Magazine article VFW Magazine

Membership: Telephone Route to Member Retention

Magazine article VFW Magazine

Membership: Telephone Route to Member Retention

Article excerpt

VFW's Membership Department is testing telephone marketing to bring unpaid members back into the fold.

If you haven't paid your VFW dues and you get a call from what seems to be a typical telephone solicitor, don't be so quick to slam down the phone. VFW is testing a new approach to urge delinquent members to pony up their membership dues.

It began on Jan. 21 this year when VFW Membership Director Jim Rowoldt gave a list of 50,000 names to a Kansas City-area telephone marketing company. After paring the list down to some 28,000 names, the calling began. Rowoldt has personally observed the operators at work and believes it has potential.

"I've watched as they (telephone solicitors) have called delinquent members," Rowoldt said. "Right away the callers identify themselves as VFW representatives. It communicates to our members that we're not trying to sell them something."

Rather, Rowoldt explains, it is more a friendly reminder that VFW National Headquarters has not yet received the member's 2002 dues. So far, he says it seems to be working.

As of Feb. 15, the telephone solicitors had called some 7,700 delinquent members. Rowoldt said that 15% to 20% of the VFW members reached had agreed to pay their dues by check or money order. Another 1% to 2% paid over the phone by credit card. Less than 5% told the telephone operators they would not renew their memberships, and 3% were deceased. About 1% fell into what Rowoldt called "hardship cases."

"We refer these back to the home Post so that they can investigate or help the member renew," he said. …

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