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Leaving The National Trust

(65 Posts)
sprite66 Mon 09-Oct-17 22:37:29

I have been a volunteer and a member for many years. It is with some regret that I will not continue volunteering nor will I renew our joint membership.

I recently visited a property with a non member friend, as it was her birthday I was paying for her admission. We were treated to the full hard sell as were an elderly couple at the next reception position. Following a very firm "No" we were then given the "Gift Aid Price " spiel. No mention of the fact that to gift aid one must be a UK tax payer. Again the couple near us received the same hard sell.

I have also noticed that the loyalty membership price remains a closely guarded secret.

The property where I used to volunteer has a volunteer satisfaction level that in a school would demand special measures. No I haven't been asked to wear a rainbow badge but none the less many volunteers feel alienated by management decisions. The final straw is the question on the volunteers satisfaction survey which asks for sexual orientation. I cannot see that which way I swing or not as the case may be has any bearing on my ability to relate to and inform visitors!
Enough is certainly enough!

Moocow Mon 09-Oct-17 22:53:01

I understand as I had the same greeting when visiting a property last summer. It made me feel like I was battling to gain entry and as if my treat wasn't paying up enough. Shortly after gaining entry I had a very uncomfortable experience as a couple visiting were trying to just walk in on their own and not have to wait with the rest of us to be given the introductory talk. The volunteer I feel was just trying to do his job like the spiel you get from cashiers in the supermarket. I thought it seemed that he could get into bother for allowing anyone to just walk in.

NfkDumpling Tue 10-Oct-17 08:14:26

Surely if you're a member and a volunteer your friend should have got in for nothing on your card?

I'm a volunteer too and have kept my membership so have never had the Hard Sell but I know there is a lot of pressure from above to get membership up.

I do know the comments cards carry a lot of weight. Please everyone USE THEM! If you get a hard sell or don't like anything - or do like something. Please say.

M0nica Tue 10-Oct-17 08:30:57

I have almost given up on the NT. Whatever they may say, they are uninterested in, if not actively hostile, to anybody who dares to query their view of what visitors want. I know this from having had he temerity, once, to query their presentation of a house and I have waxed eloquent before about properties where the NT have decided on telling you about one generation, one period only and volunteers cannot cope if you veer off piste.

We belong to the Historic Houses Association as well as the NT and much prefer visiting their properties, Their owners just take pleasure in the house they live in and sharing that pleasure with others, with out any need to thrust any political agenda down your throat at the same time.

whitewave Tue 10-Oct-17 08:40:25

I belong and happily drift in and out of properties all over the UK. Have never experienced any of the above.

lemongrove Tue 10-Oct-17 08:45:39

Used to be a member, but not now.Last Summer we were having to listen to the hard sell ( they imagine older people will cave in) but DH said “ I know you are doing your job, but we are not interested in joining and just would like to get on please” we got an icy look but were allowed to move on.Not good enough for paying customers is it?

M0nica Tue 10-Oct-17 09:09:34

Perhaps if the NT did more to keep the members they have, they wouldn't have to work so hard to recruit new members.

TerriBull Tue 10-Oct-17 09:35:05

I wonder about the loyalty membership, we've been members for quite a few years now, certainly over 5, after which time I thought the annual fee would be discounted. We may leave before membership renewal in January and then rejoin later in the year, after all winter is a bit of a dead time as the maintenance is carried out and most of the properties are closed. I have an ap on my phone through Barclays Bank which gives us complimentary membership to English Heritage properties.

Blinko Tue 10-Oct-17 10:31:48

We have the loyalty discount, but had to ask for it. I'm not sure it would have come automatically.

suzied Tue 10-Oct-17 10:35:21

There is a "computer says no" mentality about some of the interactions I have had with the NT. they always send a local newsletter which is not my local one, I have emailed them at least 6 times and I get an apology and they send out the correct one, but then guess what- next time I still get the wrong one.

Divawithattitude Tue 10-Oct-17 10:43:11

I think many people miss the point regarding the collection of personal information. What they are trying to do by collecting this data which remains totally anonymous is to check that all sections of our community are engaged with the NT. I think it’s a very positive step to try and ensure that they attract members from the whole of society.

M0nica Tue 10-Oct-17 10:52:01

That is assuming the data people give them is accurate.

I think what the NT - and other organisations - do not seem to realise is that if their enquiries get too detailed or intrusive the result is either the questionnaires are not returned or people just start writing inaccurate or deliberately misleading information on the forms Either way, the result is that the information they receive does not accurately reflect the visitor profile.

Nonnie Tue 10-Oct-17 10:56:17

We have kept our membership for many years, despite some years not using it at all. We did at one stage think of changing to the Scottish one as it is cheaper and allows access to England too but thought the the NT needed the money. I am happy to think of our membership as a donation to keep these wonderful properties running.

I think the gender question will be because they have to prove they do not discriminate, not because anyone cares a jot about your personal life. Surely you have noticed this question on many forms nowadays?

Teetime Tue 10-Oct-17 12:30:04

We have just terminated our membership having done everything in our area and the places we visit so many times and it seems when we really want a day out usually winter the properties are often closed. We recently went to a non Trust house in Berwick on Tweed (Paxton Hall) and it was beautifully laid out and the guide was wonderful a really good but enjoyable and engaging history lesson. The café had better food at a good price too.

sprite66 Tue 10-Oct-17 14:48:02

A few thoughts;
No Nonnie I have not noticed this on any forms let alone on many. To whom would the Trust be proving non discrimination? Has anyone lodged a formal complaint against the Trust? I think this is yet another example of the need to be seen to be PC.
As the volunteers survey asks many other questions e.g. age/role/years volunteering etc it is quite open to attaching details to an individual. I have no problem with anyone of any sexual persuasion but fail to see how it impacts on the ability to perform the many functions of volunteering.

A member of staff at the property where I volunteered was heard to remark "they're volunteers, they'll do as they 're told" . Maybe this attitude impacts on the fall in volunteer numbers?
The loyalty membership fee is advertised neither at properties nor on the web. You have to 'phone for details.

Many new staff appear to be recruited for supposed financial acumen, love of history/conservation/people skills do not appear necessary.

maryeliza54 Tue 10-Oct-17 15:41:45

By loyalty membership do you mean the senior membership? You have to be 60 and a member for 5 years and its on the website. It gives you the number to ring to change to that category. I dont think there is any other type of loyalty membership is there?

maryeliza54 Tue 10-Oct-17 15:43:44

It’s 25% off

sluttygran Wed 11-Oct-17 10:19:27

I can't believe the NT would be so intrusive as to request details of your sexual orientation! What the Hell's Bells has sex got to do with appreciation of and preservation of heritage sites? confused

harrigran Wed 11-Oct-17 10:35:04

We terminated our membership after the disgraceful treatment my sister received as executor of our cousin's will. They received one third of a very considerable estate but queried my sister's expenses for clearing the property for sale.

oldgaijin Wed 11-Oct-17 10:39:17

The NTS is exactly the same...they give you the hard sell then squander the income. I know by experience having worked for the NTS and have seen from the inside, what goes on. There is a new breed of property 'managers' who are great on a computer but have no people skills and the standard of guiding has plummeted. For a great day out, visit privately run properties or join Historic Scotland.

sandelf Wed 11-Oct-17 10:57:53

Sexual orientation question. Not relevant. Would only come into the picture if volunteer were complained about - then the question is on how the person is interacting with visitors and should be dealt with in that context.

Craftycat Wed 11-Oct-17 11:02:16

We gave up because we had visited every place near enough for a a day trip. We don't holiday in Britain as a rule so not much point keeping it going. I'm expecting lots of costly bumf through the post soon to ask us to re-join but will not be doing so.

Howcome Wed 11-Oct-17 11:27:46

Loyalty discount??? I've been a member for 20 years - firstly family with the kids and latterly just DH and I, don't use the card most years as have visited everywhere in reach. I pay the advertised joint membership price every year - my husband is over 60 but I'm not so we can't yet get OAP membership. I did ring them to cancel gift aid as I no longer work - but they didn't offer any savings just asked if I resume earning to remember to put gift aid back in place.

Morgana Wed 11-Oct-17 11:31:23

Must find out about the loyalty bonus. We have been members for ever! Volunteers please don't leave, you are the best part of our visits!

Cagsy Wed 11-Oct-17 11:40:34

We're members and it's always part of my Christmas present for DC as it's then a cheap day out with DG. However I am very concerned about them allowing 'trail hunting' so may have to review this.