How many of you are members of more than one Chapter? It happens all the time. You may move and affiliate with a new Chapter, but maintain your membership in your original Chapter. You may find yourself attending another Chapter in addition to your original one because of location, preference, or companionship. You may go out of your way to attend the meeting and events of another Chapter and want to support it by becoming a member. There are plenty of reasons why we become a member of more than one Chapter.
Recently, the question came up as to whether members of more than one Chapter need to pay dues to those other Chapters. It’s a good question. The answer is actually pretty clear.
Code 6-51 states, “The annual dues assessed by a chapter shall be uniform and…each member shall pay the same amount.” Code 6-51 states that “The annual dues assessed by a chapter shall be uniform, each member paying the same amount.”
So, yes, you need to pay the correct dues to each (or more) of the Chapters to which you are a member. Besides this being a Grand Chapter bylaw, there are other reasons why this should be:
Skin in the game
By paying full dues to your Chapters you are showing that you are committed to the prosperity of the Chapter and that you wish to be seen as a full member, like those that are only members of that one Chapter. You have some “skin in the game,” as they say — you value your membership enough that you not only commit your time, but your money.
Financial duty
One other reason to pay annual dues to your “other” Chapter(s) is so that your Chapter can be a growing, viable Body. Without the regular, annual dues of its members, no organization can plan events, offer programs and services, and meet its obligations. By not paying dues, you are in effect transferring the burden of running the Chapter to others, yet taking advantage of what it has to offer for free.
Honorary Members
Of course, a Chapter can elect to grant a Companion the title of “honorary member” by unanimous ballot once his name has been proposed (code 3-16). The member must be in good standing in some other Chapter and his name should be proposed at a previous stated convocation (so there has to be a layover period). The honorary member is exempt from paying annual dues (though we would hope that he contributes financially ALSO to his new Chapter) and is also prohibited from voting, balloting, and holding any office.
Being an active, interested, and productive Companion in our “home” Chapter is a task we all should endeavor to meet. If you wish to extend your support to another Chapter, be sure your checkbook comes along with you.