Participation Membership Proposal
Almost all of the written changes necessary to implement this plan can be handled at the Corporate level. The sections of Corpora dealing with "benefits of membership" and "requirements for holding office" will need to be re-written, but this can be handled at first by a simple change set forth below (link). Detailed changes to Corpora can then proceed at a measured pace to reflect the new reality. Changes to the Manuals for Officers would be handled by the Corporate Officers in charge (for instance the requirement that newsletter contents not be immediately published to the web would need to be removed by the SCA Chronicler.) These changes would not need to be immediate since they would be subjected to the test of conflict with Corpora. Note that the current definitions of how one becomes a "member" don't seem to be written down anywhere.
Once the Board decides to implement this plan, there will be a six-month period to arrange the changeover of the newsletter subscriptions and for Kingdoms to decide when to switch over to the franchise fee plan. The Corporate Office should immediately publish a cost basis for acting as a subscription fulfillment office for a Kingdom newsletter (on a per-subscriber basis). As each Kingdom finds and appoints a subscription secretary, the subscription liability data and money will be transferred to the Kingdom. Any kingdom which does not do this within six months would be regarded as accepting the Corporate Office as a subscription fulfillment service for at least one year. The Kingdom Chronicler or Newsletter Exchequer would be responsible for telling the Office what the new subscription charge was. The six-month period allows plenty of time to publicize the change. Kingdoms would probably choose to change over to the franchise fee model just before a Crown Tourney to avoid problems with entrants. Kingdom laws regarding "non-member surcharges" / "membership discounts" would automatically become void since they would be superseded by Corpora (and since there would no longer be "non-members"). The part-time help at the Corporate Office would be laid off as the work-load falls off. The costs for this (in terms of people not renewing their "memberships", breaking the lease, etc.) would be borne by the current resere funds.
What is a subscription fulfillment office? -- It's an office to which people send their renewals. The office records the subscription information, deposits the money and remits it to the Newsletter, less operating costs. The office maintains the list of subscribers and generates the labels for each mailing (electronically, I should hope). The software will be much simpler than that currently used, since it doesn't have to print membership cards or anything like that.
Rewrites of Kingdom Laws to change requirements for entrance into their Crown Lists (if necessary) could start as soon as the decision of the Board was announced. Naturally, they would have to be approved by the Society Seneschal.
Search for a new Corporate Office location would be started as soon as the decision was made, as would re-negotiation of the Pennsic contract with the Coopers. The move to the new office would happen after the end of the six-month transition period.
Note that this proposal does need to be implemented "all at once," as the savings in the Corporate Office need to be realized at the same time as the change-over to the new funding model. The Corporate funds currently held should be more than enough to pay for the transition, probably with money left over. (It has been estimated that the cost to the Corporation would be as much as $85,000, assuming that those with immanent renewals would not renew. There is more than enough operating reserve to cover this cost.)
I see it as perfectly possible for the Board to decide to implement this as early as June, 2003 with the full implementation and Corporate Office move by 1 January 2004. All that is needed is the will to perform the implementation. I hope to generate this will by setting up this web-site to publicize the proposal. I also hope to get your commentary on it and drum up support from the members of the SCA in an active fashion.
It is supposed to be *simple*. Anything that looks complicated in the transition or the final result should probably be re-examined under the base idea that ALL participants are "members", no special privileges, and that local groups can solve local group problems. ("Local" means Kingdom level and below.) If there still seems to be a problem, let me know and I will respond.
It is supposed to empower local and regional groups and remove differences between particpants in the SCA.
It is supposed to be "not like other groups I belong to."
(Onward to the next file.)
(Return to Table of Contents)(modified 2 Decmber, 2002)