In an age when teenagers (and some adults) start and end relationships with a text message, we keep tabs on friends and acquaintances through Facebook and professionals send emails more often than they pick up the phone, there’s a lot to be said for face-to-face communication. That isn’t to deny the importance of emails, text messages and social media or how they have revolutionized communication, but they simply can’t replace meeting and talking in person.
That’s why the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance attends 15-18 union conventions each year, despite a staff of about 15 people who juggle 40-45 USA shoots and dinners annually. Attending conventions provides us with the chance to address large audiences as well as speak one-on-one with union leaders and members about the USA and cultivate relationships that lead to the formation of USA dinner committees, new shooting events and conservation projects.
Attending union conventions also helps us grow our union-dedicated outdoor community because everyone who visits the USA booth and fills out an application, enters our daily door prize or gun drawing, takes a spin on our Spin N’ Win wheel or makes a Gun-A-Week calendar donation receives a complimentary USA membership.
As valuable as union conventions are for growing membership and building relationships, attending can be a challenge when you consider event scheduling, manpower and cost of travel, lodging and booth registration. As a non-profit organization, we strive to be efficient with our budget, so we can bring the greatest value to our members and partners while keeping our conservation mission top priority. Before attending any convention, we weigh the estimated costs with the potential benefits and consider whether or not there are opportunities to at least cover our costs through fundraisers at the booth and other methods.
Our all-time record for fundraising at a union convention was $15,775 at the 2012 UA convention, and we hope for a repeat performance this year.
How you can help:
If you’re a union leader involved in convention planning and would like the USA to attend, these are a few ways you can help us:
- Let us know about the convention as far in advance as possible
- Comp booth space for us in a high traffic location
- Allow us to fundraise to help cover costs
- Provide us with a speaking or presentation opportunity
- Let us know if we can pre-promote our booth and activities
- Stop by the USA booth – we’d love to talk to you
- Encourage fellow members to stop by our booth
Attending a union convention this year?
If you’re attending a union convention this year, there are many reasons to stop by the USA booth (if we have one):
- Learn about USA events and conservation projects
- Order your USA 2017 Gun-A-Week calendar(s)
- Learn how the USA can connect you with union brothers and sisters outside the workplace
- Apply to be a guest on USA’s Brotherhood Outdoors TV show
- Earn prizes from Buck Knives, Carhartt and other USA partners on our Spin N’ Win wheel
- Enter to win gear in our Daily Door Prize drawings
- Enter to win guns, cash or other gear in USA’s 50/50 or gear drawings, while helping us offset the cost of attending the convention
By all means, post on our Facebook page, chat on our forums, text us your hunting and fishing trophies—we love it all. But we really want to meet and talk to you in person. Although we can’t make it to every convention, don’t hesitate to invite us. We’d love to see you there!