How does your club accept subscription payments?
|1212 forum posts|
With online/electronic transfer banking being common place these days I wondered what other clubs do about payments?
We currently accept cash or cheque and our account doesn't have an online option to my knowledge. Inevitably cheques will cease at some point and branches are closing or reducing their opening hours.
Several of our members have asked if they can pay electronically which in itself isn't a problem, as a basic BACS will suffice. The key issue as I see it is reconciling who has paid against a reference number and being able to access a list of transactions more frequently that once a month when a statement is posted through the door.
How do other clubs operate?
|Denis Watkins||20/01/2018 10:10:03|
|2906 forum posts|
You can have your club account accessible online Chris, and check it each morning
And Bacs has an empty box where the boys can put their name or their BMFA number
Edited By Denis Watkins on 20/01/2018 10:11:18
|bert baker||20/01/2018 10:28:23|
1176 forum posts
Ask for BMFA number on payment on Bacs payments
Ask for them to e-mail when they have made payment,
Also consider having a cap on period of renewals. I.E November to December, new members would have to Wait for new year to start.
A couple of local clubs do this, it does work well.
And means membership secretary can enjoy his year as well.
Edited By bert baker on 20/01/2018 10:28:53
|Jonathan M||20/01/2018 10:29:49|
470 forum posts
I'm also interested to know how other clubs manage this problem.
We are cheque/postal-order only. What stops us from going electronic is - as you point out - the inability of the membership sec or treasurer to access our account online. If you are sent a paper payment along with the renewal form, then you know someone has paid and can get on and process their renewal. (With the added complexity of members renewing the BMFA element either with ourselves or via another club or directly, this is a 1950s style bureaucracy-heavy enough process as it is!)
Unlike a private individual or commercial entity who can manage all their banking online, it seems that club officials aren't permitted such access. And it can't just be model flying clubs - there must be tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of leisure clubs of all descriptions around the country with the same problem.
Edited By Jonathan M on 20/01/2018 10:30:41
|Peter Miller||20/01/2018 11:01:34|
9189 forum posts
The secretary gets our . BMFA fees as a cheque to himself and then sends a BMFA cheque to htem.
For Club Membership which is separate cheques or cash to the secretary.
True, we do not have a vast number of members.
Our secretary got fed up with chasing the few members who had a habit of not paying on time. . Simple answer. If you don't pay on time you are banned from flying
|Denis Watkins||20/01/2018 11:04:35|
|2906 forum posts|
You are right Jonathan, although we are clubs, an individual is signed up by the bank, it has to be an accountable person, that is why their title is Treasurer
Banks are keen to involve electronic banking due to the low costs involved.
The BMFA update is then a simple BACs payment from the club, ticking off individual members as you go
There is nothing standing in your way
The Chairman of course, or both they and the Secretary, should receive regular updates
|Paul C.||20/01/2018 11:23:14|
450 forum posts
Recently purchased some modeling bits and bobs, paid the supplier by PayPal friends and family so not to incur costs. You get a confirmation email from PayPal of who you have just paid, value, reference number . If members paid by this method and forwarded the PayPal confirmation email to the treasurer could this be an option you could use.
|1333 forum posts|
Having been a Treasurer in a large club, I was dead against BACS payments. Easily done by the bank, no problem there, but a huge amount of extra work for the Treasurer to keep tabs of each individual payment, reconcile each individual payment on the accounts system and then each individual transer of money to BMFA. Also makes auditing more difficult.
No BACS payments encouraged more to come to subs night, and collect their membership card etc. After subs night, I collected the money together, cash and cheques, and paid it in as one batch, updated the accounts with one statement, showed this as one payment date on the membership spreadsheet, and made one submission to BMFA. Fairly easy, and easy to ensure every penny was accounted for.
The next crunch time was the date when a penalty for late payment was levied, and all the payments from subs night until then went in as another batch.
Finally as other payments tricked in they were dealt with individually, and each took as much time to process as a whole batch. Hence the penalty fee.
Perhaps when members want all the options made easy for them they ought to consider the work involved for the Treasurer. I spent at least a day a week on accounts, more likely a day and a half. I had an efficient system and I doubt anyone could have done it faster. I had efficient IT systems set up with mail merging facilities. However, there were always a few that were not satisfied with anything and demanded things their way, even to the point of threatening violence.
Any wonder I'm not still Treasurer?
|Geoff Sleath||20/01/2018 11:49:44|
2720 forum posts
My wife has been the treasurer of the local cycle club (Derby Mercury) for over 25 years and, as you'd expect, she has it down to a 'T'. With over 200 members she has to. Most members pay their subs by cheque but it is possible to do it by transfer directly to the account. The main problem she has in on-line banking is that multiple signatures are required and I think that probably applies to all club accounts. She handles a lot more money than most model clubs because of club clothing, which is quite expensive. (needless to say, she's the family's - all two of us - CFO but she's very tolerant about hobby spend )
I pay my combined model club and BMFA subs by cheque and it's often the only cheque I write all year.
|Dave Bran||20/01/2018 12:14:23|
1892 forum posts
BACS, Email when done. Only notify on changes. Easy no hassle, Treasurer loves simplicity.
BACS, Email when done.Only notify on Changes. Easy no hassle, Treasurer loves simplicity.
Payment expected by Cheque, anything else frowned on, have to fill out large form reconfirming all details EVERY time even if no changes. Have to provide hard copy of BMFA (which in itself is a concession as formerly you had to send original for it to be returned!) Form payment boxes do not allow for cost reduction of already having BMFA. Unable to cope with people who have more than one active EMail address. All membership comms have to be Snail Mail.
|PETER BRUCE - Eastchurch Gap||20/01/2018 12:14:49|
747 forum posts
It’s been very interesting to read the comments above. I am only an onlooker to the secretaries / treasurers work within our club however it takes a good deal of time to keep it all running smoothly especially at this time of year but there is also another aspect not mentioned regarding banks. Often clubs AGMs are held at the same time the subs are due so this is the time new secretaries and treasurers are voted in. Now you have the agro of all having to go to the bank in person together with the newly elected people to change over the bank details which over the years I have observed (with a few banks) seems to be a task the banks have a job to get right. I know things are a lot tighter now with the banks due to the new money laundering laws but it’s another aspect club members are not aware of when they pay in their dues. I can only lavish my praise on club secretaries and treasurers - what a great job they do for free.👍
|2031 forum posts|
Having been Membership Sec for my club for over twenty years (110 members) , things have got so much easier of late. 95% of members pay their dues before the end of December because we offer a £15 discount (works well but don't call it a penalty, rejoining fee or fine etc) if you pay before the end of the year. BMFA renewals are done on-line in one main batch at the end of December with the few stragglers going through towards the end of January and are then stuck with the extra fifteen quid.
When I first took on the job, I'd still be processing payments in May as people held off until the better weather - £15 discount on £71 club sub does focus the attention of the vast majority - posted out club cards and BMFA last week and I'll be done with the rest and any new members joining now by mid February. Easy, but you've got to be organised.
25% of members pay by cash, 25% by bank transfer, the rest by cheque, although bank transfer is increasing in popularity each year. It's no problem to organise if you have an on-line account, get people to put their name as the payment reference and drop me an email or text when the payment's made. Easy to keep track with a final cross check on the bank statement at the end.
Edited By Cuban8 on 20/01/2018 12:31:22
|Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator||20/01/2018 13:04:46|
15423 forum posts
I am the treasurer of our club and I also do all the membership and BMFA payments etc.
We allow payment by; cash, cheque or electronically. Electronic payment can be either a single payment or a monthly standing order.
I very, very, much prefer electronic payment and do my best to encourage all members to use this method. I ask members to include, as the reference in the payment, their name and too send me a confirming email stating they have paid. I can then check payment via on-line banking.
The advantages to me, and the club, of electronic payment are:
1. No cash or cheques are handled by me - no receipts need be issued. Payment goes direct from the member to the club's bank account. It also, as a spin off benefit, makes my own payment of my membership fees "too myself", transparent and provides an independent record of such as the money moves from my personal account to the club's.
2. Via on-line banking I can check in an instant, any time night or day, if any member has paid, when they paid etc.
3. The online bank statements and transaction records provide an independent financial record of the club's business, its income and expenditure. This is both convenient and more robust for audit.
4. It is far more convenient for members - they can, and do, pay their fees at any time of the day or night that suits them.
5. As treasurer I know the club's exact financial position at all times.
6. it is more secure than me having cash in the house - which if all members pay cash can result, in this time of year, in considerable sums laying around awaiting a a trip to the bank. Its also easier - far fewer bank trips for me.
Overall - I believe this to be the very best system for running the club's income and expenditure. Following my "encouragement" (I have been known to sigh deeply when a member stands before me clutching cash and waiting to pay his fees!) I would say over 90% of our members now pay electronically.
I maintain an independent set of my own club accounts (in a spread sheet with double entry bookkeeping) and simply make a periodic payment to BMFA for members national body membership etc. I also use these accounts as a check on the bank record and the bank's records as a check on these accounts - the two should always reconcile, minus any very recent payments or income.
Easy system, reliable, auditable and best of all - minimal work!
The key to making a success of electronic payment is, I believe, to have on-line banking access for the treasurer alongside it. The two together are vital, one without the other is chaos and a lot of extra work.
|Jonathan M||20/01/2018 13:10:55|
470 forum posts
I'm new to the job of Membership Sec, but (leaving aside the issue of authorised online access by the Treasurer followed by the additional work of regularly communicating this data to the separate Memb Sec) it is the justifiable view of our committee that people will simply forget to include a BACS reference (name or BMFA number) if paying electronically, even if they remember to email me that they've used this method - try getting to the bottom of that subset of problems!
So far I've had several overpayments and underpayments, some through adding-up errors on the form; also some people forgetting to include a small extra sum (sinking-fund to pay for patch maintenance equipment) even though it is there in black and white on the form, who then need chasing; and, of the proportion who don't renew their BMFA through the club, several haven't provided proof of insurance renewal (because they didn't print off and include the BMFA online confirmation, haven't yet received in in the post, or haven't yet got it from their lead club).
For each batch, then, I've got to send out receipts plus a new membership card for the year, plus temporary BMFA cards to those who've renewed through the club, whilst putting the problem renewals into a holding folder - both physically on on my spreadsheet. (For additional time-consuming bother, although there's the BMFA portal to access to check renewal records, some people still need emailing... following which I DO get low-level grief in return!) After a week or two a pack arrives in the post containing BMFA cards which have to be posted out to individual members.
Repeat all of the above for second batch, then the dribs and drabs who renew late through the year - and just hope they get the arithmetic right to exclude the early-renewal discount but include the small equipment levy!
I propose a simpler system (the whole world, not just our little club):
1. Everyone renews and pays the BMFA directly with them (online or cheques in the post) who then post their BMFA cards to them.
2. Everyone renews their club membership(s) with their club(s). Proof to the club(s) of BMFA renewal must be provided direct to the club(s) on renewal (printed or emailed online renewal confirmation, or photocopy of BMFA letter and card in the post) to save the club time and hassle. The club can still check via the BMFA portal, but this is time-consuming and tedious for the volunteer Memb Sec.
3. Each club can then choose its own acceptable methods for payment - cheques, cash, postal-order, BACS or PayPal - as suits them. My own preference would be for as many members as possible to move to BACS (via online or telephone banking), which can be encouraged by offering an 'electronic payment discount' just as we offer an 'early renewal discount'. The problem of the Memb Sec not having online access wold need to be resolved.
Despite the obvious efficiencies to clubs such as ours and to the BMFA, there were no doubt be a whole host of reasons in defence of why the cacophony of renewal and payment methods of a 1950s system needs to continue.
|2031 forum posts|
Getting members to fill in a form every year is a pain, people put it off or don't read it correctly or make any one of a miriad of possible mistakes - as a membership sec why would you want to be inundated with paperwork anyway? It's up to members to inform you of change of status. On the email renewal notification that goes to all members I put very clearly....'there is no need to print and return this notification with your payment' yet I still get a few back!
BMFA through another club? no prob. Club rules state that no BMFA, no fly. Check members' status on the club portal - if they're not showing as 'active' then take steps. Dead easy & never had a problem. As for temporary membership cards, I'd only send them out if I was asked by a member who needed to show proof at another venue, so far I've never been asked
Edited By Cuban8 on 20/01/2018 13:53:09
|1212 forum posts|
Thanks chaps, that's been very helpful.
What providers do you use? We currently use a 'clubs and societies' account with HSBC. I don't know if there is an electronic option on that account but i'm sure it could be arranged.
We have about 90 members, so it is a bit of work.
|1212 forum posts|
One thing that could be improved from a BMFA perspective is the need to post membership cards. For those who have an email address, a simple email certificate could be used, no different to car insurance.
This could also be done for club membership cards.
|Colin Bernard||20/01/2018 15:17:01|
433 forum posts
For our club we have a club account with Lloyds which precludes us from having online access or even having a card to allow us to get a mini statement from an ATM.
The way we operate is that we encourage renewals at the club AGM in November, the club year starting 1st Dec. Anyone not renewing by December then risks losing their place to someone on the waiting list. This works reasonably well.
For payment we take cash, cheque or online payments, but for the latter the member enters their name in the payment reference, and sends me an email with a screen shot of the payment screen as notification of payment.
783 forum posts
As membership secretary and treasurer of a club it amazes me that whilst members are always very reluctant to take on the role that involves them in any work they are very ready to expect "silver service" from those who do give up their modelling and flying time to serve others whether that be in administration or ground maintenance The good news is that service is available, in say, a golf club but expect to pay 20 or 30 times the membership fee
Surely it is not too much to expect each individual member to make their own effort to ensure the renewal and paperwork is in the hands of the appropriate official in a timely manner i for one refuse to log onto the bank account each day to see who has paid in our club we have a Cinderella factor i.e. Club and zBMFA paid on time or you get your money back, go on a waiting list and pay a rejoining fee
As it is I am sure most club officials could get at least one model built in the time they spend doing club admin, attending committee meetings and doing physical work.
|Denis Watkins||20/01/2018 16:28:03|
|2906 forum posts|
Great thread ChrisB, I cannot believe that we all do the same relatively simple task, to achieve a one off yearly payment for membership, and arrive there from taking so many different routes.
The Portal, has made the task so much easier.
Please login to post a reply.
Want the latest issue of RCM&E? Use our magazine locator link to find your nearest stockist!