DMA Board OKs Merger with Federation of Nonprofits

The Direct Marketing Association’s board of directors has approved the organization’s acquisition of the National Federation of Nonprofits, the DMA said yesterday.

The acquisition brings 250 new nonprofit members into the DMA fold. It will combine the NFN’s membership with the DMA Nonprofit Council, creating a new, affiliated entity of the DMA called the Nonprofit Federation of the DMA, or NF.

It also makes nonprofits the largest special interest group in the DMA. The NF eventually will have its own logo.

“This creates the largest single trade association for organizations in the nonprofit and fundraising area that rely on direct and interactive marketing,” H. Robert Wientzen, president/CEO of the Direct Marketing Association, said at a press conference yesterday. “This will enhance our industry’s ability to speak in Washington, and everyone is going to win. We will also now be able to have a broader appeal to nonprofits.”

Lee Cassidy, executive director at the National Federation of Nonprofits, who also attended yesterday’s conference, will run the day-to-day operations of the NF until an election for a new chairperson is held in August. A nominating committee has already been formed to choose candidates.

The two organizations are expected to complement each other well, since the NFN will increase the DMA’s influence on Capitol Hill, while the DMA focuses more on educational programs and conferences.

Not only is the merger a giant step for nonprofits as they relate to the DMA, but it also could prove to be just as beneficial to the DMA on the commercial side, said Max Hart, director of fundraising at Disabled American Veterans, Cold Spring, KY, and chairman of the DMA’s Nonprofit Council operating committee.

“We will mount a very strong effort to bring more nonprofits into the DMA and the NF, and hopefully attract those that we had trouble attracting in the past,” Hart said. “I think with the increased level of influence we will have on the Hill, it is also going to allow us to attract more commercial members to join the NF as sponsors.”

Hart said issues such as privacy and postal regulations affect both the nonprofit and commercial sectors. With the new level of influence, he said, commercial companies will see the benefit of joining not only the NF, but the DMA as well.

“I would look for both areas (nonprofit and commercial) to grow substantially over the next year or so,” he said. “Both the nonprofit and general membership [is] going to benefit from this.”

“I think it is excellent news for the nonprofit community,” said Neal Denton, executive director at the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, which will not be part of the new entity. “This will hopefully give nonprofit executives better tools to monitor state regulations with. Up until now, nonprofit executives have not really been able to effectively cover state legislation, and this should give them an effective tool in which to do that.”

As a result of the merger, nonprofit organizations that were members of the DMA but not of the DMA’s Nonprofit Council will become members of the NF. All members of the NFN will become members of the DMA.

The DMA will add two governmental affairs conferences — which the NFN used to sponsor — to its annual list of nonprofit conferences. The NF also will look to hold a nonprofit conference on the West Coast for the first time, in addition to the two held in New York and Washington, according to Hart.

For the first two years, the initial advisory council of the Nonprofit Federation will consist of the operating committee of the DMA’s Nonprofit Council; the NFN board of directors; and the NFN’s business advisory committee. The number of council members is expected to be 40, but Wientzen said that number would decrease to about 13 after a year.

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