The Commodore's Newsletter July 2017
With the implementation of the new IT systems in the office and the “tidying up” of the membership categories it became easy to identify the membership categories and accurately list the number of members in each category. The accurate information provided has helped the membership committee in identifying new membership areas we need to target to ensure the vibrant future of our club.
The information also allowed us to accurately identify membership numbers in other categories and look at their impact on our club.
The area that really stood out was the percentage of members in the Senior Membership category, currently standing at 32% of our total membership, and growing. As senior members they benefit from a discount to their membership fees of 50%. This discount reduces the income from membership fees currently by £76,000 per annum.
When a Senior Membership category was established there was no idea that such a high proportion of members would be in that category and that such large sums of money would be involved in the discount. Under our constitution no discount amount is specified and it has always been down to the General Committee to set the annual fees.
Some 10 years ago the General Committee identified the large discount to increasing number of members as being unequitable and unsustainable and in need of correction. As such a proposition to abolish the senior membership category was put before an AGM and the proposition approved, thus closing the category.
The following year at that AGM the membership chose to reinstate the category.
As Flag Officers and General Committee members we have already identified these issues to all our members. It has been flagged as an important issue that the GC would be addressing at our annual club forum, at the AGM in my statement to members, in my monthly newsletter and of course in the minutes of the GC meetings.
After all our discussions and consultations clear issues have been identified
We cannot ignore the situation where such a high proportion of members have such a large discount.
We understand that members value the category having reached 65 years of age and been full members for at least 30 years.
Any reduction in the discount needs to be phased in and not addressed in one lump sum.
We need to dispense with the type of “ring fencing” that has gone on in the past (I don’t mind future members being treated differently but don’t affect me).
Whilst we do not need to compare our club with what is happening to clubs in the rest of the UK it is interesting to note that many clubs have just got rid of the category.
At the various receptions I attend when speaking with other commodores and Flag Officers discussing senior membership categories, they were “amazed” at the discount we offer our senior members.
The monies saved by reducing the discount will be used, in full or in part, to fund the club’s strategic reserve fund, a commitment that the GC has made for the last 5 years.
The proposition below was carried unanimously at June’s General Committee meeting and will be implemented from This October.
Senior Membership discount will be reduced from the current 50% to 25%. This reduction in the benefit will be phased over the next three years. Starting October 2017 the discount will be 42%, in October 2018 the discount will be 36% and in October 2019 the discount will be 25%. The new discount rates will apply to all members both current and new. Any member who believes that they now meet the criteria for Senior Membership needs to apply to the office in person, by email or in writing, by the 1st September in the year they become eligible, for the discount to be applied.