Should the Direct Marketing Club of New York Become a DMA Chapter? YES

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As the newly elected president of the Direct Marketing Club of New York, it is in our membership's best interest for this board to be proactive in looking to expand our reach for new members and create additional member benefits.

In view of our great relationship with the Direct Marketing Association, I believe this board would be doing our members an injustice by not exploring this opportunity (see story, page 1, and last week's DM News). Serving the direct marketing community for 62 years would make the DMCNY the likely candidate for chapter status. Imagine the backlash from our membership if we were not included in the discussion.

Today, every club struggles with providing dues-paying members sufficient benefits. The DMCNY is no different. One benefit to consider in becoming a chapter member of the DMA is the cost of individual DMA membership of $190. Another benefit would be the possibility of co-sponsoring Direct Marketing Days in New York with the DMA. There is no question that our geographical area of consideration for membership will be enhanced along with certain financial benefits.

However, let's not put the cart before the horse. We have not officially requested chapter status from the DMA, nor to the best of my knowledge has the DMA made a decision about chapter status.

Remaining independent is the other option. The DMCNY has a strong brand name and is respected throughout the marketing community. Going it alone in these difficult times will demand more personal time from our board members and present greater challenges.

Over the past number of years, we have experienced a decline in membership of about 20 percent per year. Last year, we had more than 650 paid members. This year, we have about 275 as of this date. We have two major promotions - a renewal effort and a reactivation effort - being handled by Josh Moritz of Customer Growth on the club's behalf. I am not suggesting that we panic, but there is reason for concern. Whatever the decision, the club will continue to move forward, and we will be extremely proactive in looking for ways to enhance membership benefits and recruit new members.

Vito Fortuna, President,Direct Marketing Club of New York

DM specialist, New York metro area, U.S. Postal Service

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