If environmental groups want to gain more mainstream acceptance then they are going to have to stop using the same pressure sales tactics as credit card companies. They are really doing their cause a disservice.
For example, outside of my local Starbucks this morning were two attractive young women from Environment California, which is an important organization doing great work for the environment. While I respect what they are doing standing outside a coffee shop for five hours trying to interest people walking by, I don't like the hard sell tactics of Environment California and Greenpeace.
With the opener "got a minute to save the ocean?" to induce people to learn more, these volunteers explain what the organization is all about, but then instead of simply asking people to write down their contact information, the hard sell comes and they ask them for their credit card info to become a member and pay monthly or yearly membership dues.
A softer sell approach in my view would be much more successful. One guy I observed was initially very receptive up until the point they asked for money. His response was "you want money from me?" And then he walked away disgusted.
Green groups like Environment California and Greenpeace would benefit from a different approach by getting the address, phone number and email and later asking for a paid membership to support their important work. At the very least they have a new subscriber to their email newsletter. But this pressure approach on the street is a turn-off and ultimately I think hurts their cause.