Groups and organisations set up as an association or company limited by guarantee are generally membership organisations. The Management Committee must be familiar with the organisation’s membership structure and members’ rights and responsibilities.
Membership organisations should maintain an up-to-date registry of its members. If your organisation is a company limited by guaranteed you have a statutory obligation to maintain your membership records.
What is your membership structure?
Your governing document will generally provide information on membership, including:
- who can be a member;
- whether there are different types of members;
- what is the criteria for membership;
- whether a membership fee is payable;
- how people apply for membership;
- whether members have voting rights;
- the number of members for quorum at an Annual General Meeting (AGM);
- how membership may be terminated; and
- members’ eligibility for election onto the Management Committee.
Benefits of having members
There are many benefits associated with membership organisations, which may include:
- raising the profile of the organisation;
- an indicator of the need for the organisation;
- improving an organisation’s ability to influence the social or political environment;
- representing the needs of your beneficiaries (if properly engaged);
- enhancing the Management Committee’s transparency and accountability; and
- providing a consistent source of Management Committee members.