Loomio
February 10th, 2020 08:08

2020/21 budget: should we consider raising membership fees?

Jez Nicholson (Director)
Jez Nicholson (Director) Public Seen by 102

Tony Shield correctly pointed out on another thread that, "expenditure for microgrants has been approved, and unexpected expenditure for Loomio incurred - should budget planning be started and revenue raising reviewed? Last year there was a proposal to increase some membership fees- should membership fees be reviewed so that income matches expenditure aims?"

Yes, absolutely. Let's gather some opinions before we get too close to the AGM (in May/June).

I don't have the finance figures to hand, so could a fellow-Director chime in with some a very rough budget statement please? Just the facts.

Connected to this: Administration of corporate membership is a proving to be a pain. We issue invoices which then have to be chased. The majority are SMEs and the time/effort cost outweighs the money brought in. We then have to repeat on renewal.

EB

Edward Bainton February 10th, 2020 18:20

We issue invoices which then have to be chased. 

Could we/you require payment in advance, with a proforma invoice issued after the fact?

I'm an SME myself, and life is just too short to chase late payers. Most will have no problem paying in advance for things when they have to, they just need to route it through the appropriate policies.

RobJN (Director)

RobJN (Director) February 10th, 2020 21:55

It's not the creating of the invoice that this the issue its the chasing them to pay that causes problematic. For example, we strike up a conversation and get good interest. We then get asked to send the payment details (which is what's on the invoice) but nothing... chasing... chasing...

How to convert interest to actual payment with more ease. We could not let them escape until they have paid but I suspect that won't go down well!

RobJN (Director)

RobJN (Director) February 10th, 2020 22:00

Here is the latest financial statement (8 Feb):

Bank

 £  2,984.39

Paypal

 £     100.00

Total Cash

 £  3,084.39

Plus Corporate Membership Invoices

 £     200.00

Less Corporation Tax (est)

 £     200.00

Total Assets

 £  3,084.39

Less Microgrant commitment

 £     500.00

Less Reserve

 £     500.00

AVAILABLE

 £  2,084.39

I think a reserve of £1000 is more appropriate and it should be noted that a good chunk of the current funds has come from two ad hoc projects. These are not guaranteed and hence our annual expenditure plan is based on the income we get from membership. We aim to spend it all in support of our member.

2020/21 plan:

Income:

£ 500        Membership from individuals (100 x £5)

£ 250        Membership from corporate (5 x £50 @ SME rate)

£ 750

Expenditure:

£ 50        Website domain

£ 500        Microgrant program

£ 200        Conference fees / Travel expenses for bilateral meetings

£ 750

RobJN (Director)

RobJN (Director) February 10th, 2020 22:04

So far, 9 months in, we are overspending due to higher website/webservices costs. We are also under on income due to the corporate membership issue above (volunteer help wanted).

Finally it should be noted that we currently have web hosting paid by a community member. I feel it prudent to plan for us having to pay this ourselves (circa £120 per year).

EB

Edward Bainton February 10th, 2020 22:31

So are these prospects for corp membership who don't actually convert to payment/membership, or are they existing members/contractually agreed to be members but are late paying what they agreed?

I understood the latter but I think you're saying former?

RobJN (Director)

RobJN (Director) February 11th, 2020 00:00

Either new corp members who have provided a verbal (or emailed) commitment to pay. Or they are existing corporate members whose membership has lapsed and we are keen to get them paid up for another year.

To be honest it doesn't make much difference as we are not doing work up front (i.e. they don't get into arrears other than the informal commitment they made).

Jez Nicholson (Director)

Jez Nicholson (Director) February 11th, 2020 15:53

In general, (some of) my opinions are that:

  • The organisation should be self-sufficient, ie bring in enough to cover reasonable costs without needing freebies.

  • The organisation should be able to redirect more money via the microgrant programme.

  • Normal member fees are exceptionally low. They could go up...but equally I don't want to punish the people trying to make a difference when 1000's get it for free. Doubling to £10 would not hurt.

  • SME rates are low. Just being mentioned on the web site is worth £50 for the SEO. The rate should rise by 20-50%

  • We should look for other ways to raise revenue.

  • Money donated via OpenStreetMap.org to goes to the OSMF. Some people do this annually to 'pay their dues' to OSS. Some of it should be allocated to Local Chapters. And/or we should give people the opportunity to donate at the local level.

  • I would be happy for the organisation to eventually have a paid employee or two. But that's for the future.

  • I don't want it all to be about 💰 money

RobJN (Director)

RobJN (Director) February 16th, 2020 15:36

Are there any further views from members on the fees that we should charge next year?

EB

Edward Bainton February 16th, 2020 21:39

I'd be perfectly happy with £10. Maybe give Directors discretion to fix a lower rate for those unwaged/OAP/etc.

Tony Shield

Tony Shield February 17th, 2020 17:52

I think Ed is right on this. When I first joined I thought the fees were low, but now I see fees are low and numbers are low - I will be happy at £10pa.

Do we need corporate members if they are delinquent as a group?

Are we allowed to increase membership - perhaps by emailing contributors? or at least new contributors with an introductory welcome so they know what they have signed up for? Not for the slightest am I trying to limit membership, and I dont know what the rules for emailing local contributors are.

Jez Nicholson (Director)

Jez Nicholson (Director) April 6th, 2020 18:57

Just wondering, is there something comparable? I don't know what the other Local Chapters charge or even if we should follow them, but there must be other professional/friendly bodies....