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How to Save the World
Unformatted Document Text:  10 noticed an increase in members because residents wanted to get involved in protecting their countryside.” Headlines can often point the way to a potential audience waiting for an opportunity to be included in the fight. What forms of communication do you find most helpful in keeping your members involved and informed? Attracting members to an organization is only the first step in sustaining non-profit environmental organizations. The data show that the next step is keeping members involved, motivated, and turning them from an annual member to a lifetime member. There is no simple solution to this undertaking. Keeping members informed through a steady barrage of newsletters, emails, and phone calls can achieve the opposite effect and can turn a member off of the organization. Hence, some agencies have different classifications for its members. “We have ‘armchair’ members who are purely financial backers and do not want to be inundated with updates and progress reports,” said a Boston-based director. “We simply send them a reminder that their annual pledge is due, follow it up with a ‘thank you card’ and that’s all they want to hear from us.” It saves the progress reports, and volunteer appeals go to active members who have a more involved interest in the agency. The More You Know Most of the organizations interviewed indicate that targeting their communication effectively and differentiating their memberships allows them to keep their members up-to-date on current campaigns and successes. “We obtain specific member information through a survey that we send out with our ‘New Member Packet,’” said one respondent. A typical survey measures a member’s comfort level of involvement, the issues in which he or she has an investment, and any additional comments the member would like to voice. As one Boston public relations director indicated: The more we know about a certain member, the better we connect with him or her to get more accomplished. If a member tells us that she is only interested in water quality issues because she lives on a river, then we know that we don’t have to send her an action alert on pesticide control. But when the local paper mill proposes an addition to their plant further upriver, we are confident that a quick phone call and an emailed list of addresses will get that member into gear. It’s ironic that more can be accomplished with a single phone call than with 15 newsletters spread out over the course of a year.

Authors: Nordhoff, Andrew. and Downes, Edward.
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10
noticed an increase in members because residents wanted to get involved in protecting their
countryside.” Headlines can often point the way to a potential audience waiting for an
opportunity to be included in the fight.
What forms of communication do you find most helpful in keeping your
members involved and informed?
Attracting members to an organization is only the first step in sustaining non-profit environmental
organizations. The data show that the next step is keeping members involved, motivated, and
turning them from an annual member to a lifetime member. There is no simple solution to this
undertaking. Keeping members informed through a steady barrage of newsletters, emails, and
phone calls can achieve the opposite effect and can turn a member off of the organization.
Hence, some agencies have different classifications for its members. “We have ‘armchair’
members who are purely financial backers and do not want to be inundated with updates and
progress reports,” said a Boston-based director. “We simply send them a reminder that their
annual pledge is due, follow it up with a ‘thank you card’ and that’s all they want to hear from
us.” It saves the progress reports, and volunteer appeals go to active members who have a more
involved interest in the agency.
The More You Know
Most of the organizations interviewed indicate that targeting their communication effectively and
differentiating their memberships allows them to keep their members up-to-date on current
campaigns and successes. “We obtain specific member information through a survey that we
send out with our ‘New Member Packet,’” said one respondent. A typical survey measures a
member’s comfort level of involvement, the issues in which he or she has an investment, and any
additional comments the member would like to voice. As one Boston public relations director
indicated:
The more we know about a certain member, the better we connect with him or
her to get more accomplished. If a member tells us that she is only interested in
water quality issues because she lives on a river, then we know that we don’t
have to send her an action alert on pesticide control. But when the local paper
mill proposes an addition to their plant further upriver, we are confident that a
quick phone call and an emailed list of addresses will get that member into gear.
It’s ironic that more can be accomplished with a single phone call than with 15
newsletters spread out over the course of a year.


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