Essay on Membership at TI
We had a communal meeting at Miller Grove soon after I took over in 1981. It was held to determine what we would do to develop the Centre. Two forceful sisters pushed for a number of things and got them agreed, reluctantly. Later, when the committee and I were struggling to get them done, I realised that neither of the sisters had been seen again and yet we were working on something we didn't really want.
So I introduced the idea of members so that we could see who we working for. Just recently, I was told that Geshe Dhargyey was adamantly against having members at his centre in NZ, I think the reason was because it divided the community into members and non members and I get that issue.
However, at TI we have membership as the core of TI's Rules and I see no way of changing that if we wanted to. But we do have that NZ issue to consider as we have people who cannot afford the membership fee and many dedicated volunteers and others who want or ought (by recognition) to be members of TI.
The Rules have a category of Friends that could cover that issue but the name tends to kick the inclusiveness in the guts. So in December, I was playing with Voting Members (members) and Members (friends) as a way of having anyone who wants to be a "member" to be a member.
You could become a member (friend) by paying whatever amount you decide is fair for you. There would be no vetting of members but voting members would have to go through the detailed process laid out in the Rules.