When did you start collecting stamps? / Who introduced you to stamp collecting?
-I started collecting around age 6 (1980) after receiving a basic album from my father for Christmas; he had collected while growing up.
When did you start thinking that being part of an organization would be helpful to develop your hobby?
-I joined in 1992, as I was graduating high school. I knew at the time that APS membership would give me credibility as a collector.
Who recruited you to join the APS? When and by what method?
-I was aware of APS after having been a Linn’s subscriber and having heard about it from dealers. I don’t specifically remember but I probably responded to a Linn’s ad or a mailing.
How long have you been an APS member, and why have you been a member for so many years?
-I received my 25-year pin a few years ago. APS has always been the voice of the hobby in the US, and I continue to use a variety of APS services and benefit from my association with the APS.
How does membership help your collecting experience? / What member benefits (expertizing, library, buying and selling, The American Philatelist, and others) do you use most often?
-I read The American Philatelist every month. As a philatelic judge I’m a regular library user. As an eBay based dealer, I am also an APS dealer member; the ability to hold myself out as a dealer bound by a code of ethics is important. I’ve bought repeatedly from the APS Stampstore, and my insurance has been with the APS program for 20 years. More recently, I’ve been able to take advantage of StampChat and some of the other online resources APS has developed during the pandemic.
Why are you a recruiter?
-APS has been an important resource for me as a collector over the years, and it plays a central role in organized philately in the US. I want other collectors to have access to the same benefits that I do, and I believe APS has something to offer almost any collector.
How many people did you recruit in the past?
-I’ve talked to APS to anyone who would listen (and perhaps some people who wouldn’t), but specifically recognized recruiting success has been in the last couple of years (when I’ve had more extensive outreach through by eBay dealings, using APS business reply cards and messages on my eBay packing slips). I think I was credited with 11 new members last year.
Who would you consider as potential new members? People around you or just strangers?
-Personal recruiting requires some shared experience or connection to be effective – an endorsement or recommendation won’t have impact from someone a prospect doesn’t know. That said, I do view all of my customers as potential APS members, and any collector is a potential APS member!
What have been some good places for you to recruit new members?
-I’ve had many opportunities to talk to collectors about APS at stamp shows (usually while manning at table at my club’s home show, the Garfield-Perry March Party), but the bulk of my recruiting is via sales on eBay. I have a wide variety of customers, ranging from new collectors to APS leadership. Many are outside of traditionally organized philately.
How do you move someone past basic interest in stamp collecting towards interest in membership?
-It’s definitely easier to recruit intermediate or experienced collectors to APS membership than brand-new members. Many collectors are looking for value, which the magazine subscription, purchase discounts, and insurance discounts can provide. Others are looking to be part of the collecting community, and APS is a great way to do that. The StampChats and other online resources make it much easier to get exposure to APS.
Please review our recruitment suggestions : Of our recruitment suggestions, which one (s) have you tried? Which were most successful?
-As a member of the APS membership committee for a number of years, I have tried just about every suggested tool and method. Personal contract with established (or enthusiastic new) collectors is best. The APS business reply cards are great for eBay sellers but they are more effective with a personal testimonial or note.
Among these suggestions, have you tried any of these methods that were not as effective? Why do you think it failed?
-I think there is a distinct difference between recruiting new stamp collectors, and recruiting new members to the APS. While it’s true that APS has resources for brand new collectors, I think it’s hard to see the value in APS until someone is solidly interested in the hobby. General public presentations and information tables can be effective tools to promote stamp collecting (and I’ve done them, for example speaking about stamp collecting at my local historical society) but they are not “high return” membership generation activities.
Do you have any other advice for our potential recruiters for the 2020 Challenge?
-Stamp collecting doesn’t have to be a solitary hobby, and collectors can join an organization that gives them similarity of purpose even if they pursue their hobby by themselves. APS has services that can benefit most any collector, so don’t be afraid to reach out to collectors you know at all levels, through your stamp club, or wherever else.