1.6 Establishing a membership policy and membership register

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This section will help you to think through some aspects relating to the establishment of a membership policy, and provide some examples of how VOPEs handle their membership.

The members of your VOPE are the heartbeat of your organization and, as such, your VOPE should strive to communicate and engage members on an ongoing basis.  To this end a Membership Register and Policy should be developed and maintained.  Once the membership policy is established, the actual running of a membership administration system can be planned and implemented.

The membership policy of your VOPE will inform prospective members of the benefits and the services they can enjoy if they join your organization.  The Australian Evaluation society makes the following call for participation in their organization on their website:   “If these services and benefits enhance your professional profile and support your professional development join the Australasian Evaluation Society.” (Australian Evaluation Society webpage at www.aes.asn.au/ join-the-aes/service-and-benefits).

Your organization should in the membership policy include some of the following aspects:

  • benefits and services;
  • membership types (and include the requirements, benefits and fees for each type);
  • requirements for becoming a member (if any); and
  • process of joining.

Many VOPEs have categorized members into different membership types, enabling them to tailor membership fees and benefits to the various requirements of potential members.  For example, your VOPE might make provision for student members to join at a lower registration fee than regular members, or organizations to pay a yearly fee allowing all their employees to benefit from the VOPE.  It is important to clarify and define the most important membership types in detail before attempting to administer the membership system.  Here is a list of some membership types you might consider:

  • Regular.
  • Student.
  • Joint – Members who join one Evaluation Association are able to join another organization at no cost or at a lower fee (e.g. AEA and CES: “For those whose primary membership is with the Canadian Evaluation Society. CES Joint Standard Membership ($75) includes subscriptions to two hard copy and four electronic journals. CES Joint E-Membership ($65) includes only electronic access to four journals.”) (American Evaluation Association webpage at http://www.eval.org/p/cm/ld/fid=15).
  • Organization – Organizations which conduct evaluations.
  • Organizational – Organizations which commission evaluations.
  • Non-Member Guest Registration – AEA provides access to guests to the website in the following manner:  “If you are looking to create a profile and find out more about AEA, please register for the website as a non-member guest and you will be issued limited access to the site. As a non-member guest you can register for events as a non-member and also upgrade to a full member at any time.” (American Evaluation Association webpage at http://www.eval.org/p/cm/ld/fid=15).

You might further have some requirements, namely a registration process potential members need to adhere to in order to qualify as a member.  It is important to document these requirements as well.  The Australian Evaluation Association requests their potential members to read through the AES Code of Ethical Conduct before completing their membership application.

A membership register provides information about the members of your VOPE.  Decisions need to be made on how to make this information available and you should make members aware of your policy on the access to membership information.  You might want to restrict access to your membership register to other registered members or alternatively require individual members to make a choice as to whether they want their contact details published on a website or not.

Keywords: 
Membership, Member Benefits, Individual Members

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