National Resources Defense Fund (a)

5 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2009

See all articles by Phillip E. Pfeifer

Phillip E. Pfeifer

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business


This case provides a meaningful managerial context in which to explore sampling. The National Resources Defense Fund, an environmental advocacy agency, has sent an appeal for donations to a small sample of members. Based on the results, what can the agency say about how the appeal will perform if rolled out to remaining members? In statistical terms, how can the agency use a sample average to forecast the population mean?




Kathryn Rivler, founder and executive director of the National Resources Defense Fund (NRDF), was disappointed with the results of the recent test of the 1994 special-appeal solicitation: “We just do not have a very compelling, newsworthy case this year upon which to base our 1994 special appeal. Perhaps we should just sit this year out.”

Background and Mission

NRDF was a national, nonprofit, environmental-advocacy agency based in New York City. Founded by Rivler in 1970 after her graduation from Columbia Law School, NRDF's mission was to protect the natural resources of the United States through litigation and lobbying. Comprising a team of crack scientists and lawyers, the group concentrated on big environmental issues (energy policy, air and water pollution, global warming) by working within the existing national political system. Although the organization had been quite successful working behind closed doors in Washington, D.C., its methods did not often grab national headlines. In 1994, NRDF had a staff of 145, a budget of $ 16 million, and a total membership of 172,000.


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Keywords: nonprofit organizations, random sampling, sampling, statistics, diversity

Suggested Citation

Pfeifer, Phillip E., National Resources Defense Fund (a). Darden Case No. UVA-QA-0473, Available at SSRN:

Phillip E. Pfeifer (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
434-924-4803 (Phone)


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