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Circulars 2 Nov 2021

Circular 42/21 Fee-Free RSL NSW Membership

The RSL NSW Board resolved on 27 September that membership for 2022 will be fee free. This Strategic Plan initiative (1.4) is coupled with other Goal 3 initiatives including the just released capability for people to be able to instantly join the RSL in NSW online and be immediately allocated to a sub-Branch of their choosing.

As a result, sub-Branch Executives and, where applicable, paid administration staff will need to make some pro-active modifications to membership administration practices in readiness for next year.

Representatives from sub-Branches have been working with the team at ANZAC House to provide answers to frequently asked questions about the fee free membership. Please see below:

How will the sub-Branch Executives know which member wants to renew or rescind their membership each year?

In accordance with SOP 5, the sub-Branch Secretary is responsible for maintaining the sub-Branch Member roll and personal particulars. The Secretary, in collaboration with the Executive group, is encouraged to make direct contact with members each year to determine their membership status.

For sub-Branches with large memberships this may be an onerous task however this can be carried out at sub-Branch meetings, by phone roster (multiple people responsible for calling multiple members) or email, with the assistance of the ANZAC House Member Support Team. This will facilitate an opportunity to review member contact details and make any updates required to ensure that they continue to receive the Reveille and email updates.

The sub-Branch Portal was designed as a tool to support Secretaries to efficiently maintain membership records. Secretaries are encouraged to contact the ANZAC House Member Support team for assistance with using the Portal and to enrol in the TAFE NSW training that has been offered to sub-Branches.

Sub-Branches are encouraged to take a pro-active approach to communicating with members about confirming their membership status using methods like sub-Branch newsletters and updates. ANZAC House will start communicating with members this November with a call to action to contact their sub-Branch, or the Member Support Team, to confirm their membership for 2022. This call to action will be supported by the December issue of the Reveille.

What will this look like in the Membership list in the sub-Branch Portal?

Membership categories will be updated from Financial or Unfinancial to Active or Inactive.

An Active Member is any Service or Affiliate member who wants to remain a member of the League.

An Inactive Member is any Service or Affiliate member who has not indicated that they want to remain a member of the League and does not wish to be contacted by RSL NSW. Inactive members will automatically drop off the sub-Branch Portal after two years.

Will new members still receive a membership card and badge?

Yes. However, a measure of success of Goal 3 of the RSL NSW Strategic Plan is that by 2024 there will be no membership cards, just badges and electronic membership record that can be accessed from a smart phone, like a COVID vaccination certificate.

In the meantime, Active members should retain their current membership card and will not receive a new card upon renewing their membership, unless their existing card is lost, damaged, or stolen.

Can the sub-Branch charge an administration fee instead of a membership fee?

The RSL NSW Board is developing a Policy for member contributions to support sub-Branches and I will advise when this Policy has been finalised. Any payment under this policy will not be mandatory for members.

If sub-Branches have relied on a percentage of the membership fee to support their charitable purpose, then the Executives can apply for limited financial support from the sub-Branch Support and Assistance Fund so that they will not be out of pocket as a result of not being able to retain a percentage of the fee.

The RSL NSW Board changed the policy for fundraising in 2020 so that sub-Branches could retain 100% of their fundraising income to support the delivery of the RSL’s charitable purpose, including sub-Branch operations.

What is the RSL NSW Support and Assistance Fund and how can sub-Branches access financial support?

The Sub-Branch Support & Assistance Fund was established to assist sub-Branches to provide uninterrupted support and services, that meet our charitable purpose, to veterans and their community. Funding to recoup lost membership income will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and calculated by the number of members attached to the sub-Branch as at 31 December 2021.

Applications for financial support from the Fund should be emailed to support@rslnsw.org.au for consideration.

Sub-Branch Executives who determine that their sub-Branch is in a financial position to support their mates in smaller sub-Branches across the state, are encouraged to contribute to this Fund. The reporting on who has contributed and who has sought assistance is available on the website here.

How can a sub-Branch de-activate members that cannot be contacted or do not wish to be contacted by RSL NSW?

Any member that is marked as ‘Inactive’ will not be contacted by RSL NSW. An Inactive member will automatically drop out of the RSL NSW sub-Branch Portal after two years. The member’s details will remain the RSL NSW database but not visible to sub-Branches.

If an Inactive Member wishes to expedite this process, then the Member Support Team can override this automation.

What happens to Life Subscribers? Will they be reimbursed for the fees that they have paid?

No. There is no way to calculate a reimbursement to Life Subscribers.

What about Affiliate, Associate and Auxiliary Members?

Membership for 2022 is fee-free for all member categories.

How can ANZAC House assist to communicate about fee-free membership with members?

A notice will be printed in the Reveille and emails will be sent to the membership database asking members to contact their sub-Branch, or ANZAC House, to confirm their membership status as active.

How can RSL NSW avoid paying a higher than necessary Capitation Fee to RSL Australia?

RSL NSW will rely on sub-Branch contributions to the new Veteran Support Fund (VSF) to pay the National Capitation Fee. This fee is based on the number of Active Service and Affiliate Members that RSL NSW has in its database. It is vitally important that sub-Branches confirm whether members wish to remain active in the League and update the sub-Branch Portal accordingly. National Capitation fees are paid for every Active/Financial member based on the information in the sub-Branch Portal, so it is vital that the information in this database is up to date.

Considering sub-Branches no longer need to subsidise membership fees, sub-Branches can make larger donations to the VSF. This generous additional support will help cover the cost of National Capitation fees for all RSL NSW members. An SOP regarding the VSF will be provided as soon as possible.

If you have any questions about the Policy or anything outlined in this Circular, please contact RSL NSW CEO Jon Black via support@rslnsw.org.au