During the first year the concentration had been on enrolling new users. While membership was encouraged, the emphasis tended to be on "free access". It was not uncommon for users to be unaware of: a) the procedure to join; b) the role of membership; c) the relationship between membership and use of the net; and c) the reliance of Chebucto on the proceeds from dues. We believe we are now well on the way to correcting this situation. However, it is important to point out we have not sacrificed the principle of access for all regardless of ones ability to pay.
During the year documentation was prepared and procedures implemented to handle renewals. As well existing documentation was revised with a view to clarifying the membership information. Perhaps most important, we have instituted a procedure which will require each user to respond to the membership committee each year indicating his/her intention to join or not. There is now the clear expectation that if a user can afford to pay the dues, it is his/her obligation to do so. If a user fails to respond following the two reminders, access will be cut off. Accompanying the decision to implement this user response procedure was the decision to modify the dues payments to read $20 or what you can afford. Although it will require a full year to determine the effectiveness of these changes, the Board is satisfied they will be successful.
A design is now being completed for a membership card which will be available in the near future. Means of distributing these cards are still being considered. We are attempting to find a way of doing this without requiring a mailing. The Ways and Means Committee will report on possibilities of using the card to obtain discounts at selected stores.
An important thrust for the Membership Committee for the next few years will be to interest people in joining Chebucto and/or to remain members not because of the Internet access it provides but rather as a means of supporting the local information services. Our aim should be to have each Internet user in the Halifax Metro Region a Chebucto member and a user of and contributor to its information services.
Summary Report as of Mar 6, 1996 1994 1995 1996 Total Adult Membership 1370 2610 278 4258 Family Membership 0 235 118 353 Youth Membership 0 70 28 98 Unwaged Membership 0 158 86 244 Supporting (custom) 0 0 45 45 Memberships: 1370 3073 555 4998 Expired Memberships: 0 811 470 1281 Renewals: 2 598 276 876 Net Change 1372 2860 361 3717 Current Statistics: Accounts Active: 2065 4681 886 7632 Never Member: 695 1608 331 2634 Accounts Pending: 0 929 782 1711 Total Online Applications Processed: 3797 7554 1366 12717