Ride Til We Rot in Australia are entering a new phase.
We are becoming more active and are beginning to hold rides and events in our own name and in our own right.
We need to protect those who are putting in their time and organising these events or being state and national office bearers, from litigation and personal liability if some idiot does something stupid on an organised run or similar.
We have begun to have negotiations with Government bodies about providing assistance and equipment to help fallen and injured riders rehabilitate.
To do this the society must move forward and become a legal entity in its own right. Eventually a charity in its own right.
We have had a lot of members come and go over the years, some are still riding with us, some have passed on and some have taken up different interests.
While it’s great to have a record of everyone that was ever a member here, under our current system all of them still show up on the books in the one group - as current members.
In practical terms this system makes it extremely difficult to understand how many members we have in each state and territory to organise functions and rides.
In legal areas it makes it difficult to determine a quorum for meetings, or indeed to even know how many current members we have in Australia for legal or insurance paperwork.
Basically the current system is a dogs breakfast with a manilla folder full of old (and some new) membership forms.
To be able to tell which members on the books are still current and or still interested we may have to go a different memberships system.
The current system of just filling in the form and posting into whoever currently is managing the books on a once only basis is what has produced this problem, This system was fine while the society was small and everyone was known to the bookkeeper but not for an Australia wide organisation across many states. While membership was small and close knit, costs were small and legalities were incidental.
As the organisation has grown administrative costs are being incurred and these cannot be met or expected to be met only by the volunteers doing the work.
In the past in Australia there was no joining fee, no annual fee and patches etc are sold and purchased at replacement cost.
It is impossible to continue to run like this and move into a stable and legal society that supports its members and office bearers at the same time.
In other countries they have had to change from this basic start up system also.
While it is a laudable goal to make a no cost to the user society in the long run someone has to pay, and these systems often drain and endanger the personal finances of those who are willing to volunteer their time.
Building a legal safety net to protect the volunteers requires establishing the legal entity and funding insurance etc.
Ultimately the goal is to have a charitable organisation registered with the Federal gov’t that provides insurance Australia wide to any registered Rotters ride or event. To get there we have to jump through a few hoops, it would be best if the organisation had enough money on hand to pay its government application fees. Asking all the secretaries and chairpeople of each state to find hundreds of dollars from their own pockets, as well as the time they donate, is a bit unfair as the work they are doing is for all members.
What I am proposing is that here in Australia, RTWR move to a small annual fee. This could be as small as $20 each year, but would be open to review at every AGM.
The point would be to provide some funds to the bank and to provide updated information on who is a current member and updates on contact details etc. This would be a great help to the State chairpeople and reps in organising their activities.
It would also enable the funding of the legal paperwork to begin protection of the volunteers and establishment of the charity that would be the legal and financial underpinning of our society.
After much discussion and for the above reasons we have decided to go ahead with the membership fees for Australia.
A $20 annual membership fee.
The Membership fee page has been set up and is operational.
Payment of membership fees can be done here
Renewals can be done here