Membership Process Proposal
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:
- 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?
- 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
- 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
What's wrong with the current process?
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.
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
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.