Associate Members pay a fixed fee to SIGBI HQ of £60 per annum. They do not pay Region/NA/Network fees or UKPAC fees. If an existing Member “transfers” to Associate Membership part way through the Club year, they do not need to pay any additional fees until the following 1 April, when their Associate Membership fee will become payable.
If an existing Member’s circumstances change and they are unable to attend Club Meetings but they still want to remain a Member, there are two options open to them – Linked Membership, whereby they remain a Member of the Club but do not have to attend Club Meetings if they are unable to do so – and Associate Membership. If they choose Associate Membership, then a “transfer form” should be completed with Associate Member as the Club that they are transferring to. If they have already paid their fee for the year via their Club, then their Associate Member Fee will not be payable until the following 1 April.
Associate Members are attached to a Region/NA/Network, and Regions/NAs/Networks are sent a list of Associate Members in their Region/NA/Network. They are entitled to attend Region/NA/Network events as well as Federation Conferences. They do not pay Region/NA/Network or UKPAC fees, but should pay for any events they attend in the same way as other Members pay.
Regions should include Associate Members in the following distribution lists, unless the Associate Member specifically requests to be excluded from any correspondence:
- Region/NA/Network diary of events, including the cost of attending each event
- Agenda for the forthcoming Regional Meeting to help them decide whether they wish to attend
- Region/NA/Network Newsletter
They should NOT forward the SIGBI News Briefing to them, as Associate Members get their own newsletter which is aimed specifically at them.
The Equality Act 2010, Schedule 16, Section 1(1) states: “An association does not contravene section 101(1) by restricting Membership to persons who share a protected characteristic”. The protected characteristic that allows the Company to restrict its Membership to females is clearly “sex”. This only applies to Clubs within the UK. Clubs in other countries are advised to research their own Equality Laws to ensure they comply with local legislation.
As an organisation we would advise against this course of action. The Equality Act introduced into the UK in 2010 covers nine protected characteristics, which cannot be used as a reason to treat people unfairly. The protected characteristics are: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation”.
SIGBI HQ can produce long-service certificates for members who have been members for at least 25 years. They are available for 25, 30, 35, 40 etc years of service, and are free of charge. They should be ordered by the Club Secretary, via email to SIGBI HQ listing the members that you want certificates for (with their names as they should appear on the certificate) and the length of service. Where possible they will be sent within a week of the request being received, but as they are individually signed by the SIGBI President, SIGBI reserves the right for this to be delayed in certain cases, for example the SIGBI President being unavailable to sign the certificates.
Linked Membership may be granted by a Club to an existing member who moves to or lives in an area where there is no Club, or to an eligible prospective member who lives in such an area. Linked members shall not hold office at any level within SIGBI Limited and shall not form more than ten percent (10%) of the total Club membership.
There are two types of Honorary Membership:
- Honorary Life Membership may be given by a Club to any Soroptimist who has given distinguished service to SI or to the community, or who has contributed notably to the status of women. An Honorary Life Member shall retain her constitutional rights as a member of the Club. She will have a record on the SIGBI Database, and her fees should be paid by the Club.
- Honorary Membership may be given by a Club to any woman who is not a Soroptimist but who has given distinguished service to the community or who has contributed notably to the objects and purposes of SI. An Honorary Member shall have no constitutional rights and shall not hold office at any level within SIGBI Limited. She will not be recorded on the SIGBI Database and no fees are payable.
Annual Membership Fees
A capitation fee is defined as a payment of a uniform amount, charged per Member within SIGBI. In SIGBI Members normally pay fees to the Club, Region/NA, Network and the Federation. Club, Region, NA and Network fees varies throughout the Federation.
It is made up of a number of elements. For Members in Band 4, it includes the SIGBI Capitation Fee, SI Dues (payment to Soroptimist International), Magazine Subscription and donations to the Benevolent Fund, Diamond Education Grant and Emergency Relief Fund. The schedule of capitation fees is published in the December issue of Soroptimist News each year, and is also sent out with the Annual Returns each year.
Countries within SIGBI are currently placed into a fee band based on the GNI PPP (Gross National Income and Purchasing Power Parity) of each country.
The Benevolent Fund is only available to Members within the UK and Republic of Ireland, so only these Members pay into the fund. Donations to the Diamond Education Grant and Emergency Relief Fund were added to the capitation fees later, and it was decided to still only charge UK and Republic of Ireland Members these donations.
Members receive a quarterly magazine, access to the members area of the SIGBI website, and are entitled to attend the annual Federation Conference. They can also attend events in other Federations, and meet Soroptimists worldwide when they travel abroad. If they need any advice, they can always contact Federation Office, who will respond to emails during normal working hours (0800-1600 Monday to Thursday and 0800-1530 on Friday).