While we are considering some rather more major changes to the way membership works in relation to possibly having a Campaign employee, discussed later in this Newsletter, we have also made some other lesser changes to Cambridge Cycling Campaign membership recently which you might like to know about.
We have found a way, at last, to take direct debits for membership subscriptions. Many of you have standing orders for automatic renewal, which is really helpful, thank you. There’s no need to change these (unless you want to, of course).
But they do have a downside: the administration is quite time-consuming, primarily because the banks are so useless in sending proper references with the payment that it is hard to know who has sent the money.
We have always been too small to have our bank run direct debits economically. But we have now discovered GoCardless, a service which will process direct debits for us for a realistic fee. Services like this have existed for a while, but the costs of each transaction were enormous. GoCardless charges only 1%, which is much less even than PayPal.
Neil Spenley has been beavering away to implement a new, much more streamlined and simpler membership form on our website. Most new members join using the online form and we’ve been aware for a long time that the previous form was long, complicated and overdue for a revamp. This also integrates the various payment choices including the new direct debits. Of course, as existing members, most of you won’t see this, but it is a critical part of our membership recruitment.
We are also now turning our attention to a similar revamp of the renewal process for people who renew manually each year. We’ll be offering a smoother process, less wordy than the current emails you get. This will also offer you the opportunity to sign up for direct debit if you want. We’ve thought carefully about how to do this without exposing personal information online. Hopefully this will be up and running in the next couple of months.
David Earl, membership secretary