NRA Membership Trends

One of the cardinal rules of business is that it costs much less to keep a customer than it is to go out and get a new customer. Indeed, some studies show it costs five times as much to get a new customer than to keep an existing one. Moreover, just retaining 5% more customers can push profitability by anywhere from 25% to 95%. If your new car came with satellite radio, this explains why Sirius XM offers such incredible deals to keep you enrolled.

Now let’s apply this to the NRA. Reportedly officers of the NRA keep telling the board that they are gaining 100,000 new members monthly. This is a correct statement. However, what is not talked about much is membership retention.

Examine the chart below that was handed out in a recent NRA committee meeting. You had a million member spike in the year after the Newtown murders. However, in the next year total membership dropped by 500,000. You see and up-down pattern through 2018 when membership hit a peak of about 5.2 million members. Since 2019, the pattern has changed from the earlier up-down pattern to a continual decline. Membership currently stands at about 4.6 million as of the end of August. An earlier reported figure of 4.2 million was in error.

As Bitter has reported in a couple of posts, voting participation is down and increased secrecy about the organization’s affairs is harming it. Why would you want to be part of a group that forbids you from expressing your pride in being a part of it?

The answer is you wouldn’t. Add in that there are clubs ditching the 100% NRA membership requirement along with the willful ignorance of many Board members and you have a disaster in the making.

8 thoughts on “NRA Membership Trends”

  1. I’ve been an annual NRA member for over 30 years. I renewed for several years awhile back (they were offering a deal), but my membership is expiring.

    I’ll let it expire. WLP and his cronies can go eat a bag of Richards. He is going to pull the NRA down around him and there is nobody on the Board that seems willing or able to do anything about it.

    1. I understand that annual members are really in a pickle if they want to make a difference. On one hand, a great message is that membership is declining. On the other, it also means you have no voice in reforms if you reset that many years of membership.

      If you decide you’re torn at any point, I recommend to annual members who decide the remain use a recruiter. Many gun clubs and even some gun shops are recruiters. Renewing through a recruiter is $10 savings for you (on a 1 year annual membership) AND a $6 commission to the recruiter which means which means that’s $16 out of $45 (regular renewal price) that can’t go to Bill Brewer’s law firm. And since a portion of your dues must be set aside to pay for publications costs, it’s really giving them the bare minimum with which to do harm. Then, don’t donate a dime. Or give that $10 you saved to another group.

      And I don’t judge any annual members for dropping at this point, though I know I’d be torn on it to preserve a vote in the future. One benefit to Life Membership is that my bucks were spent years and years ago while I get to be a pain in the neck they can’t ignore now. 🙂

  2. Ouch. It’d be amazing to get more exact numbers in order to do a comparison with gun sales trends. We’ve had record numbers of guns sold and to new gun owners in the last two years, yet membership is in decline. Even if it’s not in total free fall like their participation rates, the fact that they can’t even get them to come board for a year or so is not good.

  3. I know what you want is the reform of the NRA but I am increasingly concerned that it is not going to happen. WLP and the current board seemed determined to ride the bomb down. Perhaps we will get lucky with a court ordering some kind of receivership but it seems more likely that the NYAG will succeed with her dissolution efforts or the NRA will simply implode. Both of these will have disastrous effects on the RKBA.

    Is it time to start figuring out what to do in a post-NRA world? Organization is obviously needed but it is going to have to be something new. SAF is good folks but they have a different mission than the NRA. Same with NSSF and we would want to maintain independence from the industry anyway. GOA is just a less successful set of grifters. State associations might be a base to start rebuilding on. Many of them are NRA-affiliated but I am not clear as to their legal status relative to the NRA. We are going to start from scratch as anti-gun organizations might end up with whatever is left of the NRA’s assets after the lawyers are finished looting. Thoughts?

    1. No single organization can replace the NRA (at least not yet) because none of them are as large as the NRA. I think the closest we can get is splitting the NRA’s duties in half. Fortunately this is pretty easy, as the two main goals of the NRA are Second Amendment Advocacy and Firearms Education.

      The SAF can replace (and in many ways, has already surpassed) the NRA-ILA in terms for litigating against gun control and fighting for Second Amendment.

      The USCCA is doing a pretty good job not only with teaching people how to use firearms, but they have their own certification system. When the NRA falls apart there will need to be some form of standardization for certifying firearms instructors, and USCCA is well on their way to having their certification recognized nationally.

      1. Yeah, the SAF is already the premier entity doing legal work on the 2A. Also think you are correct about training. Maybe the USCCA although lots of other entities have their own similar systems. What it needs is an umbrella organization. Perhaps a coalition of the major training institutions could do that. What seems to be lacking is the political arm. Somebody has got to keep track of and lobby on the zillion pro and anti-gun laws and regulations.

  4. At a time when more people than ever are buying firearms…NRA membership should be growing rapidly! I think it is due to the NRAs current leadership and loss of faith in the NRA. I certainly have lost my trust in them & will no longer be supporting them until there is serious, substantive change!

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