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How do I count thee? Membership 101

Counting our members may seem confusing; what does it mean when you hear our membership is declining?
As stated in our bylaws, “Those members who participate actively in Church activities and make an annual financial contribution of record shall be Voting Members”.  You will read in our Membership Report for the Annual Meeting, and will hear in the budget discussion that our Voting membership (for whom we pay dues to the UUA) was 395 in February 2015 and dropped to 357 in February 2016.  This is primarily due to a significant number of members who did not make a financial contribution of record in that time frame.  This is, of course, a concern since we rely primarily on our members' contributions to support the many programs, ministers and staff and operations of First U.
The good news is our total membership has grown in the last year from 452 on April 1, 2015 to 461 on April 1, 2016. This includes both voting members and associate members.  We have welcomed 20 new voting members during this time frame and several members reactivated. Instead of dropping people from membership who do not meet the by-laws member definition but who want to remain connected (based on conversations with them), we have moved them to “associate member” status (non-voting). Despite the sad loss of 10 members from deaths, 6 resignations, 4 moves out of state and one transfer to another local church — we are seeing modest overall membership growth. We are interested in exploring new definitions of membership and new ways for members to remain connected with us when life priorities require temporary adjustments.  We also welcome our many contributing friends.
The Annual Meeting Agenda and Reports includes an overview of membership changes during the year and will be available online and at the Annual Meeting.
Nancy Pinson and Suzanne Perry, Member Engagement & Development