Dues and pledges

Urgent appeal. Socialist Alliance needs to submit an updated list of over 1500 members to the Australian Electoral Commission to maintain our electoral registration and appear on the ballot at the next federal election. We're asking all existing members and those interested in joining to confirm your willingness to support our electoral enrolment by filling in this form.

The current method we use to administer Socialist Alliance membership is irksome to me. Even though I pledge a regular amount to the Socialist Alliance each month, via automatic monthly deductions, I still have to be chased up for the payment of my annual membership dues - otherwise, among other consequences, I cease to formally be a SA member.

I realise that under federal and state electoral laws the collection of membership dues is regulated, but surely our current method warrants tweaking to make it easier for both member and membership secretary to negotiate the procedure.

I'd like to suggest that we create two membership options up front from day one as part of our dues paying protocol. Whether this needs to be incorporated in our membership forms is an open question.

Option One: As is. You join the Socialist Alliance and pay your annual dues.

Option Two: You join the Socialist Alliance and op to become a pledge member. This means that you pledge a regular weekly or monthly amount to the SA transferred from your bank account. This transfer of funds will also include your annual membership dues.

Of course we may need some formal authorisation process to cover the automatic deduction of dues from the total annual pledge amount, but from thereon the administrative business is greatly simplified.

With a “dues plus pledge” package we would be much better placed to draw on the financial contributions of members over any annual period. Pledging donations or paying regular bills via automatic bank transfers is a standard financial protocol today. I can't see why we cannot engineer our own version of it stretched to our specific needs.

Combining dues collection with pledges would greatly reduce the perennial burden we face of having to chase up lapsed members as there would be fewer of them. We know that many more people who are Alliance members want to stay Alliance members even when their dues lapse. We also know that many people are keen to support the work of the Alliance by giving the party money because they see that as their ongoing contribution to our politics. Our problem is that we don't habitually hit them for cash.

Look at me: I'm formally a lapsed member despite what I pay out on a regular monthly basis. I've been chased up about my dues, but, you know, I'm forgetful ...

Afterward: I just paid up.