Membership fee debate - Thank You.

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Post by Jaba »

I still feel that no one has made a convincing case for consolidating the present forum into a Club as a Ltd company. The cost I regard as a secondary issue. I would pay whatever is necessary to keep the excellent foum alive. Things may of course change in the future but at the moment this is not apparently an issue..............

So let me propose the followings cons some of which have already been aired.............

1. Only one 'national' meet has been organised and five members only attended.

2. To be sued negligence has to be proved. A wise organiser takes out public indemnity insurance to cover the risks. As we do personally when we organise social events locally.

3. Companies mean ongoing costs, meetings, constitutions, accounts, AGMs, a ruling clique/elite and other unpleasant, boring though necessary things.

I am really neutral on the idea/proposal but choose to present a few thoughts to focus on some of the realities and not to just go with the flow as an emotional issue or out of fear of the unknown.

I rest my case. Up the BX !
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Post by tom »

Taking your points in order:
An events secretary would allow more formalised coodination of events and we would get more attendees.
Where is the funding to come from for this insurance?
We know that there will be ongoing administrative issues. That is one reason for having this debate.

You have not stated an alternative policy but for your information, ours is a club that is growing fast and it is inevitable that members will require more from it. Because it is currently funded on an ad-hoc basis, there will need to be a formalised structure in order to deal with the press and insurers and to divide labour so that new members know who to ask and so that people do not duplicate effort. We have gained 115 members in eight months. This time next year, this might well be over 200. It is therefore necessary to install some sort of administration to be able to serve them before the size of the club makes it unwieldy and of no help to anyone.
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Post by DLM »

Hmmm - plenty of arguments here: my pennyworth is that I've had stupendously vital, good-natured help from members of the club and would never wish bankruptcy or the threat of it on ANYONE, least of all those who have helped me.

If a £5 for-life-fee is the best way to keep the sharks at bay, and cover for any of life's many unforeseen circumstances, then I'm very willing to pay it. I appreciate all the arguments about lack of formal structure, which is what my gut tells me is the best thing in an ideal world, but an ideal world it ain't, sadly.

My head tells me strongly that a limited structure/fee is a very small price to pay for the protection it offers.
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Post by mat_fenwick »

A little late I will add my thoughts to the debate:
I have got no problem at all in paying a fee to be a member of this club - personally I would rather it went towards rewarding the people who have put the time, money and effort into the organisation, rather than to cover the risk of being sued if there is an unfortunate accident. However, if that is what people feel to be required in today's 'Where there's blame there's a claim' society then that is what must be.
Something to consider though; if we keep things as they are i.e. fairly informal, and someone is injured during a meet, then surely it could be argued that it is simply a bunch of like minded individuals who have decided to meet up using an internet based forum as a means of communication. If the club IS formalised then as an organised body then is it at more risk of being held legally responsible?
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Post by ken newbold »

OK Jon, thanks for your views.

As I had already said, whatever the administrators and organisers feel they must do in order to protect both themselves and the club will be fine by me and I'm sure almost everyone else.

Carry on, doing a great job.
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Post by Philip Chidlow »

Jon, I think I probably speak for many of the 'later' members in that I didn't really know (or it didn't really register) that you are a (the) founder member of this fascinating and worthwhile club. Please realise that I appreciate your efforts and there was no insult intended by not raising the question about what you felt. Your points seem valid and I, for one this time, feel that the club should evolve and not try to become a 'fully-blown' Club Ltd. at this stage. I will attand NEC if I can and will ensure as much as possible that I attend the Euro meet (which interests me particularly as I used to live in France). As for events organiser that'd be a good idea, unfortunately with other commitments I couldn't do the rôle justice, but I will help with what I can.

Well done, Jon and Co. =D>
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Post by cavmad »

I fully agree with Ken and Philip here Jon. For my part no malice was intended not sending you a p.m or e-mailing you, I offered to pay dues more as a mark of respect for everyone on here especially yourself and the good people who help out with problems and advice etc.
You should get your band width costs back at the very least, I realise you`ve set this forum up out of the goodness of your heart to help others but that`s no reason why we shouldn`t contribute financially for the privelidge.
Have you thought about perhaps having a contribution header on one of the pages? Maybe those with Paypal could send a small donation towards the costs of this club now and then?
As regards an event secretary I`m unfortunately probably too busy (says he with 1100 posts!) with work and the junior football team I run but I`d have no hesitation in trying to get it off the ground until someone else takes over, or maybe I could become a regional events organiser?
I`ve seen some other car clubs having a few different regional events with organisers for each area then obviously all working together to get a national meet arranged a few times a year.
Incidentally I`d love to display one of my cars at a show and would more than happily pay for the privelidge.
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Post by davek-uk »

I've just caught up with the debate - just like me to be slow.

Personally I think Jon and/or a 'core' founder ought to seek legal advise to find out how liable/responsible an Internet forum is. Because this is your current state. Funding to run the site can be by donation - if needed.

There seems to be a general agreement to form a Club, and as 'members' already meet perhaps this is advisable. But remember you'll be driven by costs.

The trouble is once this Club becomes formalised so its liability increases.

I think it would be wise to find out how much funding would be required to have liability insurance etc for the club in general and for meets/displays etc. Would the Club seek to cover members gathering to work on someone's car? The extra costs for a proper club may be prohibitive - poviding, of course, the forum isn't liable as it stands.

Just my thoughts.

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Post by tim leech »

Well done Jon and thanks for all you have done, as for membership I am also happy to contribute, is it necessary tho? Im happy with things as they are and ite been good to meet people over the past few weeks, the advice and tips have been a god send. However I was part of a Sd1 enthusiats club which was fantastic, more of a social club for liekmided people, but unfortunatly the running of it was left to just 2 people whos personal circumstances changed and noone was prepared/or had the time to take on the running so it folded.

Also sadly there were questions raised to how the money was used and various accusations banded about, all of which were comeplete rubbish, but it caused alot of friction and spoilt the clubs previous fantastic commorardry.

Its always nice to put faces to names and to meet up and admire each oethers motors, but as Im sure most of read the forum alot (everyday for me) we could communicate and swop info using this and organise any kind of event the same way?

Merry christmas to all in the Bx Club!!!!!!
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Post by tim leech »

I would be happy to help in whatever way I can, but remember i am useless when it comes to mechanics! however I work strange hours and dont finish until at teast 6pm evenings and work every saturday, but do have sundays off.

Arranging a meet and or shows in and a round the midlands is no probs as have net access and a phone at work in my office. Plus I can bits from citroen at trade price if thats of use.
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Post by cavmad »

I reckon between us all we could crack it you know. I`m not at all averse to trying to contact publications (Practical Classics?) for a feature and perhaps organising meets/classic car shows round this way if anyone wants.
As I suggested maybe have regional co-ordinators who could possibly also drum up support from other BX owners who may not be aware of this forum?
I`d absolutely love to have a stand at a classic car show, there must be loads we could attend all over Britain from the small to the large, spreading the word as we go.
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Post by Barnsley BXer »

Hi all,count me in too.If you need any help at all,give me a shout.I may not be available all the time due to shift patterns,but I am willing to do what I can when I can.At the moment,I am treasurer for the northern section of the CCC(not for much longer if it has anything to do with me)and have previously been on the national rally committee so I have a little bit of experience to offer (both good and bad)
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Post by Oscar »

Some thoughts:

The club has grown far beyond its original conception of an internet advice forum. It does this best, of all its activities, but it is starting to do other things too.

If it stays in its current, informal “mostly-internet-but-some-physical-activities”, the concerns of administrators around personal liability for activities may mean an end to the forum.

Noone wants to freeload on Jon’s or other moderators’ time, goodwill or wallet.

A fee, payable on sign-up, would weed out those who become members, post twice and then disappear. This will save time, energy and bandwidth.

A properly constituted club has benefits associated with lower insurance premiums, or higher payouts for a write-off.

Asking for a joining fee will create an expectation among new members of “value for money”, activities, other benefits. It should be clearly stated that the membership decides how active the membership wants to be.

There will be an initial rush of enthusiasm. After that, it will be difficult to fill core positions. This means that the same people will end up doing most of the work.

As with any club, there will be a core of more active members. These will meet more regularly, communicate more often, take part in more activities. This is part of the course of human enterprises and should be recognised as such. It would be a shame if the club were blighted with accusations of cliquey-ness or of in-groups and out-groups.

Complete financial transparency from the outset will allay many suspicions around money, influence etc. Posted six-monthly accounts for instance would be beneficial.

In short, I am in favour of a fee if it is necessary to keep the club alive, and as those who keep the club alive feel it is necessary, there should be a fee.

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