Proposed Options to Membership Joining Process

WTMC joining requirements

As part of our overhaul of membership-related matters, your Committee has been giving some thought to what we ask of would-be members. At the moment, people have to complete two trips and collect signatures from a nominator, seconder and committee officer. We’ve had some feedback that this creates barriers for a number of would-be members.

In September, as part of the club night where we asked for feedback on the membership categories proposal, we also asked people to think about the joining requirements. We’ve had some strong feedback, including from people new to the club, and from non members. We’ve also had conversations with the Tararua Tramping Club, which several years ago removed its own requirement to complete trips before joining, and definitely has no regrets about the change. This has led Committee to develop some options to stimulate your thinking. These options are outlined below, and we are very keen to hear your views on the way forward. We’re open to your thoughts – you might want to propose another option that combines some of the ideas below.

Another idea floated at our most recent Committee meeting was to consider some requirements around giving back to the club. For example, every new member must within a year do one volunteer job for the club. Jobs would range from small to large: help on the door, be an emergency contact for a weekend, wash the vans, do a lodge work trip, gear cupboard,  lead a trip, be on the committee, etc. We’re keen to hear what you think about this too.

What we really want at the moment is to hear your views. In terms of the process from here, this is something Committee will decide when we get a sufficient amount of feedback. If there is momentum for change, then this is something we would look to action in early 2015.


 

Option 1: Anyone can join with no requirements or signatures

Advantages

  1. Makes WTMC easier, more friendly and more welcoming to new people to join the club.
  2. Removes the challenge of getting the actual nominations. As less people regularly attend club nights, it’s not always easy to find a night where the appropriate people are actually at club.
  3. Increases  the number of people who can volunteer,  increases the number of people paying subs, increases the number of people on and leading trips.
  4. If membership becomes easy for people to obtain, the club can use existing means to ensure the club’s focus remains on tramping. For example, the chief guide has ultimate responsibility for trip planning and the final schedule, as well as approving who can lead trips. So the chief guide could easily restrict or limit the number of non-tramping/mountaineering trips. The chief guide could say no or ask a person to get more experience, if they aren’t capable of leading a trip.
  5. Committee members must be nominated and approved, so the club membership as a whole can influence who is on the committee and can ultimately change the direction of the club.
  6. Consistent with other clubs eg TTC.

Other points

If members act inappropriately or have intentions otherwise negative towards the club, the club has processes to address issues and if necessary terminate membership.

Use the existing club processes to protect the ethos of the club (potentially could increase the quorum required for an EGM or AGM).


 

Option 2: No trip-completion requirement, but nominating and seconding required, and also an associate or provisional membership period

Description

  • Nominated and seconded by two full members (with six months or more membership)
  • Approved by committee
  • Associate membership for a period of six months:

o       They will not be able to vote at AGMs and SGMs

o       They will not be able to join the committee (in a voting capacity)

o       They will not receive club subsidies for training events (this is already the case for new members)

o       They cannot nominate people for club membership (currently there is a 12 month membership requirement to nominate other members; we’ll reduce this to 6 months to align it with everything else)

o       They can have their membership terminated by the committee without recourse (and receive a full refund on their membership subs).

o       For a very small subset of member-only trips with high demand, such as Snowcraft, members of greater than six months’ standing may be given preference if there is a waitlist.

Disadvantages

  1. Complicated for WTMC to operate and administer
  2. Not easy to explain to prospective members
  3. A deterrent to joining, potentially more so than the status quo because the six months may seem like a probation period.

Option 3: Aspiring members are required to do one/two activities prior to membership, but no nominations are required –

Description

People can go on any two (or one?) club trips (day trip, MTB/Rock/ skiing etc. i.e. not restricted to two overnight tramps) before being allowed to join. Could do away with the need for endorsement by Committee members and just ask the prospective member to say who lead their trip/s.

Advantages

  1. WTMC still able to ‘vet’ prospective members before joining but this is less onerous for all
  2. Better caters to day walkers, skiers i.e. those who wish to join but aren’t overnight trampers

Disadvantages

  1. Any sort of ‘pre membership trip requirement’ is not aligned with other similar interest groups (TTC, Adventure Wellington) or the way many interest groups now operate. So for people who find WTMC through website/ social media or however, this requirement may create the impression that if they come on a trip, they will essentially be ‘on trial’. This could seem exclusive and be a barrier, in the same way that the status quo is.

 

Option 4: No change to current processes – must do two trips, collect nominator/seconder/officer signatures

Advantages:

  1. no need to do any further work! including the EGM
  2. Perhaps more appealing to some long-term members who value current practice.
  3. It keeps the club explicitly focused on tramping and mountaineering
  4. It means that when people join they will be ready to volunteer to help with the clubs running
  5. We can filter out people.

Disadvantages

  1. It prevents some people from joining.
  2. Newer members of the club and some prospective members see it as exclusive and unwelcoming
  3. Skiers cannot join the club. (though if overnight ski trips were organised I suppose they could.)
  4. Daywalkers cannot join the club.
  5. We do not get as many members.
  6. People miss out for a year on doing snowcraft as we can’t let them go as they are not members.

3 thoughts on “Proposed Options to Membership Joining Process”

  1. As a (relatively) recent addition to the club, I fully support option 1 i.e. no prerequisites. The existing process applies a filtering process at a juncture where little can really be deduced about a persons character or suitability. I doubt that undertaking the two trips, likely with different leaders, will allow accurate or consistent objective observations – and they are undoubtedly a barrier. I met several people on my first two trips who had been tramping with the club for years without becoming members. I believe that the filtering process should be incorporated into the trips categories themselves, along the lines of the current system of not allowing first-timers to go on fit trips. Non-members can easily kick the tires by going on trips before they become members. Remember that it is WTMC that are doing the selling here, not the other way around, and that a vibrant club requires a steady stream of new-comers. New people will not always align with and should not be judged based on the ideals of the existing membership, else WTMC will not evolve to meet a changing society.

    Reply
  2. When I joined, I was told the main reason for requiring two overnight trips that didn’t include the lodge was to vet people who just wanted cheap access to the lodge. At the time (back in about 2007 / 2008) the lodge seemed to be more often full than it has been in recent seasons, so I dont know if thats still an issue.

    Given the cost of membership, I think people should be encouraged to do trips with us before they join, to ensure that they like us as well (not just that we think they are ok). I certainly wouldn’t have paid $80+ for a membership to a club I had never participated with. Unless I was doing it specifically to get cheaper accommodation at the lodge.

    If you are comparing yourself with AW / Wellington Tramping Meetup, then thats your comparison – they dont have a membership fee, so no need to require people to do activities with them before they join up.
    But from my experience with the families group, I also see that two overnight (non-lodge) trips is too much to ask to get an adult membership for many families, who largely only ever daywalk, and basically never attend meetings.

    So I think all thats a convoluted way of saying I like option 3.
    Its not just us seeing that we like them enough to allow them in, its them seeing that they actually like US before they spend a chunk of money joining up.

    Reply
    • “When I joined, I was told the main reason for requiring two overnight trips that didn’t include the lodge was to vet people who just wanted cheap access to the lodge.”

      There might be a few informal reasons out there. I don’t know which if any is the actual reason, but the story I heard was that it was to vet people who might be joining trips for the “wrong” reasons. (Readers can interpret that as they will.)

      I don’t know how many people’s applications, if any, have ever actually been denied from the vetting process, though. It’s possible for people to sign up and go on trips even when they’re not vetted members, though, so if that’s the reason then it’s probably more important just to make sure the processes are available to address any problems if it turns out that certain people are there for the “wrong” reasons.

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