Dues or no dues, that is the question...

In any organization's life, there comes a time where that organization must eventually transition from an informal structure to a formal one. During this transition, finances are one issue, as well as formal membership. The Modern Whig Party has reached this juncture. I would put forward that the party needs to establish formal membership, and that party dues are a necessary part of this. At present, while we have many hard working individuals all trying to accomplish rational political goals, we do not have a clear dividing line between those who are "in" the party, and those who, as on Face Book just "like" us. It seems a common sense matter, that the direction and operation of the party needs to be determined by members. It also seems a common sense matter, that members need to be identified by a certain level of commitment. While volunteerism, and participation in discussions do indicate commitment, they are hard to quantify. Money on the other hand is fairly simple to quantify. Money is also one of the key fuels in politics, and the lack of it is one of the biggest barriers to political growth. So given that we need money, and given that we need a way to determine who is and who is not a member of the party, dues make sense. Dues indicate a commitment to the party, provide the necessary financial means for growth of the party, and minimum level of support for the party's activities. Further, given that the party, in many areas of the country, has not yet grown to a level where state or regional structures can yet exist to handle finances, it makes sense that a certain portion of dues and donations paid be reserved for the state organizations responsible for party activities in the areas that such funds originated from, and that the national party treasury hold such funds for those states and manage the funds in such a way as to insure their use for party development in the states themselves. With this in mind, I propose that there be a $25 annual dues structure adopted for party membership, and that of that $25, $5 dollars be reserved for use within the state that the member is from. Further, I propose that the same 20% rate be used for all donations to the party, and that 20% be also reserved for use within the state that the donation originates from. By doing this, we can identify our membership, determine who can and cannot vote on party policy and platform matters, and eventually who can vote in party caucuses for candidate selection. We can also raise needed funds for operating costs, and for party development at both state and national levels. I don't think $25 is too much to ask. In this day and age, that is only about the cost of burger and fries for two. I don't fear that we will drive people away, because if someone is unwilling to pay party dues, they really are unwilling to commit to joining the party in the first place. The equivalent of Face Book "likes" do not equate to membership. Before we can move forward, we really do need to know who is actually with us. ---- Doug Harvey, LTC, MS, AKARNG (RET) MWP Director of Veterans and Active Duty Affairs

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  • Douglas Harvey
    commented 2016-05-12 19:03:33 -0400
    Just so nobody thinks I am ignoring the discussion here, I figured I should drop a note in. Responses have been mostly in favor of some sort of dues structure. There have been a number of suggestions as to what that should be. I will be downloading all responses this weekend so that I can attempt to compile all the feedback into an actual dues proposal to be voted on at the upcoming convention in Indianapolis. There has been considerable support for reduced rates for certain categories, and almost certainly some form of this will be incorporated into the final proposal. Also, be aware that that proposal in an of itself is not a final document, as it can, and likely will be modified at the convention if not rejected outright.
  • jules rensch
    commented 2016-05-12 18:32:16 -0400
    …in America, nothing happens without the “greenbacks”
  • Robert Edwards
    followed this page 2016-05-12 14:47:36 -0400
  • Doug Roberts
    commented 2016-05-04 15:02:17 -0400
    I wouldn’t mind paying dues, but I can see how it might discourage those who might be timid about throwing in with a third party. It was mentioned in another post that perhaps having two levels of membership might be best. I honestly don’t know how it works in the major parties.
  • jules rensch
    commented 2016-04-24 13:44:34 -0400
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  • Hunter Crow
    commented 2016-04-24 03:30:29 -0400
    Menbership Dues are sometimes costly for a individual TRUE it Can provide funding for operation exspences however i believe it should be voluntary and also as long as their is free Menbership it Would also encourage younger generations of Americans to pursue a study of the political process and be able to engage in political activety without costing them anything
  • Hunter Crow
    tagged this with good 2016-04-24 03:30:29 -0400
  • Grant Jensen
    commented 2016-03-29 23:55:44 -0400
    For me party lines have seemed to be a fluid concept but I have never donated to anything political. Will a dues paying member be irrationally motivated to vote for a Whig candidate even if someone else may be better suited for the job?

    I think voluntary donations may best serve the political environment we are currently in. Perhaps other methods of funding should be discussed first. And for any dues given I think it would be best for the national organization to collect from the established state chapters and only collect directly from members in the less established (or territory like) states.
  • jules rensch
    commented 2016-03-18 13:01:11 -0400
    truly, like every other movement in the world, there is nothing like “belonging”…..dues added, strengthens the movement…
  • jules rensch
    tagged this with important 2016-03-18 13:01:11 -0400
  • Steve Robert
    commented 2016-03-16 19:49:11 -0400
    I agree that a modest amount like the one suggested is more than fair for everyone. However, having a non-paying party member is still beneficial to the party. I would say just have the paying members be allowed to vote on party issues and non-paying members identify with the group. Paying members would then have a sense of ownership in the party and would be more involved. Just a thought.
  • Steve Robert
    tagged this with good 2016-03-16 19:49:09 -0400
  • Zach Baker
    commented 2016-03-16 15:54:53 -0400
    I agree with the dues payment, but I would also recommend making dues tiered. Making the dues system reflect what a person is able to afford is a common practice that I have seen in other dues paying organizations. While $25 may not seem like much some, for college students or lower income people, it is. Just a thought.
  • Brandon Zicha
    commented 2016-03-06 08:16:33 -0500
    I think that you raise a solid point. However, it is worth noting that it is somewhat out-of-step with American party culture and if not handled delicately may stand as psychological barrier for some joining the movement. I think it may be prudent to think about how we will attract non-due-paying supporters such that they feel party of the movement.

    Also, it probably is wise to think about what the dues structure will mean for party governance – and particularly the relative power of the national vs. state organizations. I think a mandatory split makes sense, but might it not be better to have two choices for your dues annually? Either, sending 5 to the national and 20 to the state, or vice-versa?

    It seems to me, particularly early on when the party is growing primarily through actions in State and Local elections that state party organizations may be the preferred locus of affinity for members. I don’t think this would be a bad thing. If we are going to innovate in politics by being a member-funded organization, we may want to return to giving state party organizations more primacy as well. It will certainly stimulate involvement if most important actions and money are kept closer to the membership.

    Just my 2 cents (to add to my 25 dollars that is likely to be incoming :-)
  • Douglas Harvey
    published this page in Whig Forums 2016-03-04 12:50:14 -0500