I am not sure how we would determine "need" or if some just would accept it because it is free. I have paid for individual's first year membership on several occasions myself.
Anything that we can do to spur membership numbers is worth considering. Family memberships at a slight discount and corporate/business memberships have both been suggested but apparently did not meet with approval as nothing ever came of it.
Preaching to the choir (VCDL members) is good if it motivates them but it is to non VCDL groups of a similar bent i.e. hunt clubs, sportsman groups, gun shows that will IMO provide larger numbers.
My observations on gun show recruitment - not intended to criticize those that participate, I have as an unscheduled volunteer - VCDL booth is very passive, a sit and wait game. Wonder if a slide show or video loop on a large screen would cause more people to stop and talk. Motion attracts - ask the advertising people.