ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATURE ASSOCIATION/ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK ASSOCIATES

Contact: Marsha Yelick, Acting Membership Director at (970) 586-0108 ext. 19
Members: 3,500 for the whole organization
Database: 11,000
Interviewed: Marianna Ashby, former Membership Director

Rocky Mountain Nature Association is the umbrella organization that helps raise money for public agencies in the Rocky Mountains. The Rocky Mountain National Park Associates raises money specifically for the national park. There is also the Heritage Society that raises money throughout the state of Colorado.

Levels of Support

$25 - Individual
$35 - Family
$48 - Individual 2 Year
$50 - Supporting
$67 - Family 2 Year
$95 - Supporting 2 Year
$100 - Contributing
$190 - Contributing 2 Year
$250 - Partner
$1,000 - Lifetime

Benefits

Individual - A 15% discount at RMNA bookstores and similar discounts at other national bookstores. An invitation to"Members Only" special events. Discounts on Rocky Mountain Field Seminars.

Family - An RMNA canvas book bag. A 15% discount at RMNA bookstores and similar discounts at other national bookstores. An invitation to "members only" special events. Discounts on Rocky Mountain Field Seminars. The quarterly RMNA newsletter. Sample of the park newspaper.

Individual 2 Year - A 15% discount at RMNA bookstores and similar discounts at other national park bookstores. An invitation to "members only" special events. Discounts on Rocky Mountain Field Seminars. The quarterly RMNA newsletter. Sample of the park newspaper.

Supporting - An RMNA canvas book bag plus an RMNA Publication. A 15% discount at RMNA bookstores and similar discounts at other national park bookstores. An invitation to "members only" special events. Discounts on Rocky Mountain Field Seminars.

Family 2 year - An RMNA canvas book bag. A 15% discount at RMNA bookstores and similar discounts at other national park bookstores. An invitation to "member only" special events. Discounts on Rocky Mountain Field Seminars. The quarterly RMNA newsletter. Sample of the park newspaper.

Supporting 2 Year - A 15% discount at RMNA bookstores and similar discounts at other national park bookstores. An invitation to "member only" special events. Discounts on Rocky Mountain Field Seminars.

Contributing - An RMNA canvas book bag plus "The Spirit of the Mountains" DVD. A 15% discount at RMNA bookstores and similar discounts at other national park bookstores. An invitation to "members only" special events. Discounts on Rocky Mountain Field Seminars.

Contributing 2 Year - An RMNA canvas book bag plus "The Spirit of the Mountains" DVD. A 15% discount at RMNA bookstores and similar discounts at other national park bookstores. An invitation to "members only" special events. Discounts on Rocky Mountain Field Seminars.

Partner - A 15% discount at RMNA bookstores and similar discounts at other national park bookstores. An invitation to "members only" special events. Discounts on Rocky Mountain Field Seminars. Also included are RMNA canvas book bag and RMNP photo art print.

Lifetime - All new RMNA publications annually. A 15% discount at RMNA bookstores and smilar discounts at other national park bookstores. An invitation to "members only" special events. Discounts on Rocky Mountain Field Seminars. The quarterly RMNA newsletter. Sample of the park newspaper.

Memberships are generated from a number of methods. They do not purchase membership lists. Their focus is on building new memberships. They have between a 65% to 75% renewal rate.

In putting together their business plan and levels of support, the organization looked at costs vs. value. The cost of a $25 membership is $12 to the Association but its value (including discounts, marketing materials, annual picnic) is $17. Families are more likely to take advantage of the discounts than other members. Membership costs above $15 are tax deductible.

They don't have a strategy for pushing people to their next level of membership. About 10% of their members renew at a higher level. Many long time members tend to switch at some point to lifetime members. The Association's situation is unique because of the Park Associates. While you may have a member that will give $25 for an individual membership, they will typically give significantly more to projects with the Association. Ashby cited the case of an individual who had an individual membership but gave $50,000 to the Association for a specific project.

Most new memberships come from the visitor center where there is a book store. Clerks sign up people there for memberships because people became aware of the membership and want an immediate discount.

Methods for attracting new members include:

  • Saturation mail in targeted communities.
  • Mailing to everyone in the database who is not a member but attended a specific event, thanking them for their support and asking them to become members. They generally have a 2% to 3% return rate on this type of mailing.
  • Marketing in both park and commercial local newspapers.
  • This is the first year that the Association is providing the park with high-end membership brochures specifically designed for visitors that purchase an annual park pass. Over 50,000 brochures are being printed, the same number of annual passes the park estimates it will sell this year. Each brochure includes an application that when submitted, will be tracked by the park.
  • The Association recently instituted a new membership contest among its sales staff. The contest rewards top performing sales people with weekly prizes. The Association is hoping for a 50% increase in membership sales from the previous year.

Tips

    Create a Business Plan to build membership. Their Business Plan was created in 2004 and extends out over a three year period.
    Have a newsletter to keep members informed of what your association is doing. They produce a quarterly newsletter that is very popular among members.
    Have good, clean databases and software. Don't scrimp when investing in a program. It's also important to have a website to communicate with members and attract on-line donations (and new members).