Ive been reading on trip advisor of independent reviews of non-members visit to RSPB reserves of the hard sell of RSPB Membership and trying to get non-members to join.particularly at Loch Garten and Saltholme reserves, There was at least one person who said he felt like never wanting to visit an RSPB reserve again. I have noticed this on occasions of the hard sell of RSPB Membership to non-members at some RSPB reserves. The National Trust are the same as well in doing this. I’m completely against any wildlife conservation charity doing this. Now look at the difference with the Wildfowl Trust. I visited there reserves on a number of occasions as a non-member and not once was I aske if I wanted to join there organisation. What a difference that was. Because of that after a number of visits to Wildfowl Trust reserves I joined of my own accord. Any hard sell would have pushed me to far and I wouldn’t have visited a Wildfowl Trust Reserve again and that is what the RSPB and the National Trust appear to be doing at there Property’s with non-members of there organisations. What do other members of these forums think about this sad state of affairs,
A friend of ours gave up doing the Peregrine watch point at Malham because of the pressure put on her to recruit new members rather than show them the birds. I do believe birders should support the Society as it is the best pressure group we have but this attitude may put people off from joining. It is because of this attitude that I dropped my membership of the WWT when a member of staff gave me the membership speil before discovering that I was a member and had no interest in telling us about the latest sightings. Our local National Trust seem very bad at putting pressure on,ine volunteer tried telling me off because we were N T Scotland members and not N T England, she was not interested in the fact that it had been given as a gift.
That's my rant over for tonight !!
I agree totally that hard pressure tactics to gain membership can have adverse effect on these societies as not only the person hounded is put off but then they tell their friends and relatives about the unpleasant experience. On the other side of it, I'm not sure how these charities are meant to keep memberships going without presenting folk with membership details although it would benefit them not to push the boundaries when it comes to selling ! I was speaking recently with one of the rspb volunteers and she told me that there was less pressure on them now (or at this particular reserve) to gain memberships ….. so maybe it takes time to change things so that an even balance is achieved.
It's difficult question of how do you raise the money in a a fair and meaningful way. First of all you have the hard sell at the doors with less time devoted to supplying information to visitors, as stated above. Then there are the reports of the follow on calls which then ask for contributions to be raised. The other side of the coin is how much revenue is lost at some of the prime reserves like Leighton Moss - there must be an awful lot of visitors to Leighton Moss who are not RSPB members and who know how easy it is to access the reserve without making any sort of payment and the same could be said of Bempton Cliffs. Of course its a difficult issue, how to go about raising revenue and i have no idea how to solve it but I do know that times are hard - people face the choice between supporting a local Wildlife Trust or a national one like RSPB when a few years ago it might have been less of a problem to support both or even more. Sometimes you do wonder whether membership fees ( for many organisations) are too low. You only need to visit a large reserve like leighton Moss half a dozen times a year to save your membership fee so if you live locally its a no brainer, but there's a lot of lost revenue if someone goes there once a week :)
My take on this is that although staff/volunteers represent RSPB (or WWT as mentioned above), they shouldn't be seen as a reason to not subscribe. Every large organisation has staff that behave poorly when dealing with the general public. Likewise, some members of the public deal very poorly with staff and other members of the public!
What concerns me more is people responsible for decision making appearing to make ill judged decisions. Quite a list has built up recently. RSPB could have been a charity leading by example, stopping cold calling long before data protection legislation changes. Even when people opted out, especially by not opting in, members were then contacted again, and again (using RSPB member's money), to blindly try and convince people to opt in.....without making any new case for it.
What is going on at South Stack is ludicrous imo. The amount of membership money already spent, and now more being spent on planning permission & a legal fight against the council is farcical. RSPB doesn't own the land. There is hostility to parking charges. Tinkering with pricing is not going to persuade people who believe parking should be free to change their minds. And yet, RSPB is giving money to solicitors, and even the councils we're fighting with planning applications. RSPB, unless I'm missing something, has nothing planned to force visitors to pay the parking charges. People ignore rules in 2018, and more and more are doing so. Parking fees that are paid will need to be spent on staff policing the car park! It is ridiculous and RSPB should be walking away.