The National Rifle Association (NRA), the nation’s preeminent gun rights organization, has now lost over a million supporters since allegations of corruption against Exec. Vice President Wayne LaPierre surfaced in 2019. The NRA is currently at its lowest level of membership in a decade.
These dwindling membership numbers have affected the non-profit’s financial stability. According to a November 2022 financial statement, the group is down to 4.3 million members and is bleeding revenue.
“Membership/Contribution Performance has continued to experience softness through 2022,” a presentation prepared for the group’s finance committee reported in January.
Between 2021 and 2022, revenues fell by nearly $24 million, or 11 percent, while expenses increased by over $11.5 million, or 5.5 percent. The presentation cites a $37.4 million, or 32 percent, decline in membership dues as the primary factor for the revenue collapse, along with a $16.4 million, or 47.4 percent, overrun in legal expenses, which resulted in a deficit for the year.
The financial statement reveals that the NRA fell short of its projected membership figures, resulting in a $14 million shortfall in its budget. The group added 282,950 new members through the first eleven months of 2022, over 175,000 fewer members than projected.
The NRA’s financial statement shows that the group converted nearly 165,000 fewer membership renewals than anticipated, leading to a $17.7 million deficit. The gun advocacy group received $32.4 million less than expected in member dues during that period.
SEE ALSO: NRA-ILA: Anti-Gun Governor Targets Lawfully Registered Firearms for Seizure
NRA membership typically increases in light of high-profile mass shootings and the subsequent push for gun control that follows them. Political rights organizations often see an uptick in membership during election years, as well.
With gun control legislation hitting various state and federal courts, as well as the recent midterm elections, membership for the NRA was expected to rise. However, records indicate it was much lower than the 6 million membership figure touted by the NRA’s America’s 1st Freedom magazine.
However, instead of gun-rights advocates flocking to the NRA, members are exiting en masse. Despite this, the group’s 2023 budget projection is rather optimistic and predicts a 21 percent increase in membership, leading to $23.4M in added revenue.
This downward trend isn’t new for the NRA which has been steadily declining in membership since the 2019 accusations against LaPierre. Andrew Arulanandam, NRA’s managing director of public affairs, has remained unfazed.
“The NRA is fully engaged – as usual – in defeating courtroom adversaries and defending constitutional freedom,” Arulanandam said in an email to CBS when dipping membership numbers were also reported in May of last year. “As an example of its winning advocacy, Georgia recently became the 25th state in the nation to pass constitutional carry.”
SEE ALSO: NRA Board Reelects Wayne LaPierre as CEO/Exec. VP
Accounting professor at Ohio State University Brian Mittendorf, who has been following the NRA’s financial struggles, believes the membership drop should be a concern for all gun-rights advocates.
“Perhaps most concerning for the organization is that the decline in member dues revenues was both substantial and apparently unexpected, as their member dues were well below budgets,” he told The Reload. “The end result is that not only is the organization smaller than it has been in the recent past, but it had to resort to substantial borrowing from a credit line to maintain that size.”
Rocky Marshall, who ran unsuccessfully to unseat LaPierre last year, offered a more straightforward evaluation
“This is a blood bath, and the NRA is desperately trying to stop the blood loss,” Marshall said. “The current financial situation is untenable and is akin to bailing a leaking boat with a spoon.”
The group still remains the largest gun advocacy organization in the world even after the New Yorker released leaked documents in 2019 that raised questions as to how the non-profit was spending its money. However, despite still being the largest, the corruption allegations have wreaked havoc on the NRA’s ability to recruit and maintain members.
Mittendorf worries the financial toll caused by the mass membership exodus could threaten the very existence of the NRA.
“If the organization’s projections of a sizable rebound in member revenues in 2023 do not materialize, the long-run risks they have faced may quickly become short-run risks of a cash shortfall,” Mittendorf said. “Downsizing core operations and borrowing to make up for lost member dues can only work for so long.”
H/T to The Reload for its original reporting on this story.
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I agree about getting rid of WLP, but can see that many here have no clue as to how things work as to “winning lawsuits” and other 2A issues.
It isn’t a short battle, it’s a war, and it goes back and forth.
The NRA is an important aspect of that war, but many here would deliberately lose that war for the sake of what they see as an issue with management.
Short sighted, and foolish.
An entire organization, and a powerful one, gone because of some people’s issue with one man.
I believe they call that cutting off ones nose to spite ones face.
WLP is hated!
The NRA will not survive as long as WLP and many of his cronies are still there.
Thank you Dante for covering this subjective article. The N.A.G.R / National Association for Gun rights, has gained some of those members I.e; myself. Looks like by the numbers
The N.A.G.R Has surpassed the N.R.A with over 4.5 million members. In addition the organization has a league arm / N.F.G.R / National Foundation for Gun Rights. They funded around 76 K for the repeal for a new trial on the Kyle Rittenhouse case resulting in aquital. A well run orginized team that does not back down ! Dudley Brown is the president.
When Chris Cox and Oliver North were quietly pushed out without explanation that was the beginning. As a avid reader of Cox he was entrenched in the fight. His disappearing act was manufactured. Then we watch Tom
Selleck followed by Uncle Ted exit the stage. Meanwhile Wayne gets multiple raises and begins sporting fancier suits. I walked away.
When Chris Cox and Oliver North were quietly pushed out without explanation that was the beginning. As a avid reader of Cox he was entrenched in the fight. His disappearing act was manufactured. Then we watch Tim Selleck followed by Uncle Ted exit the stage. Meanwhile Wayne gets multiple raises and begins sporting fancier suits. I walked away.
I am a Patron Life Member of NRA and have been a member since the early 1950s. When I vote for NRA Board members, I always am impressed highly at their accomplishments and dedication to the Second Amendment.
But, still, there is the ever-curling wisp of smoke around Wayne LaPierre and I think he should retire or be required to do so and perhaps a much smaller Board of Directors would be more manageable. Somehow, the NRA has become a far less respected organization than that which I remember many years ago.
The NRA continues to sponsor many educational and recreational programs and these should be continued. I do not donate to NRA any longer, at least not now. I find my money gets more bang for the buck with Gun Owners of America.
My membership runs out in Feb 2024 as I’ve always been about three years in advance. I’ve been a member since 2007. Not another dime until they get rid of Wayne LaPierre. I’ve been saying that for the last couple of years.
IT SEEMS TO ME THE NRA’S PETTY POWER STRUGGLES ARE FAR OUTSHINING THE GOOD THEY HAVE DONE OVER THE YEARS. I HAVE BEEN A MEMBER FOR A VERY LONG TIME AND AM VERY SADDENED BY WHAT HAS BECOME A CANCER ON THE ORGAIZATION. I WOULD SAY “GET YOUR S**T TOGETHER”. DO WHAT IS BEST FOR AMERICA AND THE ORGAIZATION TO GET STRONGER, WHATEVER THAT MAY BE.
Get rid of LaPiere.
If you don’t have a patroit on the board of directors that won’t do this job because he believes in it, then you ought to fail, and well all go to the Nat’l Gun Owners Asso. LaPiere has just found a big tit to suck on!
Wayne LaPierre is a con man – he clearly doen’t know anything about guns and is only in it to milk NRA members dry. That’s why he forced Oliver North out. They won’t get a dime from me until they fire him.
Wayne LaPierre is the reason for what is happening to the NRA, 1000%. He and his cronies have run the organization into the ground, all the while stabbing membership in the back, and working against the 2nd Amendment on a whole slew of issues, and not backing good candidates across the country. To hell with you WLP.
LaPierre must GO! He is the main Reason for the lack of interest in the NRA by shootist.
The fact that Ted Nugent resigned from the Board was a Clue.
I was a member for years until I received an email from the NRA and discovered it had a tracker in it. I didn’t appreciate that and considered it to be big brotherish, that’s when I stopped being a member.
I think LaPierre has been a good leader, but he has never really been an articulate spokesperson for our NRA. The “scandal,” to me, merely points to the fact that he has been overpaid and over-perked. He can continue to run the “business”, but we really need to cut his pay and use it, in part, to hire a couple of sharp advocates who can effectively put the facts forward and explain forcefully why our right to bear arms is so vital for freedom and to protect “the Security of a free State” and to preserve our democracy. Also, it is really not helpful for folks too cheap to pay dues to chime in with the anti-gun trolls complaining about the NRA, especially when they aren’t even members. Stay safe.
Wayne Lapierre needs to go more interested in himself than the members. I will not be renewing my membership as there are other organizations out there that benefit gun owners better than the NRA. Use to be a great organization but when they decided to keep Wayne in the leadership position I decided no longer my organization.
If the club I belong to did REQUIRE NRA membership as a condition of club membership I damn sure wouldn’t give them a penny! They are just a shell with a name. When’s the last time you read a headline “NRA successfully wins lawsuit……..?” Every penny I can muster goes to GOA or ANY other pro-2A organization BUT the NRA. And yes, like some else said here, STOP SENDING ME THE DAMNED requests for either membership renewal or contributions. You’d save the organization million’s of dollars in advertising costs. If I want to renew or contribute I know where to find you!
…so, knowing that they are hemorrhaging cash and membership, they stuck with Wayne L. Ok, you’ve doubled down on him in spite the accusations so, right or wrong, you’ve made your camp. When folks bail on their membership or only pay their dues and limit donations, don’t be shocked.
The reactions here are the same as I have seen elsewhere, universally negative towards Wayne. How did he manage to stay in office? When he was reelected I was totally floored. How can anyone so universally panned stay in charge? It is sad to say but if the money he and his staff received salary and perks was used properly it would make up that 14 million shortfall. Not one more penny until Wayne is gone.
I’m a Life Member. LaPierre should disappear from any decision making role or completely. When I talk to gun club friends about joining the NRA, the only reason for No is LaPierre. He has been around too long saying the same thing which results in none paying attention to him. The problem is not about the NRA having and giving purpose. The problem is, we demand trust and transparent trust which many believe no longer exists. As a Life Member, I’m in for the long haul. If I was not in, I would be out until new leadership was in. The issue to drive home to new membership is “we have new leadership”.
Improper behavior on the part of leadership will destroy any confidence people have in this organization. I believe it is a good organization that can help uphold our rights and freedoms. The people at the top need to re-assess what is best for this organization to succeed. If that means stepping down and obtaining new leadership and putting in safeguards to insure success and confidence then so be it. If this was a person in a hospital they would be on life support. No appearance of corruption will work for an organization or a country.
Fix this quickly or the NRA will be history.
For years the NRA has profited from the left’s attacks on the Second Amendment without doing much, if anything, to stop these attacks. The lunatic left is the NRA’s greatest fundraiser. Caught in the middle are gun-owners who pony-up out of fear of losing their gun rights, only to see their donations squandered by the lavish lifestyles of NRA senior staff and their cozy relationships with high-dollar vendors. This is why the GOA continues to grow while the NRA diminishes. Unlike the NRA, the GOA does not play politics with the right of the people to keep and bear arms. It busts the chops of tyrants who threaten the Second Amendment — no compromise, no quarter. Gun owners want results, not cleaver advertising slogans and empty promises. The GOA delivers while the NRA dithers. I want an organization that has my six, not one that talks big but delivers little.
I am a Patron member, and will not give them a dime until they get rid of the top tier douchebags like Wayne and his cohorts. The word gets around, that’s why they are losing support. It’s a real shame, I want to support them but they will not cut the bad guys loose.
Wayne LaPierre should be completely removed from all issues with the NRA. Until that is done, I would not send one penny to the NRA for a donation. I find it hard to believe that any member with common sense and reads the news would vote for this thief. Especially using NRA funds to legally support his defense. Very suspect of the so call election process too.
It’s discouraging to see so many of my fellow 2nd Amendment advocates falling for the Liberal Left’s game plan of dividing and then conquering us. The NRA is not perfect, but I do not see the other gun rights organizations causing any Anti-gun moron to lose sleep at night. As a Life Member of NRA, we all have voting rights, use them for change.
PLEASE do not allow the Liberal Left Morons to win by not supporting the loudest voice we have in Washington DC.
And yet I did not renew my membership for a different reason. Months before my membership expired the NRA began hounding me to renew. I received seemingly daily requests for contributions as well as renewal. While I frankly had every intention of renewing, the NRA finally became so irritating that I decided to to renew for any reason. Unfortunately I didn’t know about LaPierre’s issues which explain a lot. I will rejoin should the NRA shape up. Definitely not beforehand.
In my case, I think the NRA is more image and marketing than substance. They claim to support the USA but all of their product giveaways are made in China. A little hypocrisy? They need to go back to what made them they flagship of the fun industry.
Bingo on china garbage.
As a long term member who has not re-newed my membership, I am not surprised by the organization ‘s decline.
I’ll be back when Wayne is gone.
Removal of Wayne La Pierre would solve this problem that he caused.
Two words. Wayne LaPierre. When he’s gone, I’ll rejoin.
The NRA knows exactly why this is happening, and what it’ll take to fix the problem. The membership was left with a bad taste in their mouth since this WLP issue was brought into the pubic eye and no longer trust him nor his cast of cronies.
I’m a level 3 life member that intended to move to a level 4 and donate a large portion of my estate to the NRA at the time of my death. Until the NRA gets rid of the very people that are (or were) squandering funds I’ll never give another dime of my hard earned money to them.
The NRA has some SERIOUS damage control to do. Getting rid of WLP will be a good start.
Good. They do not stand for the 2nd amendment, and have not in my life time.
Yep, my membership is going to expire shortly. I joined for 5 years after Dana represented the NRA at the CNN “Clown Hall” meeting post Parkland incident. But after learning that WLP is grifting and hearing crickets from the NRA (other than taking credit for the work of other pro 2A groups who are actually winning in court), I won’t be renewing my membership. My 2A advocacy dollars are going to groups who are actually suing to reverse the constant infringements of the 2A by state legislatures and federal agencies. When they voted to keep WLP in place, I vowed to never give them one penny until they clean house. Time will tell. It heartens me to see that they have felt the financial impact of keeping the head grifter in place, giving a collective middle finger to the membership
just a slush fund for the crook in charge and his cronies
The GUN OWNERS OF AMERICA is a much more effective organization than what the NRA has become. My money and support goes to GOA.
An unreported failure in NRA membership is reduced amount of concerned age groups by attrition, coupled with increased population of certain liberals who espouse 2A, conceal or non-conceal carry rights, and issues related to lax enforcement without investment to what is protecting them.
In other words, their rights were handed them; without effort spent learning/ earning foundations of same.
I’ve been a Patriot Life Member for many years, but I have stopped contributing until I know my money will not be used to keep these leaders in the lap of luxury. Wayne needs to go along with some of his supporters. There are plenty of other organizations that do more to support the 2nd Amendment.
Agreed – a 100%!
So, with the NRA still experiencing a lack of confidence in it’s leadership, the other gun-rights organizations should be stepping up to fill the void! They should also be taking note of WHY there is a lack of confidence in their leadership.
In my opinion, it stems form too much inside politics, and not remembering just who they are supposed to be representing, namely the firearms owners and second amendment supporters of America.
Yep, I’m skeptical myself and I’m a Life Member. I’ve been limiting my extra donations until this guy is gone!
LaPierre has to go, without a golden parachute!
I continue to pay my dues as an NRA member but give my donations to GOA.
I have not read about ANY GOA directors spending GOA money on clothes, trips or homes on a Texas golf course!
Ah, but Wayne and Co. continue to justify that crapola. Well, sorry but not with my money.
Where’s Ollie North when we need him?
When it came time for me to renew I passed, until there is real change in the NRA leadership they won’t see another dime from.
I had been a very long time NRA member and staunch supporter until LaPierre’s expensive suit fetish and other financial irregularities came to light. NRA will not get another penny from me until he is shown the door. I prefer to support those who support the 2A and gun rights, not self-indulgent frauds. My money goes to GOA, CCRKBA, and local support groups. It would be better if the NRA just went away. Just getting rid of LaPierre isn’t enough anymore. The organization has demonstrated its willingness to condone really bad behavior from leadership.
When Lapierre leaves – I will come back. Great organization but shady dealings by Lapierre have me sour for renewing or donating.
No one wants to think their contributions or fees are going to help someone enrich themselves
The people in charge are a bunch phony RINOs. Anti MAGA. No different than McConnell or McDaniels in GOP. People see it.
Get rid a Lapierre and we can be friends again.
It is very apparent that if the current officals do not leave or are removed , members like myself will not contribute to the organization. Wayne Lapierre should have resigned to allow the organization to regroup after the scandalous misappropriation of funds by him and others. It is a shame that this individual is still there and that the board has not removed him. It doesn’t surprise me however that that he is still there because the board members are just as corrupt and these wolves continue to guard the hen house. If the NRA falls, Wayne and officers should be tarred and feathered.
100% correct. Wayne is the problem, getting rid of him is the solution.
Getting rid of La Pierre is not the only solution, but is a great start. La Pierre remains because there are too many in the hierarchy of the NRA that support him and are just as corrupt. The next best thing to do is FIRE the law firm they have because they are robbing the NRA and doing very little. Once the NRA finds a better law firm, they need to get back to actually fighting the 2nd amendment fight!
For the sake of the NRA, Wayne must resign or be removed. There are millions of members that agree. Thank you.
Ageed – the NRA needs to bring in a new face to the organization that younger people can relate to. WLP has poisoned the public image of the NRA with his scandalous activities (true or not) and some SERIOUS damage control needs to take place. We need another ‘Heston’ to change the public perception of this venerable and long standing organization. But the longer they wait the harder it’s going to be. Why the delay? The longer they drag this out it makes it appear as though they are only in it for the money and could care less about the NRA and what it’s SUPPOSE to stand for.