereof in this effort.


As an Army intelligence analyst, my expertise is operational plans. Having analyzed NARFE’s plans, it is readily apparent that many of the plans are based on assumptions, conjectures, and opinions. The proposed NEB recovery plan must be based on a factual analysis of the association’s strength and weaknesses throughout the entire organization from national headquarters to chapters. Success depends on all levels of our Association improving.


No winning football team takes to the field without a game plan. Yet, this is what NARFE is doing, putting into effect studies without an implementation plan.  We’ve implemented FEDHub, which looks promising, but we went into it without a full understanding of how it will affect our membership.  Time will tell.  However, we should look beyond FEDHub to other initiatives that the entire Association can use to recruit new members, retain those we have, and reinstate those we’ve lost.  As your RVP I will lead NEB efforts, in concert with the headquarters staff and members in Region X to find such initiatives.  This membership recovery plan is key to successfully making changes, but without it conflicts and problems will always arise because organizational impacts have not been thoroughly thought through. Had this been done for one member- one vote (OMOV) and optional chapter membership (OCM) many of the adverse impacts and issues that have arisen could have been avoided.  The same holds for AMS. Detailed implementation plans are done before asking the membership to vote on changes.


To carry the football analogy further, I see one of my roles as an RVP being the offensive coordinator. To work with the national staff and, more importantly, with the federations and chapters and our national-only members to ensure that all aspects of proposed changes are taken into consideration. The goal is to have a cohesive, coordinated membership recovery plan that all levels of NARFE have had an input into and are committed to carrying out and being willing to adjust as needed. NARFE cannot rectify its membership loss problem overnight, but with solid planning and dedicated effort by its members and staff we can and must start our turnaround now.