DMA Board Allows Individual Memberships

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The Direct Marketing Association's board of directors voted last month to change the organization's bylaws to offer full individual membership for all association chapters.

The unanimous decision, which could change the bylaws for the first time in the DMA's history, took place at the DMA board of directors meeting in Washington. DMA members will vote on the change in October.

If approved, the change would add a new class of individual membership to the class of company membership for the association's five chapters -- Atlanta, California South Coast, Northern California, Southern Ohio and Dallas/Fort Worth. The national DMA would continue to offer only company membership for now.

"The DMA has always been a company-based membership organization," said H. Robert Wientzen, the DMA's president/CEO. "This new bylaw change will allow the 14 million workers who are employed in direct marketing throughout the U.S. economy to benefit from the DMA's resources, including educational and networking services, through individual membership in the association."

Michael Faulkner, senior vice president of councils and affiliates, said, "The new bylaw [would] allow a lot of individuals who work in companies the opportunity to participate in the DMA's national events and conferences when they otherwise probably wouldn't have been able to."

Faulkner said the new bylaw also would give the organization the chance to reach a larger part of the direct marketing community than it currently does through its national organization. These new members would give the organization "a larger, grass-roots universe of people who can abide by our policies and guidelines for ethical business practices."

In addition, Faulkner said many issues facing direct marketers appear in state legislatures first, "so [if the bylaws are passed], we will have a first line of defense to look at these issues."

Currently, companies that are members of local DMA chapters pay $190 for each employee; that price would stay the same.

The bylaw change would begin in October if DMA members give it final approval at the association's annual business meeting, at the DMA's 83rd Annual Conference and Exhibition, Oct. 15-18 in New Orleans.

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