Individuals and organisations
CAN provides membership for both individuals and for supporting organisations. Supporting organisations include bike shops, local/ regional councils, consultants, cycle touring businesses etc.
Most of CAN's individual members belong to local cycling advocacy groups (see below) which are affiliated to CAN. In general, the only individuals who are direct members of CAN are those in areas where there is no such local group. (There are occasional exceptions, e.g. a council staff member may wish to join CAN but not their local group, as that would create conflict of interest problems.)
Local cycling advocacy groups
CAN's local advocacy groups vary considerably in size and in the ways they operate. Some have paying members, while others only have free membership. Some do their own membership administration, while others elect to have this done by CAN. The overall structure of the membership, including members of the local groups, is summarised in the diagram below.
As the diagram shows, there are effectively three types of local advocacy groups:
- Independent Groups. These groups have paying members but do all their own membership and other administration. For each of their members they pay a levy ($12.00) to CAN each year. This was originated to cover the cost of printing and mailing the paper-copy Chainlinks magazine to them. There are currently two groups of this type: Bike Auckland and Cycle Aware Wellington. Independent groups are invoiced for levy payment each 1 July. For members joining and paying membership fees directly to CAN, the CAN Treasurer issues a credit for the total surplus above the levy, to the Independent Groups each 1 October.
- Affiliated Groups. The administration for these groups is done by CAN, allowing them to focus their resources on advocacy. In return for this they pay a levy ($17.00) to CAN for each member. Surplus credits are paid as for Independent Groups. Some groups have free membership (email only) categories of their local group and in many cases (e.g. Spokes Canterbury) these form the large majority of their members. However these members are administered by the local group rather than CAN, and no levies are paid for them. They are effectively very similar to 'Friend' members (see below).
- Supporting organisation groups. Some groups are treated as supporting organisations of CAN and just pay a single annual fee. These groups may or may not have members at all- some are effectively operated by one person. Others have non-paying members, but for whatever reason (sometimes just historical) pay the supporting organisation fee instead of levies for their members who join CAN. Members of these types of groups who also choose to join CAN are treated as direct CAN members, i.e. their whole membership fee goes to CAN. Generally we prefer advocacy groups not to join as supporting organisations, partly because it means the group does not benefit from the fees their members pay. There are currently two groups of this type: Bike Taupo and Whanganui Bicycle Users Group.
The diagram also shows two other types of members: 'Friends of CAN' and 'Friends' of the local advocacy groups. Friends of CAN do not pay a fee, and their membership basically entitles them to receive the Chainlinks email bulletin. Friends of local groups operate similarly but may also receive information from the local group about events etc.
Most local groups operate such Friends lists. (Spokes Canterbury operates three email lists, with different levels of involvement, all of which are free to join, and their 'Spokes Inform' group acts something like a 'friends' group.)
Since the 2017 AGM, CAN has five classes of paid membership: retired/ student/ low income; earner; high earner; family and supporting organisation. The current annual membership fees for each type are shown in the table below along with the relevant benefits of membership. Self-administering local groups may choose to have different fee schedules, but most keep their fees the same as CAN's.
|Membership type||Fee per year||Benefits|
|Friend of CAN||$0|
Please select the rate you feel suits your circumstances
|Retired/ student/ low income||$25|
|Family||150% of your selected rate above|
|Supporting organisation||$150 (or $250 for two years)|
Since 2011, CAN has also offered life membership. This is a single lump-sum membership fee.
Since 2010, CAN has operated on a rolling membership year, so that memberships are due for renewal on the anniversary of joining- there is no fixed renewal date. (Prior to that we operated on a calendar membership year so that all membership renewals were due on 1 January. As a result, in practice most memberships are still due at the start of the year.)
Local groups may operate on a different membership year. For example, currently Cycle Aware Wellington operates on a calendar membership year (starting 1 January), so Cycle Aware Wellington memberships in CiviCRM need to be altered manually so that the end date is Dec 31.
The Chainlinks magazine was distributed in hard copy (as well as electronic) until 2014. Supporting organisations were entitled to five hard copies of each issue of the Chainlinks magazine, which they could distribute internally. Individuals (and families) were entitled to one copy. All members were entitled to receive Chainlinks as hard copy, via email/ web download (PDF file), or both. Self-administering local advocacy groups distributed Chainlinks to their own members, so CAN sent them copies in bulk for distribution.
Strengths and weaknesses
Strengths of the current membership system include:
- flexibility- can accommodate different types of local cycling advocacy groups, from small, loose, relatively informal groups to large structured organisations
- low cost- administration is automated as far as possible, to reduce time costs
Weaknesses of the system include:
- communication between CAN and the local groups is not always very effective, partly because of a lack of personal contact
- members of some local groups feel little or no connection to CAN (i.e. the link isn't clear to them)
- the diversity of different types of groups can be confusing
- not many opportunities for local groups to learn from each other's experiences