2019: Nearly 19,000 Applications & Supplementals Verified – Huzzah!

Written by: Denise Doring VanBuren, President General
December 6, 2019

While I fully recognize that pride is one of the seven deadly sins (!), I simply cannot help but nearly burst with it as we welcomed 1,271 new members into membership in Today’s DAR on December 5. Not only do these women represent the future of our Society, they are a testament to the dedication of our Genealogy Department and our hard-working, devoted chapter registrars, AND part of an increasing growth trend in membership.

We should ALL be very proud that during the first 11 months of 2019 we verified the Applications of 14,507 new members.  In fact, it is a privilege for me to share with you that the total number of Applications and Supplementals both reviewed and verified this year has increased, continuing a five-year trend of growth, productivity and acceptance.  For the first 11 months of this year (culminating in the December board vote on December 5), the combined total of both Applications and Supplementals reviewed is an impressive 23,472, part of an increasing trend.

There are many reasons for this – and much credit goes to the leadership of Genealogy Director Sara Sukol, the dedication of the professionals of our Genealogy Department and the foresight of the executive leadership of recent administrations who provided increased salaries and staffing in order to attract and retain exceptional employees.

Yet I am perhaps most proud of our hard-working chapter registrars, who are so obviously committed to submitting DAR Applications that meet our standards and are of the highest quality. The percentage of Applications being approved on the first pass is now at a seven-year high, averaging 85.5 percent. Further, November 2019 was the highest month in the past seven years, with 90.4 percent of all Applications being approved on the first review. That is outstanding progress.

Thank you, Chapter Registrars, State Membership teams and all those who both work so diligently to attract eligible women AND then submit Applications that are complete and ready for review/approval at headquarters. The most effective way that we can continue our progress is for members to take advantage of our wealth of training and other resources in order to submit properly prepared Applications. If your Chapter Registrar has not yet completed our Genealogy Education Programs, please encourage her to do so in order to continue this trend of better-prepared submissions (which result in faster turnaround).

While we are pleased that Applications are now being reviewed within as few as four weeks, we understand the frustrations of those who await review/approval of Supplemental Applications. You have my pledge that we will continue to seek the resources necessary to address this backlog, which has also been reduced in recent months. However, we do find that these Supplementals are often poorly prepared and don’t contain all necessary information – and this contributes to the delay in processing them. So, let’s together pledge to raise the quality of Supplemental Applications as well. 

Finally, a reminder that we all work together as a team to find new members, assist with their research, aid in their Application submission and celebrate their acceptance. As we know, much is invested in the process to turn a prospective into a member.  Let’s not allow her to drop her membership in a year or after a few years, given that we have made this collective investment in her acceptance. Join me in a commitment to retaining the women whom we have worked so hard to welcome. Get them involved, encourage their contributions and let them know that they are valued.

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