The Charity Commission wrote about Membership Charities back in 2004 and a summary of the report can be found here. The recommendations for trustees of charities and for members are below
Recommendations for charity trustees
- Pay careful attention to the governance arrangements that relate to the charity’s members, in particular:
- That the rights of each different type of member and their role within the charity are clearly set out;
- That the role of corporate members is fully understood;
- That effective means of communication with all members are in place;
- That the membership list is kept up-to-date;
- That the governance arrangements are regularly reviewed, including the number of members they have and the level at which a quorum is set;
- Consider whether it is appropriate to include a clause in their governing document setting out the respective roles and responsibilities of members and consider whether any additional procedural documents would be beneficial;
- Consider whether their membership is truly representative of the group it is designed to serve and, if not, consider ways of reaching those that are excluded;
- Be aware of the potential benefits of mediation and, where appropriate, consider whether it might be a useful tool for resolving a disagreement within the charity.
Recommendations for charity members
Charity members should:
- Ensure that the charity clearly explains what the membership role entails, including the rights and responsibilities which accompany the role;
- Exercise their right to vote in the interests of the charity for which they are a member;
- Abide by decisions that are taken fairly and within the rules of the charity.
At the current moment we seem to have a mismatch of expectations about the roles and responsibilities of members and trustees alike: this needs sorting out .