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Last active Jan 3, 2016
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Membership Process

Membership Process Proposal

TL;DR

Existing system sucks, excluding potential members, including people who never attend nor pay on our Register of Members.

Instead we should tier the membership process:

  1. Register your interest, become an "associate member" (term under discussion)
  • Access to the wiki, members area, etc.
  • Easier management of newsletter subscriptions/etc
  • Pay as you go or subscription payment options
  • Particularly suitable for people who only use the space a few times a year.
  • Possibly suitable for minors?
  1. Set up regular payments, become a "supporter"
  • Intended for people who use the space once or more per month
  • Stepping stone to full membership
  • Get an Access Card
  1. Choose to become a full member (same as supporter, except you become a member of So Make It Ltd.)
  • Regular members
  • Appear on our Register of Members (so your address is required)
  • Voting rights
  1. Become a keyholder

What's wrong with the current process?

Non-paying/inactive members

Many of our members (people who are on So Make It Ltd's official Register of Members) have never paid. Many have paid just once or twice. Many have not attended the space in months, if ever.

Termination of membership

We currently have no formal process defined for terminating a member's membership (e.g. in the event of repeated dangerous behaviour or abuse; or long term absense without "leave").

Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) membership

Many individuals don't want to commit to paying monthly to use the space from time to time.

No supporter membership

Some individuals would like to support the space monthly but do not want to divulge their address to our membership (UK law requires that all members have their address on our Register of Members and all members are entitled to view the Register of Members).

Guests don't have a way to "belong" before gaining full membership

At the moment if you don't want to be a member there are many ways to stay informed but they're all pretty disparate; the only one we really push is the newsletter subscription, but that doesn't get a lot of love. It would be nice if interested parties could sign up and immediately get access to the members area/wiki/etc to make them feel more involved.

Proposed Solution

I propose we change the Members Area (and thus the registration process) in the following ways:

Initial registration is for "associate" membership

Associate membership means that you are not on our register of members and has the following notable differences to membership:

  • entering your address is optional
  • no monthly subscription required (PAYG)
  • no voting rights
  • no appearance on Register of Members

Associate membership only requires one Trustee's approval

Approval at this stage is for security reasons - e.g. preventing spam on the wiki, etc.

Associate members must set up a subscription to request full membership

Via GoCardless or Standing Order preferably, this should ensure that the majority of full members are always up to date.

(NOTE: We'll still need to accept cash payments for people with cashflow issues - the requirement should be something like "they must have had a subscription payment registered in the last month")

Full membership approval still requires a quorum of trustees

Historically speaking, in most cases this is approved within 48 hours; this is unchanged from the existing system.

Associate members who have monthly subscription are called "supporters"

Or similar; they get all the privileges of full membership except:

  • don't appear on our Register of Members
  • no voting rights
  • no need to provide address (though it's highly encouraged)
  • address is only visible to trustees and those directly involved with the spaces' paperwork
  • cannot become trustees

"Associate membership" sounds terrible.

I agree. Suggestions for better terminology welcome.

  • Associate Member
  • Friend of So Make it
  • So Make It Supporter
  • Guest
  • Newbie

What's wrong with "associate member"?

  • It uses the word associate, which sounds terrible.
  • It uses the word member, which on it's own may have legal connotations because we're a Company Limited by Guarantee (and we have a Register of Members) - we should avoid the word "member" if possible.
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@benjie benjie commented Feb 24, 2014

Changed reference to "Protokey" to "Access Card" instead.

@TheMadMaker-YT

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@TheMadMaker-YT TheMadMaker-YT commented Mar 5, 2014

I’m in total agreement with the proposal laid out however a few thoughts:
• It’s a shame we couldn't use “trial member” as this is the main use of this membership level. Unless we port all the “pay-as you go members” to another level, maybe that as associate or affiliate.
• There needs to be more incentive to be a full paying member too. Maybe list the advantages on our website and on every bodies membership section. Things like:

o Storage at the space
o Discounts on workshops and items from So Make It and affiliates
o Ability to become a key holder and get 24x7 access
o Satisfaction in knowing you are helping to fund the space, therefore keeping something amazing going!

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@TheMadMaker-YT TheMadMaker-YT commented Apr 3, 2014

Additional Membership Proposal 1

As stated in Benjies proposal we currently have no legal way to forcibly remove members from our members list – this needs to change no matter what new membership structure we come up with! We have “members” on our list currently who haven’t paid for over 200 days and many who have signed up but never even visited the space.

My proposal is simple; allow trustees to remove members or change their membership status where appropriate. We’d add this simple line to section 22 of our constitution:

(4) The trustees can terminate a person’s membership if required with at least 7 days notice given in writing.

This leaves things open enough for us to legally remove any members we need to. We can discuss details of what constitutes appropriate reason to remove a member later.

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