Membership in the National VRA is free (read more) but members pay yearly dues to belong to their local VRA chapter.
Membership dues for local chapters are determined by each chapter. Chapters are required to charge a minimum of $1.00 in annual membership dues. This decision was made collectively by all of the chapters to address two concerns:
- Membership Accountability – It is too easy for a riding club that offers free membership to develop into an online forum community with an outdated member list of inactive members. On the anniversary of the member joining or on a set yearly date, any member who does not renew his or her dues is no longer a member of that chapter and is removed from that chapter’s membership roster.
- Membership Eligibility – With a free membership, someone would have no reservation about joining a chapter that’s 300 or 400 miles away. Dues will discourage non-participatory members without having to impose limits on distance and without requiring a pre-determined level of participation. Any Vulcan rider willing to pay dues should be eligible to join and should be allowed to remain for as long they are willing to continue paying dues.
Dues should be viewed as an investment and not expense. They allow the chapter to buy patches and T-shirts without “passing the hat” or holding fund raisers (not fun). A chapter with 40 members that charges $25.00 will earn $1000.00 per year without lifting a finger. This allows the club to rent a venue for parties and pay for all of the food and drinks. It also allows the chapter to buy T-shirts and patches at quantity discounts. The savings can either be passed on to the members by offering cheaper merchandise or it can allow the club to earn more money towards the next bar-B-Que or Christmas Party.
Who Pays Dues?
Chapters typically adopt one of the following dues structures:
- Spouses and children join for free
- $25 for one person or $35 for a family membership.
Spouses and children are always welcome to attend the meetings and rides so the choice is really a matter of determining who will be listed on the membership list and who will be eligible to vote at the meetings.
Amount of Dues
Each chapter can decide for themselves how much to charge for dues. The minimum dues for each member is $1.00. As an average, chapters charges around $25.00 for full members and $10.00 – $15.00 for Associate Members. Some chapters charge $35 for a “family membership” that includes a spouse, partner or child.
- Cost of Joining – It is common for new members to receive a member patch when joining. Factor this cost into the amount you decide as this money will not be going into the treasury in the member’s first year.
- Lowering Costs – T-shirts and patches cost much less when ordered in quantity. A healthy treasury allows a chapter to capitalize on the benefit of quantity purchasing. This results in lower-cost items for your members and reduces administration by ordering less often.
- Hosting Events – A treasury with growth potential opens the possibility for renting a fire hall or a pavilion to host special chapter events such as an annual pig roast or Christmas party. Members may have to contribute at first but eventually the club will be able to finance all of the food and drinks and offer these events for free.