If you are reading this on line, you are one of the tens of thousands of members who are digitally connected. I thank you. It’s a win for us and for you. You receive a wealth of information and hopefully share it with others - and help grow this wonderful organisation.
But not everyone is connected via the internet and this is brought home to me almost every day. I received a fascinating email last week and I thought I’d share it with you. A gentleman whose National Seniors membership had lapsed was contacted by phone about renewal. He said his renewal was conditional.
He then emailed us his conditions. Renewing his membership was dependent on “what NSA was doing, if anything, to prevent Bill Shorten introducing legislation to slash franking credit refunds”. He went on to say how he would lose a large slice of his retirement income and looked forward to a reply.
My immediate reaction was to wonder why he had not read what we are doing on our new website, or in Connect, or in the media. Last week, for example, we had an article in Connect about this very topic and it was one of many over the past eight months since the Labor policy was announced.
As the gentleman clearly had an internet connection (he had emailed us, after all), these sources of information about our advocacy were readily available to him.
So, we wrote to our lapsed member (let’s call him Mr O) and said:
“We would very much like you to retain your membership, as we funnel subscription funds straight back into supporting and running advocacy campaigns.
As an apolitical organisation, we pride ourselves in taking on issues that are important to our members, regardless of which political party is representing the issue/s or developing the policy.
We have provided an overview below of what we are doing (on the franking credits issue) and there is much more available on our website.
Please take a look - you can even become a supporter of specific advocacy campaigns that highlight issues that are near and dear to you.
You should also be receiving our weekly Connect enewsletter, which specifically provides an update on all our advocacy activity. If you are not, please sign up for this and then you will see with weekly frequency how things are progressing.
National Seniors is running a campaign opposing Labor’s policy to withdraw franking credit refunds. This is profiled on the campaign page on the website for members and non-members to sign up to show support and share their stories, as I already mentioned.
The more people who sign up on the website and share their stories, the greater our voice.
For example, we recently made a submission to the parliamentary inquiry based on initial member feedback.
Our Chief Advocate Ian Henschke has also been doing plenty of media on the issue.
We are also working with the Alliance for a Fairer Retirement System to directly lobby politicians on these issues.
We will also feature the issue in our election campaign.
I hope this addresses your concerns and meets your needs, as we would love to retain you as a member of National Seniors, so we can continue this important work.
Our call centre is ready to renew your membership and I have cc’ed our team leader on this email, so he can assist you personally if required.”
The story has a very happy ending. The lapsed member wrote back:
“Thank you for your prompt reply.
I was most impressed by the work that you have been doing, particularly the detailed submission to the franking credits inquiry in November 2018.
As a token of my appreciation and to provide on-going support, I have renewed our NSA subscription for TWO years, something that I have never done before!”
He signed off by giving us some of his own policy ideas and wishing us good luck.
This is a salutary story. It reminds us how important it is to be connected and how important it is for us to let you know what we are doing to fight for a fair go for all older Australians.
Goodbye and if you are reading this, Mr O, good luck!
- Ian Henschke, Chief Advocate