Circular 60/22 Fee-free membership and other administrative requirements for 2023
As 2023 approaches there are some administrative matters that all RSL sub-Branch Office Bearers must be aware of:
RSL NSW membership for 2023 will be fee-free. This Strategic Plan initiative (1.4) is coupled with other Goal 3 initiatives including the instantly join RSL NSW online and be immediately allocated to a sub-Branch of their choosing.
On 1 January 2023, all ‘Active’ (formerly Financial) members will remain Active. Unlike previous years, members will not default to ‘Inactive’ (formerly Unfinancial).
To ensure that our membership records are current and accurate, Office Bearers are encouraged to contact all members attached to their sub-Branch to ensure they wish to continue their membership and remain ‘Active’. This is a good opportunity to conduct welfare checks on members and their families and to connect them with any support or services they may need.
A number of membership-related FAQs have been answered within this Circular.
Office Bearer Positions – Changes after sub-Branch AGM and elections
To reflect changes to the President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Honorary Secretary positions as a result of RSL sub-Branch Annual General Meeting elections, Honorary Secretaries are responsible for updating the Office Bearer positions in the sub-Branch Portal.
a. That the member elected as an Office Bearer must be ‘Active’ in the sub-Branch Portal, to be allocated to an Office Bearer position; and
b. sub-Branch Trustees are not subject to re-election after they have been appointed.
c. Contact details (including personal email address and phone number) of the Office Bearer should be updated.
Pleese update the Office Bearer positions and contact details in the sub-Branch Portal as soon as practically possible following the AGM.
If you require assistance to make these changes, please contact email@example.com or call 1300 679 775.
Sub-Branch Portal – Enhancements Launch
ANZAC House has been consulting with a reference group of sub-Branch representatives to enhance the usability of the sub-Branch Portal. The improved Portal is in the final stages of development and testing and will be launched to sub-Branches in early 2023.
The launch will include showcases and will be supported by an updated sub-Branch Portal User Guide.
Fee-Free and Online Membership FAQs
Representatives from sub-Branches have been working with the team at ANZAC House to provide answers to frequently asked questions about the fee-free membership. Please see below:
Will the sub-Branch Secretary be required to update the status of members in the sub-Branch Portal in 2023?
No. All ‘Active’ (formerly known as ‘Financial’ members) will automatically remain ‘Active’ from 1 January 2023. The sub-Branch Secretary, or the person responsible for maintaining membership records, should notify firstname.lastname@example.org if any member no longer wishes to remain Active.
ANZAC House is updating the Portal so that Honorary Secretaries can make members ‘Inactive’ and will advise when this capability is available.
What does this look like in the Membership list in the sub-Branch Portal?
Membership categories are now referred to Active (formerly Financial) or Inactive (formerly Unfinancial).
An Active Member is any Service or Affiliate member who wants to remain a member of the League.
An Inactive Member is any Service or Affiliate member who has not indicated that they want to remain a member of the League and does not wish to be contacted by RSL NSW. Inactive members will automatically drop off the sub-Branch Portal after two years.
How will the sub-Branch Executives know which member wants to renew or rescind their membership each year?
In accordance with SOP 5, the sub-Branch Secretary is responsible for maintaining the sub-Branch Member roll and personal particulars. The Secretary, in collaboration with the Executive group, is encouraged to make direct contact with members each year to determine their membership status and make changes to their address, email address and phone number.
For sub-Branches with large memberships this may be an onerous task however this can be carried out at sub-Branch meetings, by phone roster (multiple people responsible for calling multiple members) or email, with the assistance of the ANZAC House Member Support Team. This will facilitate an opportunity to review member contact details and make any updates required to ensure that they continue to receive the Reveille and email updates.
The sub-Branch Portal was designed as a tool to support Secretaries to efficiently maintain membership records. Secretaries are encouraged to contact the ANZAC House Member Support Team for assistance with using the Portal.
Sub-Branches are encouraged to take a pro-active approach to communicate with members about confirming their membership status using methods like sub-Branch newsletters and updates.
Will new members still receive a membership card and badge?
Yes. However, a measure of the success of Goal 3 of the RSL NSW Strategic Plan is that by 2024 there will be no membership cards, just badges and an electronic membership record that can be accessed from a smart phone, like a Driver’s Licence.
In the meantime, Active members should retain their current membership card and will not receive a new card upon renewing their membership, unless their existing card is lost, damaged, or stolen.
As an initiative of the Strategic Plan, ANZAC House has developed a ‘Welcome Pack’ for new members which will be sent to sub-Branches with the new member’s card and badge. All sub-Branches can now access additional membership tools including a ‘New Member Checklist’ and ‘Welcome Postcard’ by clicking on this link.
Are the sub-Branch Executives required to verify the service history of new members?
In accordance with the Constitution, there is no requirement for the sub-Branch to verify or approve the application or request service documentation. If it transpires that a member provides a false declaration regarding their service history, this is deemed as fraud and should be referred to ANZAC House to manage accordingly.
The new member will be advised on receipt of the online membership form. The membership will be processed by ANZAC House within three weeks and the sub-Branch and new member will be advised of the appointment accordingly. The sub-Branch is notified via its rslnsw.org.au email address with a copy of the member’s application form for record purposes.
SOP 2 was developed to encompass the current and former Constitution. In accordance with Appendix B of the current Constitution – Membership Application for membership, point 2., upon submission of the application form to RSL NSW, which addresses how the applicant meets the eligibility criteria and a declaration that the information that they have provided is true and correct, RSL NSW (ANZAC House) verifies the information provided, processes the application, and advises the sub-Branch before sending the membership card and badge.
Before the online application process was introduced, new members reported 3-6 month waiting times for receipt of service records from Defence Archives. In addition to waiting for the sub-Branch to ‘approve’ membership, this long and cumbersome process deters people from joining a sub-Branch. The online application process means that any veteran who wants to join the League and access services and support can do so instantly.
Can the sub-Branch charge an administration fee instead of a membership fee?
Yes. The RSL NSW Board has developed the sub-Branch Administration Levy Policy for member contributions to support sub-Branches. Any payment under this policy is not mandatory for members.
If a member chooses not to pay the voluntary administration levy, it does not affect any rights that the member has to attend sub-Branch meetings and other activities.
If sub-Branches have relied on a percentage of the membership fee to support their charitable purpose, then the Executives can apply for limited financial support from the sub-Branch Support and Assistance Fund so that they will not be out of pocket as a result of not being able to retain a percentage of the fee.
The RSL NSW Board changed the policy for fundraising in 2020 so that sub-Branches could retain 100% of their fundraising income to support the delivery of the RSL’s charitable purpose, including sub-Branch operations.
What is the RSL NSW Support and Assistance Fund and how can sub-Branches access financial support?
The Sub-Branch Support & Assistance Fund was established to assist sub-Branches to provide uninterrupted support and services, that meet our charitable purpose, to veterans and their community. Funding to recoup lost membership income will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and calculated by the number of members attached to the sub-Branch as at 31 December 2022.
Applications for financial support from the Fund should be emailed to email@example.com for consideration.
Sub-Branch Executives who determine that their sub-Branch is in a financial position to support their mates in smaller sub-Branches across the state, are encouraged to contribute to this Fund. The reporting on who has contributed and who has sought assistance is available on the website here.
How can a sub-Branch deactivate members that cannot be contacted or do not wish to be contacted by RSL NSW?
Any member that is marked as ‘Inactive’ will not be contacted by RSL NSW including not sending the Reveille or the monthly e-newsletter.
An Inactive member will automatically drop out of the RSL NSW sub-Branch Portal after two years. The member’s details will remain in the RSL NSW database but not visible to sub-Branches.
If an Inactive Member wishes to expedite this process, then the Member Support Team can override this automation.
What happens to Life Subscribers? Will they be reimbursed for the fees that they have paid?
No. There is no way to calculate a reimbursement to Life Subscribers.
What about Affiliate, Associate, and Auxiliary Members?
Membership for 2023 is fee-free for all member categories.
How can RSL NSW avoid paying a higher-than-necessary Capitation Fee to RSL Australia?
RSL NSW will rely on sub-Branch contributions to the new Veteran Support Fund (VSF) to pay the National Capitation Fee. This fee is based on the number of Active Service and Affiliate Members that RSL NSW has in its database. It is vitally important that sub-Branches confirm whether members wish to remain active in the League and update the sub-Branch Portal accordingly. National Capitation fees are paid for every Active/Financial member based on the information in the sub-Branch Portal, so it is vital that the information in this database is up to date.
Considering sub-Branches no longer need to subsidise membership fees, sub-Branches can make larger donations to the VSF. This generous additional support will help cover the cost of National Capitation fees for all RSL NSW members. An SOP regarding the VSF will be provided as soon as possible.
If you have any questions about anything outlined in this Circular, please contact the Member Support Team via firstname.lastname@example.org