The club constitution specifies that the club’s fiscal year runs from April 1st to March 31st and that memberships expire on March 31 of each year. The Board of Directors proposes that we change these provisions so that the club’s fiscal year runs from January 1st to December 31st. Memberships would expire on December 31st.
As explained below, this is a practical housekeeping measure to align the club’s constitution with how the club is actually managed. In the opinion of the members of the Board, there is no downside to making this change and no benefit to keeping things as they are.
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Why make the change?
Why change the fiscal year and the date of membership expiry? Housekeeping, really.
For all practical purposes, the club already follows the calendar year: club activities start to pick up mid-spring and wind down in late fall. When the Board presents financial reports at the AGM, the numbers presented are for the previous calendar year. Members start renewing their memberships in January and 50% or more have renewed by the AGM, which is normally held in late March or early April. And our online membership management system already uses a December 31st membership expiry date (using December 31st was the simplest and most robust way of supporting self-service renewals – allowing people to renew without requiring administrative/board assistance – and it’s important to keep IT systems simple and robust).
We want to make this change simply to have the constitution reflect how the club is actually managed.
What happens January 1st?
In practice, very little. Basically, a database flag is changed. This makes sense, because there really aren’t any club activities that require paid membership until the AGM.
While memberships expire on December 31st, members do not lose access to club resources, like the web site, at least not right away: When the new year begins, members are moved into a “grace” status that allows them to self-renew and allows them to continue receiving member emails, to continue to access member-only areas of the web site, etc. Members who have not renewed don’t lose privileges until April 30th: At that point, they stop receiving member emails, lose access to member-only areas of the web site, are no longer permitted to come on runs, etc.
About half of our members renew online in the first few months of the year, about a quarter at the AGM, and the rest tend to renew throughout April and into early May. This works and works well. Once a membership expires, it requires a little behind-the-scenes work to renew, but the effort is low and this also works well.
The details of the proposed change
Current wording of the constitution
The relevant sections of the Constitution of the Eastern Ontario TrailBlazers 4×4 Inc. are sections 30 and 37:
- Fees for the new year will normally be paid before the start of the new fiscal year, which is April 1. All memberships expire on March 31 regardless of when the member joined the Club.
- Unless otherwise ordered by the Board of Directors, the fiscal year of the Corporation shall terminate on the last day of March in each year.
Proposed new wording of the constitution
We propose changing these sections to read:
- All memberships expire on December 31st, regardless of when each membership fee was paid.
- The fiscal year of the Club shall begin on January 1st of each calendar year and shall end on December 31st of that same year.
Voting period: April 15, 2018, to May 5th, 2018
The voting period on this amendment is three weeks, from 12:01 AM Sunday April 15, 2018, to 11:59 PM Saturday May 5th, 2018. As of this writing, there are 48 paid members of the club, which means that a minimum of 25 members must vote and at least half of those who vote must approve the change for the amendment to carry.
Please do register your vote!