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  4. Ensure proper arrangements for the management of membership as set out in the governing document

Principle 5

Ensure proper arrangements for the management of membership as set out in the governing document


Many community and voluntary organisations have members.  Some organisations have different categories of members.  It is the members of the organisation who meet at an AGM and elect the management committee for the coming year.  For some community organisations, the members are all the people who live in a particular area.  In a sports club, the members may be all the people who participate in the sport through the club.  For some umbrella organisations, the members are organisations rather than individuals.

Increasingly, the members of larger organisations are identical to the members of the management committees, in which case management of membership is about membership of the management committee and good governance.  For other organisations with a wider group of members it is important to be clear about the purpose of having a membership and what role the organisation wants members to play in the organisation.

Questions voluntary and community organisations may want to ask themselves might include:

  • Why do we want members?
  • What does our constitution say about membership? And is it still appropriate?
  • Have we got the right membership structure/categories?
  • Do we have the appropriate level of membership fees, if any?
  • Do we want to grow our membership base? How might we do this?
  • Is our membership balanced geographically and in terms of section 75 groups?
  • How can we improve the diversity of our membership?
  • What do our members think about the organisation and how it communicates with/involves members?
  • How can we better promote member participation?
  • How can we improve the engagement of members in promoting the mission of the organisation?
  • Do we know who our members are and are we keeping their data securely?

For more details on managing membership, see the Charity Commission Guidance on Running Your Charity.