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Membership Fees and Participatory Budgeting

yes

78.52%

no

21.48%

DiEM25’s monthly expenses (servers, staff, office, promotional materials, events and so on) are directly correlated to how many members we have and need our support for their activities. In order to cover these expenses, we have therefore been asking all members to voluntarily contribute a monthly donation of 5 EUR or a yearly contribution of equal value. For members who are unable to afford this, we have been offering a yearly contribution of 25 EUR instead, or even to become members without any contribution. Academics and members in good positions are able to voluntarily contribute more, in order to cover the expenses for members who contribute a reduced fee or no fee. DiEM25 is ideologically opposed to receiving money from big corporations, from the EU or states; being member-funded ensures that we retain our independence.

This system is not working. When we calculated the fees we’d need to charge in order to cover our expenses, we expected at least 50% of full members to contribute, instead, as you can see in real time here, it is less than 20%, and the number of members who take advantage of the reduced fee or no fee option far outstrips the number of members volunteering to cover for them. In fact, on average 85% of new members claim that they are unable to pay any fee at all. This is causing us great difficulties in daily operations that we cannot overcome even by having some people essentially work for free, and it also means that there aren’t any solidarity funds to support those who really need it, e.g. to enable poorer members to attend our events and take important positions in our organisation.

The CC therefore wants to ask DiEMers to approve a change of our Organising Principles to introduce actual membership fees, like many other organisations have. The membership fees would be of the same size as before:

  • 5 EUR per month regular fee

  • Encouragement to pay more than 5 EUR / month for those who can,

  • Reduced fee of 25 EUR per year for students and others unable to pay the regular fee

Members can freely choose one of these options. Members who for whatever reason cannot afford 25 EUR per year, or who don‘t have a bank account, could get an exception following an explicit request, without needing to submit any proof. There will be no special privileges for fee-paying members.

The mention in Organising Principles section 9 would change from

DiEM25 membership carries no compulsory fee. Members may be requested to contribute to DiEM25’s finances depending on their capacity.

To:

DiEM25 members are asked to choose a membership fee in line with their financial capacity. Members who cannot afford any fee receive an exemption.

If this works and DiEM25 is finally able to afford some non-essentials, we will introduce participatory budgeting for 20% of our yearly income. This would happen in the form of yearly debates, followed by all-member votes, that allow members to allocate points to different areas of our work, and funds being distributed in accordance with those points.

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