This is a personal, strategically focused piece. It is not necesarilly the view of the Committee and I welcome constructive feedback from other Committee members or anyone else.Apologies for the texty boringness of the slides.
Tax: 28% extra on most donations, more attractive to those leaving bequestsKudos: most people I’ve spoken to think there’s something somehow more ‘proper’ about a charitySupport: schemes only available to charities e.g. computer equipment, applying for advice, applying for grants.Limited liability: we have been threatened with legal action a number of times over the years and currently responsibility for that falls disproportionately on Committee members, which is both risky, unfair and a disincentive to join it.Admin burden: reporting both to Companies House and the Charity Commission.Activity constraint: meeting Charity rules on e.g. political campaigning.
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Not the same people: good example of this is e.g. students: they have lots of time and not much money. Another is bequests, lots of money but given we don’t believe in life after death, not much time.Implication is we need to have a more flexible structure of members and supporters. Currently the main way you support GALHA is by becoming a member and that almost entirely dictates whether you’re able to give your time to it.Broad but shallow: our current model is narrow and deep. You pretty much join the Committee or you don’t. Without prejudice to those that join us on marches or help at Pride stalls etc. The constant pressure is to join the Committee because that’s the only model we have right now.In such circumstances again you need flexibility so people can come and go, contribute heavily for a short time then leave or provide a low level of support e.g. admin long-term. The best evidence here is Facebook, Meetup.We have 1000 people on facebook and over 300 on meetup, the vast majority of whom are not members but support GALHA's aims. We should embrace, expand and activate this.Shift away from 'subscription' based revenue toward campaign-specific fundraising eg atheist bus.More attractive to donors because of the more visible and direct link between their action and desired consequences.Ref Ed Miliband plan for 'registered labour party supporter' vslabour party member <insert press cutting as a slide?>
Examples of joiners/leavers: Christopher Clarke, Tyrone Curtis, Sue Robson, Julie Wright, Trevor Dunn.Need to hire professional help, which is a disproportionate amount of our income.FinesTakes increased time (away from activity)
- Not so say we want to give up member subscriptions, but we will benefit greatly from an increased focus on campaign-led fundraising. We’ve already been doing this with the annual lunch and events where we donate money to other causes whether Iraqi LGBTs or the Ugandan Humanist school. This is more attractive to donors because of the more visible, direct link between their action and the consequences.
Ruling out reapplying for charitable status these are the options we saw.In our judgementIs untenable because of the problems with liability but also it doesn’t take us forward in any significant way. However I understand some people may look at us and say ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’. The general agreement is that the status quo as an unincorporated association is not fit for the future.Would mean meeting at a subsequent AGM and voting to ‘wind up’ GALHA, transferring assets and memberships to GALHA Limited, to be ruled by the new constitution that was previously agreed. While better than A, in broad terms the majority of the Committee thinks this less appropriate than option C.The new option we came up with was forming a closer link with a kindred organisation, to provide us support and assistance while allowing us to continue with our main work, which is currently the public events, the protests, attending Prides, the online activity and the newsletter. As you all know (hopefully), although we have close friends in the NSS, SPES, Consortium and elsewhere, we decided the best option to pursue in detail was going to the British Humanist Association.
Note the official meaning of Restricted Fund.Charity means our activity is exclusively for public benefit.Name no longer an acronym.
“Although GALHA has been a successful organisation for over 30 years, it faces a future in which its administration is likely to become an increasingly onerous and costly distraction from the pursuit of its aims. It also needs to attract more activists and realise a higher profile in the media. Merging with the BHA could strengthen the Association, offer significant recruitment of members and supporters and confer the benefits of charitable status”
Avoids risk of fines or legal action when we get these expert matters wrong.Committee members no longer personally/severally liable.
Reverses the situation, shifts the balance.There’s a risk that we’d rest of on our laurels and as admin goes down, the activity wouldn’t increase – but we have to work on the basis that wouldn’t be the case.
There’s a risk there’ll be too few people for the work necessary. This is mitigated by a) having a ‘bonus’ BHA member provided, though I expect that will be an advisory rather than ‘doing’ role b) we also get a free minute secretary.BUT: we can have non-Committee members doing specific things. That could be Events, it could be the newsletter, it could be Prides. By not having Committee responsibilities, they would arguably be freer to focus on the tasks at hand, reporting back to the management team.
While we encourage them to make an additional contribution to GALHA, they can choose not to if their circumstances prevent it. Or donate to a specific fundraising cause from time to time.One reliable source for their Humanist and Gay Humanist news whether online or by mail.
Specifically:Legal adviceScrutinise bye-laws by officers and CommitteeAgree transitional arrangements with the BHA for member move
GALHA Future Workshop
workshop<br />The future shape of GALHA<br />Introduction to discussion<br />Adam Knowles<br />Chair<br />
The story so farA brief history of GALHA’s form<br />1979: ‘Gay Humanist Group’ founded as an unincorporated association<br />1980s: changed name to explicitly include lesbians. Renamed ‘GALHA’.<br />1996: GALHA creates the PTT charity<br />2000s: Relationship between GALHA and the PTT breaks down. Formal relationship stopped at the PTT end, continues at the GALHA end. <br />2008: GALHA itself applies for charitable status, setting up a Ltd company as part of the process.<br />2011: GALHA application for charitable status declined.<br />
On becoming A Charitywhat was the big idea?<br />Benefits<br />Tax <br />Kudos<br />Support available<br />Limited liability for the organisation by being a Ltd company.<br />Updates and strengthens our formal constitution<br />Drawbacks<br />Additional administrative burden<br />Additional constraints on activity<br />
Why our charity application was declined<br />Political campaigning as a proportion of our whole activity is too high to justify a tax break from the government<br />Risk of private benefits for members judged too likely.<br />Target audience not defined widely enough<br />
The contexttrends and insights<br />Those who give money and those who give time are often not the same people.<br />Usually people have a broad but shallow range of causes they support.<br />They support them in less formal, looser ways such as online (Facebook, Meetup), joining a protest or regular Direct Debit.<br />
The contextThe committee<br />Many on the current Committee are nearing the end of an appropriate ‘term’ i.e. 2 – 4 years<br />Despite best efforts we have increasingly struggled to replace Committee members<br />Keeping up with legal and mandatory reporting requirements is becoming increasingly complex and costly<br />
So..Some things we could do<br />Shift toward campaign-specific fundraising eg atheist bus rather than member subscriptions.<br />Change the membership structure to provide greater flexibility in how people can contribute to advancing LGBT Humanism.<br />We can try this if we rethink our fixed costs.<br />Outsourcing key admin tasks (membership management, financial reporting) means they benefit from efficiencies of scale.<br />
Where do we go from here?<br />Stay as we are, an unincorporated voluntary association<br />Transfer in to the Limited company via an SGM<br />Go back to the drawing board and come up with a new option<br />
Become the LGBT section of the BHA<br />Key features<br />They will take care of all our membership admin<br />They will fulfill all official financial reporting requirements<br />They will provide 1 x Committee member plus a minute-taker for Committee meetings<br />We will operate from a ‘restricted fund’<br />We will become constrained to activity allowable by a charity<br />We use the name ‘GALHA, the LGBT section of the BHA’.<br />
Compare to the charity planrecall what we aimed for<br />Benefits<br />Tax <br />Kudos<br />Support available<br />Limited liability for the organisation<br />Updates and strengthens our formal constitution<br />Reduced administrative burden<br />More next..<br />Drawbacks<br />Additional administrative burden<br />Additional constraints on activity<br />More next..<br />
GALHA and the BHAkey benefits<br />Closer working relationship with the BHA: <br />Access to their 28,000 members & supporters.<br />Links easier/more productive with the AHS, the IHEU etc.<br />Administration of members and annual finances removed from Committee responsibility. <br />Better legal protection for committee members.<br />Significant reduction in costs from efficiencies of scale in postage, affiliations.<br />Tax benefit as part of a charity.<br />Press releases and contacts joined together.<br />VAT paid on services and supplies can be reclaimed.<br />New constitution removes historical anomaly of PTT donors being GALHA members without GALHA receiving money.<br />Ends having to run and submit reports on both unincorporated GALHA and the present Ltd company.<br />
GALHA and the BHAkey drawbacks/risks<br />Loss of independence, autonomy and name equity<br />Cost of the change to GALHA: couple of all-member mailings, legal fees<br />Members may leave if they object to it, including some key members or VPs<br />A reduced committee size may have unintended consequences<br />Risk that by moving closer to the BHA we move further from other partners including the NSS<br />Significant risk of reduced income if current GALHA members do not made additional donations<br />Risk the Charity Commission will see this as GALHA becoming a charity by the back door<br />
GALHA and the BHAreducing administrative overhead<br />
GALHA and the BHARisk: impact of reduced committee size<br />Current<br />Future<br />
GALHA and the BHAIMPACT ON MEMBERS THEMSELVES<br />Benefits<br />Single, complementary source for Humanist news, views and leadership<br />Those already BHA members no longer pay a 'dual' subscription to GALHA (though we hope for additional donations)<br />Drawbacks<br />Increase in subscription fee for non-BHA members<br />Loss of independent identity of the current organisation<br />
GALHA and the BHAAbout the name<br />The name GALHA..<br />retains the equity built up in our reputation over many years.<br />But..<br />Excludes ‘B’ and ‘T’.<br />Would no longer stand for anything. We cannot be an association within an association. <br />
GALHA and the BHAWhat we’ve done so far<br />Held initial meetings with the BHA to discover the feasibility of such a move.<br />Written draft bye-laws that would govern the new GALHA.<br />Submitted these to a meeting of the BHA Trustees who agreed the approach.<br />Mailed all members the detailed proposal and an invitation to come here and discuss it.<br />
GALHA and the BHAPOSSIBLE TIMELINE<br />Within 2 months: finalise the new constitution and arrangements in detail.<br />+1 month: mail all members with at least 1 month notice of an SGM where winding up will be discussed<br />+1 month: convene an SGM to decide the matter<br />Then as soon as possible:<br />Mail all members with option to opt-out/request refund by post or online.<br />Opt-out available/pro-rata refunds issued<br />Move existing GALHA members into the BHA via the transitional arrangement to be agreed<br />
GALHA and the BHA<br />Excepts from emails received following the mailer<br />Have your say<br />“I support the proposal to affiliate as an independent sub-section of the BHA. I have attended various of their events and have respect for Andrew Copson, and they are obviously keen to support us and our particular field. I also think it might help us to a more balanced membership - more women in particular especially if they only have to be supporters not necessarily out gay.”<br />- Maureen Duffy, GALHA President<br />“I am opposed to the proposal that GALHA become a section of the BHA. I have been a staunch supporter of the BHA. However, the founders of GALHA, including myself, opted to set up an autonomous organisation and I think it should remain so.”<br />- George Broadhead, Founding member and Vice President<br />“I am very much supportive of the idea of becoming a subsection of BHA for most of the reasons set out. A further point may be made is of the expertise of the BHA in matters of civil ceremonies and funerals etc., and GALHA members could consider this as a positive reason for closer ties.”<br />- John Watt, OrmskirkLancs<br />“Has the Committee considered the other, cheap and easy, route to 'charitable recognition' - an' Industrial and Provident Society?”<br />- Chris Richardson, GALHA member<br />