By Hallie Mummert
Emotions flared in March over the future of the Direct Marketing Club of New York (DMCNY), a professional organization with 62 years of service to direct marketers from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Membership has dropped, and the club president, Vito Fortuna, has raised the possibility of the DMCNY becoming a chapter of the Direct Marketing Association.
People who have been part of the DMCNY do not want to see the club lose its identity. Much of this argument seems emotional, and that's understandable. But the club clearly needs to take action. Regardless of whether it moves under the national association's umbrella, it still needs to operate on a local level, and that requires an active membership. When only six of the 14 committee chairs are filled, the problem is bigger than a name.
This dilemma would make more sense if the club were based in Juneau, AK, and not the city that never sleeps. So why aren't the direct marketers in this region getting involved in the direct marketing community? Has the workday stretched out so long that it leaves no time for networking and volunteerism? It would seem so.
What I've always appreciated about local clubs is the camaraderie; it's easier to develop strong connections when you see the same faces every month. Local clubs provide access to mentors, job opportunities, educational programs, and a grapevine that helps you navigate during tough times.
This is why I joined the DMCNY this year; I was feeling a bit cloistered in our Philadelphia headquarters. I also attended my first Direct Marketing Idea Exchange meeting in February—and I got a good deal in return for my day out of the office. I came away with insight on how to make direct marketing more localized (see March's "Editor's Note") and a new contact, Janet Wolf of Bookspan, who will share her prospecting challenges in next month's "List View."