Membership Recruitment and Retention
Direct Mail, Telemarketing, and Canvassing
Our business is basically communications and we've lost the imagination of the average guy on the street.
—TED EUBANKS, MEMBERSHIP DIRECTOR,
NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY
The only option is to go back to the people and talk to them, to try to find out why these issues don't seem to resonate—to try to find the embers and fan them into life once again.
—BRUCE BABBITT, SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR
National environmental organizations would cease to exist without the support of individual contributors. 1 As a result, the recruitment and retention of members by the leaders of these organizations are matters of great importance. Significant staff time and organizational resources are dedicated to the nurturing of membership. Currently there are three main methods of membership recruitment and retention used by large public interest membership organizations: direct mail, telemarketing, and canvassing. 2 Each method has its strengths and weaknesses, but when used in combination, together with the proper messages, these techniques have produced positive results for a wide variety of organizations.
Direct-mail marketing in the United States is big business. According to the most recent data available from the Direct Marketing Association, the umbrella organization for the direct-mail industry, the United States Postal