Resources for the 50 State Veteran Presentation Challenge

Here’s what you’ll need to print and take along with you when you give your presentation to your local Veterans group.

Checklist 1. Use this checklist to take you through every step, including finding and approaching a local veteran’s group, giving your (amazing and helpful) presentation, and letting us know about it.It is on the page below, and you can print out a copy here.

Presentation 2. Use this presentation especially designed for veterans during the event – all the work has been done for you! We suggest you print a few copies to take along in case your slideshow doesn’t work.

Veterans brochure 3. Print as many copies of the Veterans brochure, in color, as you like.

Letters 4. Here are template letters you can use to mail to request time for a presentation and one to follow up and thank the Post Commander.

Home funeral story 5. This is a one page, very good home funeral story for a Veteran that you could print to take along Folding the Flag for Milton story.

Results 6. Come back here and let us know that YOUR state has been covered. (Note: lots of presentations in the same state are not only encouraged, but celebrated!)

 

CHECKLIST FOR NHFA VETERANS PROGRAM PRESENTERS

Finding a venue

  • Get the address for one of these organizations local to your area
    • American Legion
    • Veterans of Foreign Wars
    • Disabled American Veterans Association
  • If you can, try to find the name of the Post Commander because you are going to write him/her a letter. The draft of the letter is included below.
  • These organizations hold regular meetings and are always looking for presentations
  • The buildings are usually empty and no one is there until there is a meeting, so writing a letter and waiting for a response is the best way to go.
  • Send a letter explaining what you want to do and he/she will contact you.
  • Better yet, if you know a Veteran in the area, he/she may be able to help you get on the docket.
  • Wait about two weeks for a reply
  • If you are persistent, you might ask to speak to the Post Commander prior to a dinner of their regular meeting.

Congratulations! You have a time and place!

  • After your presentation is approved, follow up with the Post Commander
    • Thank him/her
    • Find out about how many people are at a presentation
    • Find out if you can see the venue ahead of time to figure out your computer, projector, sound, etc.
    • See what equipment he has for you there. You will need
      • A projector (could be a large TV)
      • Either your own or their computer
      • The correct wire that goes between the computer and the projector
      • Will you need amplification? A microphone? It depends on the hall and your voice, so give that thought.

Prepare

  • Practice the presentation either in PowerPoint or in .PDF
  • PowerPoint is complicated and also very good because you can write and see your own notes where the audience can’t. But if it is too difficult to use, don’t worry about it because you can use .PDF
    • If you’re comfortable with PowerPoint, update the final slide with your own information
  • The .PDF version will easily work and you will need to have a printed copy of your notes
  • Print out the following to take along (all on the NHFA website)
    • About ten copies of the Home Funerals for Veterans presentation in case there are technical difficulties – you can pass these out
    • Resources sheet (we have a sample copy on the NHFA website).
      • Note that this has information on how they can Honor a Veteran with a donation but you are not there to push this. Just mention it.
    • NHFA brochure
    • If you like, some copies of the Folding the Flag for Milton story to hand out.
  • Put your presentation on a backup ‘jump’ or ‘flash’ drive
  • Make sure all your technical needs are ready, like wires to the projector, your computer power cord, etc.

At the presentation

Before You Begin

  • Test the equipment
  • Give out handouts necessary for talk BEFORE; give out additional material AFTER.
    • Before: your business card, the presentation to a few folks who may have trouble hearing or seeing (or if your projector is having trouble)
    • After: A Flag for Milton; Resources page
  • Review your material!
  • Breathe deeply and slowly to relax yourself
  • Have water available
  • Look for a friendly face
  • Smile and look relaxed

Engage With Your Audience

  • Pause for effect and then introduce yourself
    • I’m Mary, a member of the National Home Funeral Alliance
    • We help people learn their legal right to care for loved ones at home
    • We have a goal to help our Veterans know this information in every state in the union, including our great state of <YOUR STATE!>.
  • Play this two minute video if you can: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUAYjmYqA9I
  • Explain that you have information for them they may not know of – that may not be for everyone but this crowd of folks who likes to do things their own way, often with the help of their buddies and families, might be interested in what you have to say
  • Go through the presentation. Go slowly and speak up. It’s a lot of information.
  • Check for EGO (Eye Glazing Over) of audience…make changes when you detect it!

Handling Questions

  • Questions during your talk. Make sure you get back on track, and don’t let these questions go on too long.
    • You can tell folks you are keeping a list of questions to be sure all are answered at the end
  • Questions after a talk are more discursive. Be prepared to give additional information (e.g., implications of things you said, other views, where to get more information)
  • Be honest if you don’t know an answer.
    • Write their name and question down, and later find out how you can get back to them with an answer. Then come to NHFA for help.
  • Be polite if someone tries to put you down.
  • Stay in control of question time and know when to finish (check for EGO!).

When it’s all over:

  • Follow up – send a thank you to the Post Commander
    • Let him know you are available to give this talk again or for another group
    • See the sample follow up letter, which lets him know how to donate in Honor of a Veteran to keep this education going
  • Pat yourself on the back – NHFA is patting you on the back FOR SURE!
  • Go to the NHFA website and log your experience – this is key so we know your state got covered!