New membership categories

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    Gary Poyner

    Forgive me if this sounds a bit dim witted (I’m not at my best at present), but current affiliated societies will (in 2024) no longer have to pay a subscription, and will no longer receive Journal or handbook, but will be considered ‘affiliated’. So, why should societies affiliate themselves to the BAA at all? What’s the point? Is there some small incentive that I might have missed? It’s a question my own society would like answering, after being an affiliated society for a number of years.


    • This topic was modified 6 months, 1 week ago by Gary Poyner.
    Bill Barton

    I’d be interested in the full explanation of this too, but in the meantime I’d like to make two points
    1, In the past meeting attendance was limited to bona fide BAA members, but members of affiliated societies could also attend. This may no longer be the case with live streaming. This also applied to other BAA membership benefits (e.g. advice from Section Directors).
    2, One of my local astronomical societies subscribes to several astronomy magazines and it is a very real benefit of membership to be able to read current magazines purely for the much cheaper price of membership. How local societies will still be able to obtain the JBAA & Handbook is, currently, not obvious.

    David Arditti

    I’ll try to answer this.

    We are proposing removing affiliated societies as a category of membership. Thereafter they will not pay anything to the BAA, and will not receive the publications. However, we anticipate that many societies will still wish to be affiliated because they wish to be associated with the name of the BAA, and will view it as a mark of their standing or credibility. Council would only approve the affiliation of properly-constituted societies.

    The members of affiliated societies would still be welcome at BAA meetings. For meetings where there is a ticket fee, it is possible we could continue to offer lower prices to affiliated society members than to the general public, but that will be decided on a case-by-case basis. We’d be free to offer other benefits to them not yet decided. I hope we would give affiliated societies publicity on our website and in the Journal. I think Section Directors would still be happy to give advice to members of affiliated societies (though speaking as Director of the E&T Section, it is my policy to give more time to people whom I know have subscribed to the BAA individually).

    What Bill says about the Journal distributed through a local society is interesting. Most societies I know have abandoned maintaining a lending library, and, if affiliated, they don’t really know what to do with the Journal and Handbook, they are typically just kept by the Secretary. It would of course be possible for an official of the society to join in his or her own name, get refunded by the society, and donate the publications to the society – which is the same as happens now, but using different words.

    David Arditti


    Personally, I think if a society pays for affiliated status it shows a certain amount of commitment. I would have kept paid affiliated status which only entitles the society to a paper journal and the handbook, no access to online stuff other than membership stuff. Unless affiliated societies pay up, and maybe the cost should be related to the number of members like the FAS, there is nothing special about affiliated membership, and all those societies who have been paying and supporting the BAA for years will now just get the same as everyone else jumping on the free-bandwagon.

    Nottingham Astronomical Society (affiliated to the BAA)

    Andy Wilson

    The proposed change to how Affiliated Societies work would potentially open this up to more Societies. The ‘free’ items will be things like being able to include an affiliated to the BAA logo, articles about the Societies in the Journal, and possibly a discount on events and the shop.

    Andy Wilson

    I wanted to reply to the following suggestion from Lars Lindhard on the Honary membership forum thread. Here is what Lars said.

    “Instead of deleting the associations from the membership list, perhaps BAA should create advantageous membership offers for club members, so that we could get more younger people into the organization that way.”

    A discount on the membership fee for members of Affiliated Societies is an interesting idea. Noting that Affiliated Societies are not being removed. The proposal is to change the meaning of being Affiliated. So it might be something to consider in more detail, especially with regard to increasing the number of younger members, where younger only means below 50 years old!

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