Membership Options for Consideration

General notes and suggestions

The natorg shouldnít be a club, per se. It should be about contributing to conventions and fandom. The people who join, are making a contribution.

 

If the fans agree, then voting for the fan awards and the natcon can be a privilege of membership. Otherwise, it will remain as it stands at the moment with ALL members of a natcon able to vote for the Fan Awards and the next Natcon.

Cumulative memberships. Ie. A fan could pay for multiple periods of membership up front. This would make payment a bit easier because of the potentially small amounts involved for membership fees. This would also apply when someone pays a membership ahead of the renewal date. They will simply have another period added onto the end of their subscription. Membership cards and receipts would reflect this.

Agents - Clubs or conventions could act as agents in the collection of the membership fees. This makes it easier for the fans to pay, since they could simply include their membership money with their club or convention fee.

Administration - There will always be administration. The variables are how often that administration has to happen, and how much has to happen. Newsletters can be sent via email where appropriate, and by post to others.

We and the members still have to remember that the committee are volunteers. We have our own lives to lead. In order to be as professional as possible, we HAVE to set a realistic expectation as for service. This will involve the timing of when membership cards, receipts, renewal notices and printed information can be sent out. Of course the committee is still responsible for sending these items out in a timely manner.

The members - If membership is set at, say, $5, that is a very small amount of money. If there are any solutions that would help fans be able to pay more easily, then we need to consider them. Hence the suggestions of having agents who can take the payments and forward them in a lump sum. Also being able to pay multiple years in advance will help this situation.

Yearly, 6 monthly, Quarterly, or monthly

How it would work

Appropriate periods would be picked for renewal dates.

Eg. Quarterly - Feb-Apr, May-Jul, Aug-Oct, Nov-Jan

6 monthly - Feb-July, Aug-January

Yearly - Feb or another suitable date

Joining in the middle of a period

Membership would start from that date. The expectation would be set that even if the person paid early, the membership is only guaranteed to start from the beginning of that period.

For instance:

Fan joins in year X, in the middle of Quarter 2. Their membership starts from that date, but the expectation is set that their YEAR of membership starts from the start of Q3, and they should expect their membership card shortly after Q3 starts. Their membership would then last until the start of Q3 in year X + 1.

When do membership cards get mailed out.

Membership cards would not be mailed out until the start of the next period. In some cases this could be 3, 6 or 12 months away. It may be possible to mail earlier, but that would be at the discretion of the committee.

What administration work is required

Renewal notices will need to be sent. If the majority of members are on email, this can be made quite easy and cheap.

At the start of every period, the membership cards are mailed out. This will result in work every 1, 3, 6 or 12 months.

Over longer periods, the amount of work to do will be huge at any one time. Also for longer periods, there will potentially be a large amount of time between someone registering, and getting their card.

What happens if a natcon isnít held in one year.

Irrelevant

Pros

People get their memberships for at least 12 months no matter when the natcon or NatOrg AGM are.

The Quarterly and 6 monthly periods periods shown above have been set so that they donít fall too close to the major usual dates of conventions, or the major holidays.

Membership is independent of a natcon or AGM.

6 monthly or yearly renewals are guaranteed to only have one AGM in their period, assuming the renewal dates are set correctly.

Cons

Potentially continuous memberships coming in. This can be lessened by setting the expectation regarding the membership period chosenÖ

Could potentially cause a problem if one period ends during December.

A quarterly or monthly membership period could result in a person being a member for two AGMs in a year. Eg. If someone joins before a Queens Birthday natcon, and there is an Easter natcon the next year. They would be able to attend both AGMs in the same membership period.

Comments

In my mind, we are trying to make the administration job for this easier on the committee. If the committee is expected to post out a membership card the instant the payment is received, then the secretary, or the treasurer or whoever might be continuously having to send out membership cards. It's a hassle and a waste of resources to print out a few cards, laminate them and send them out each week. It really is easier to do these things in one hit. Say, 4 times a year...

IF at any one point there were enough outstanding registrations to make it worth it, then fine.

Natcon to Natcon (or AGM to AGM)

These are very similar, with just a few differences. The critical differences are when memberships go from and to, and how membership cards are handled.

Variations

Completely separate from natcon registration.

Linked to Natcon Registration

How it would work

Membership would start from one Natcon, and go to the start of the next natcon.

  1. If joining via a Natcon, the membership starts when the natcon starts and goes until just before the next natcon. Membership is obtained by paying the natcon.
  2. If they wish to join before a natcon, or for more than one period, the member must apply to the natorg directly.

Joining in the middle of a period

Membership would start from the date of joining, and continue until the start of the next natcon +1. In extreme cases, the first time a fan joined, they could have a membership period of 2 years. In all cases, the membership would cover only one AGM.

Membership would start from the date of joining, and continue ONLY be until the start of the next natcon. Fans who join more than 6 months before the next natcon pay full price, fans who join less than 6 months pay a discounted rate.

When do membership cards get mailed out.

When there are enough outstanding to warrant printing and posting. This could mean delays in people receiving their cards. However, if the expectation is set that they would receive at least one year of membership, then there should be no cause for complaint.

In the main, membership cards are mailed out shortly AFTER the natcon. This means that the committee has all the fans who joined the natorg via the natcon in hand. This will be a large mail out, but can be done in bulk and all at one time.

Fans who join outside these times will receive membership cards when they apply.

Fans who join for a multiple period will receive a new membership card every year (?).

What administration work is required

Work would be sporadic and depend on the registrations coming in. Possibly registrations would come in with natcon registrations, so the natcon would have to be reminded occasionally to pass them on to the natorg.

Reminder notices may still be necessary.

A large chunk of work after a natcon. Small amounts during the year. It may not be necessary to ask the natcon for the registration money they have received during the year. This can be handed over after the natcon.

Reminder notices may not be necessary since the registration process is linked closely to the natcon, and reminders are integrated with the natcon registration forms.

What happens if a natcon isnít held in one year.

The membership would last until the start of the AGM in the year. Problems may come about because it could be harder to get people to re-register . Reminders to re-register would be necessary. This is an unlikely scenario.

Pros

Could be done in conjunction with Natcons if they were amenable. Natcons could act as ďagentsĒ thereby making it easier for fans to pay.

The admin work during the year is minimal. Because posting of membership cards and so on is handled AFTER the natcon, there is no interference with organising the fan awards or the natcon bids. Because the natorg membership money the natcon takes is not handed over until after the natcon, this also places less of a burden to organise the financial report.

Guarantees one AGM per membership period.

Because the membership cards are sent out AFTER the natcon, we know what the next natcon is going to be, and can date the cards appropriately.

Cons

Because natcon dates vary year to year, some periods would be 10 months long, while others would be 14 months long.

Work by the committee in the lead up to a natcon may be frantic because of the need to organise a financial report, the Awards, the natcon bids and re-registering people.

More work by the concom of a natcon, keeping track of the natorg memberships.

The natcon would need to take the money and keep it safe. (The admin for this on the part of the natcon would be minimal. The natcon donít need to know at any point up to the natcon who are natorg members. They would however need to produce a list of natorg members at the natcon.)

 

Comments

The financial year can finish at any convenient time.

The end of February may be good since thatís before the earliest usual convention dates.

 

 


Combination of Natcon to Natcon and Yearly

This suggestion was made at the Wellington social day.

How it would work

This would work much the same as the Yearly option, except that registrations could be taken via a natcon as well.

The membership period would be from period to period.

Since membership taken at a natcon would fall in the middle of a period, it would have to be decided whether to give a bonus membership time, and have the membership start from the NEXT period, or have a short membership period at first.

Membership payments might be set to be payed in advance. Ie a payment in 2001 would equate to a membership for the 2002 period.

Pros

 

The option to register for the natorg at the natcon makes membership easier.

Cons

Because of the option for registering at a Natcon, but membership not being linked to the natcon, there will exist some confusion.

There are some iterations of this option which would increase administration.