Members who were at the AGM in Tain will know that it was decided to amend the subscription structure. In 2016 a large number of members failed to pay (for a variety of reasons, some of them good), necessitating a series of chasing letters. In order to make a recurrence less likely there will, from January 2017, be an inducement for Members to pay by Standing Order. The basic annual subscription was increased to £15, but those who pay by SO need pay only £12 - the existing rate.
When we started the process of seeing who needed a fresh SO Mandate it was discovered that the Byzantine subscription structure meant that no fewer than eight different amounts were being received by SO each year, so the opportunity to do some tidying up seems too good to miss. After some thought it was decided that sending a fresh Mandate to all Members was the most efficient way of eliminating the rogue amounts, and a form is enclosed with this copy of Far North Express.
Even if you are already paying the correct amount I would ask - no, beg - you to complete this form and return it, not to your bank, but to the Membership Secretary. This is so that he can add your membership number as a reference, enabling much swifter checking of payments. This may seem an awful hassle, but once it's done it should mean that a series of begging letters is no longer needed. Please do this by 31 October so that there is adequate time for numbers to be added, and Mandates sent on to Members' banks. In fact, why not do it now?
The Concession rate was dropped some time ago. The Household rate (2 members at the same address, receiving only one copy of FNE) is fairly pointless, and it's easier if the membership is quietly changed to the principal householder at the rate of £15 (or £12 if paid by SO). We appear to have very few such memberships.
The Corporate rate for Community Councils and other bodies remains at £17. While there is no reduction for paying by SO it would be helpful if those bodies would complete a Mandate, thereby assisting the Membership Secretary greatly. One or two such bodies seem to have got away with paying only £12, but for the avoidance of doubt it ought to be £17. No retrospective back-payment will be sought however.
As many Members add something to their annual subscription, for which FoFNL is grateful (and thanks to those who do), the Mandate allows for a sum to be added if desired. DO IT NOW!
This may seem a sledge-hammer approach, but successive attempts to prevent double SO payments from some Members have failed, despite the clear instruction that the new SO replaces the old one. Maybe banks don't read as carefully as they should. Other time-consuming problems have also arisen, so a thorough clean sweep is the only practical answer. It will take you three minutes, and cost you a second class stamp. If you didn't do it two paragraphs ago, please do it now (and save yourself £3 into the bargain).