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Author Topic: Membership Dues...  (Read 7684 times)

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Offline jagered72

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Membership Dues...
« on: November 29, 2015, 10:45:20 am »
Morning,
I was confronted regarding dues to the Post as well as dues to our Canteen/Home Association.  Before this goes off in an unwanted tangent... this is PA so there are Social/Associate Members to the Canteen, we do not need to beat that dead horse any more.  Thank you.

Basically... dues are broken down so that National, Department and the Post obtain portions of it.  Exactly how much is what I was trying to find.  The reasoning behind that is our by-laws specifically state that "The dues of this Post shall never be less than the amount required to cover Department and National dues."... Ok, so that means the current $33 is a baseline if I understand it correctly.  If we took away what the Post gets, we have the absolute minimum amount required for membership. 

So lets say for a membership drive we lower the required dues to that minimum for the members first year.  It saves them a few bucks... it also looks a bit more appealing that $33.  Is that something a Post can do without any authorization or approval?

Now for the point of contention... Associate Member dues.  Going with the same line of thinking as above and looking at our Department, Post and HA by-laws... there is nothing whatsoever that specifically states what the dues have to be.  The HA by-laws state "Membership in ________________ Post #______ Canteen/Home Association, Incorporated, shall be in accordance with the provisions as set forth in the Department of Pennsylvania By-Laws of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and these By-Laws"... ok, Department by-laws do not even address the member dues and we know National does not even recognize Social Members... hmmm, so we have puzzling dilemma here.
Let's look at the Post by-laws, which are cookie-cutter by-laws given to us by the Dept. - "The admission fee for all new members of this Post shall be $__________, payable in accordance with the National By-Laws." & "The dues of this Post shall never be less than the amount required to cover Department and National dues."... here is where everyone one assumes that the cost of dues is equal to an Active Member's dues.  BUT... Associate Members are not members of the Post, they are members of the Canteen/Home Association and NONE of the money received from their dues goes to Department or National... it goes to the Canteen. 

So the ultimate question here is ... if National 'tolerates' some states having Associate Members and the Department does not set an amount on their dues, is it not the Posts' responsibility to set that amount?
The only other governing body that interjects into the discussion is the IRS... they clearly advise any Private Club to stray away from making the membership dues so low that any transient person can come in and join even if for just that day.

Ok... I'm done.  Thanks for any input you may be able to provide!
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Sr. Vice Commander/Adjutant/Historian, Bridesburg-Lawton VFW Post 2
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Legionnaire Post 159 - Chincoteague, VA
Life Member AMVETS Post 101 - Delair, NJ

Offline jagered72

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Re: Membership Dues...
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2015, 07:42:50 am »
nice... 120+ views and not one single reply. 

Anyone got any information on this?  Thanks...
Gold Legacy Life Member
Sr. Vice Commander/Adjutant/Historian, Bridesburg-Lawton VFW Post 2
Chairman, VFW RIDERS Post 2
Assistant Director, Legion Riders Post 372 - Cherry Hill, NJ
Legionnaire Post 159 - Chincoteague, VA
Life Member AMVETS Post 101 - Delair, NJ

Offline IJK3770

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Re: Membership Dues...
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2015, 11:37:21 am »
It is difficult to answer all of your questions correctly but I will attempt to to the best of my knowledge.  It used to be in the National By-Laws that post dues could not be set lower than the combined National/Department dues but that is not in the National by-laws any more.  I looked last year.
Annual dues at my post in Mo are set at $35, of that amount the post gets $3.50.  So that makes the combined National/Mo dues $31.50.  But here is the rub, Depts have their  own dues set at different amounts. Without actually calling Dept HQ I cant make a statement about exactly how much Mo dues are.
Now as far as the Home Assoc dues subject, since none of it has to be forwarded to National or Dept they can be set at whatever the Home Assoc prescribes but I would certainly think that it would be only right if they were at least as much as annual dues for the VFW if not more. If your Home Assoc dues were less than annual membership to the post itself then they would join the Home Assoc instead of the post.  Membership in the VFW has to mean something.
Just my 2 cents.
Cheerily,
IJK
All-State Post QM :
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Offline IJK3770

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Re: Membership Dues...
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2015, 04:22:54 pm »
Did some inquiring and National receives $21.50 leaving the Dept of Mo $10.  But National returns $2  to Dept of Mo for the Veterans Service Officer fund.  I have no idea about the Dept of PA but whatever must be remitted to National as dues they will get $21.50 leaving Dept of Pa to receive the rest.  Now about the $2 rebate that the Dept of Mo gets I dont know if all Depts get the same or not.  Might make some interesting discussions if found to be different for different Depts.
Cheerily
IJK
All-State Post QM :
97-98,98-99,99-00,00-01,01-02, 03-04,04-05,06-07,08-09, 09-10,10-11,11-12,12-13, 14-15

Assistant Inspector General 2008-09
National Aide-de-Camp 2009-10
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Assistant Inspector General 2011-2012
National Aide-de-Camp 2013-2014

IRS Post Audit Survivor

Offline jagered72

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Re: Membership Dues...
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2015, 08:38:04 am »
Thanks for the input...
I have heard the same discussion from others that everyone, specifically Associate Members, should pay the same as an Active VFW Member... if not more because they are belonging to a private club.  But let's look at that for a minute... other private clubs in the area have much more to offer its members that just a Canteen and therefore some do have significant yearly dues.  What else does a Social/Associate get for their $XX dues?  Realistically nothing... they have no rights at the Post other than the right to sit at the Canteen bar and drink with members of the Post and other Associate Members, and not necessarily at a reduced cost because a lot of the corner bars around here are actually equal if not cheaper with their beer pricing.

So... that raises another argument but one that was trying to be addressed by our District.  Seeing that National does not recognize Associate Members to the Canteen they wanted to "purge" the ranks and only allow people that really wanted to be at the VFW Canteen to be members.  However, that backfired... because many Posts started discounted memberships or even programs for new members that offered a free drink for so many visits - offsetting the cost of $33 back down to say around $15.

I do agree that it is up to the Home Association to determine what the amount should be, with approval of the Post of course.  Unfortunately when you are competing with other bars in the area within walking distance... by trying to thin the crowd of Associate Members you wind up shooting yourself in the foot. 

This would be such an easy decision if 1) We did not have a Canteen and/or 2) We had more participation by Active Members in the Post as well as at the Canteen.  I would love to make the place truly VFW Members and their Guests only... and allow the public in during events or if they rent the hall.  But sadly that is far from possible.  I have already made the suggestion of going Post-less and meeting across the street in the Rec Center... but they are worried about their precious bar entirely tooooooooooo much!
Gold Legacy Life Member
Sr. Vice Commander/Adjutant/Historian, Bridesburg-Lawton VFW Post 2
Chairman, VFW RIDERS Post 2
Assistant Director, Legion Riders Post 372 - Cherry Hill, NJ
Legionnaire Post 159 - Chincoteague, VA
Life Member AMVETS Post 101 - Delair, NJ

Offline jagered72

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Re: Membership Dues...
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2015, 11:35:25 am »
From Department:
Follow the IRS ruling.

Hmmm... Got the Veterans Organization handout from them and it discusses membership types and that Socials cannot exceed 2.5% of the total members to the Post... but nothing on $$.
And of course... the local office does not provide phone help.
Gold Legacy Life Member
Sr. Vice Commander/Adjutant/Historian, Bridesburg-Lawton VFW Post 2
Chairman, VFW RIDERS Post 2
Assistant Director, Legion Riders Post 372 - Cherry Hill, NJ
Legionnaire Post 159 - Chincoteague, VA
Life Member AMVETS Post 101 - Delair, NJ

Offline DoggyDaddy

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Re: Membership Dues...
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2015, 11:29:28 pm »
I have listened to members over the years criticize and complain about the cost of Annual and Life Member Dues.  The advantage of being a life member is saving money over the years taking in consideration increases due to the cost of living.  National banks and invests the Life Memberships.  When the member dies, National keeps all the money with no option of any being returned to the family.  The cost of annual dues for the VFW are less than a dollar a week and many feel that even 77 cents a week which is equivalent $40 a year to is too expensive.  They like to blame this (big?) expense for not attaining and retaining members, BUT think of nothing about spending $40 and more on a dinner with drinks when they go out.
Other organizations like the Benevolent Protective Order of the Elks (BPOE) have annual dues ranging from $60 - $200 plus and members do not whine about it. Why?  Maybe because the Elks does more charitable works for the community.  Some lodge buildings  are small and others are very large with swimming pools, bowling alley, banquet rooms, and more. 
I feel better giving $200 a year to an organization that does lots of charitable work and operates their organization as a  business and not a private bar with a meeting room.  And yes, the Elks does lots for veterans.
What say you???????
Joe Kleinsmith
All State VFW Post 1716 Cmdr (1998-2000)
Cpt, VFW Post Honor Guard, Retired (1991-2009)
SC-SB County Council Cmdr (1996-1997)
SFC, US Army, Retired (1971-1991)
Full Time RV'er
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Offline Salty

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Re: Membership Dues...
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2016, 12:02:29 am »
jagered72:

You may want to look at IRS Revised Ruling 70-48, 1970-1 C.B. 133.

This ruling addresses Post's looking for a tax exemption in regard to the Post's Canteen/Home Association.

It has been rumored that the IRS has determined, that since the Post and Home Association each have there own Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws, that they are entirely two separate entities. This means that active members of the VFW (Life, Annual and Ladies Auxiliary), would also have to pay the same fee applied to Social/Associate members of the Canteen/Home Association in order to use the Post's Canteen/Home Association club room and bar. This fee would be in addition to the fees that active VFW members (Life, Annual and Ladies Auxiliary) now pay to be members of the National organization of the VFW. 

Offline Salty

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Re: Membership Dues...
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2016, 12:25:26 pm »
jagered72

You can also refer to my post on December 11, 2014 of this forum titled,

"The IRS Regs. on Posts and Home Associations."  This post will give you the webpage for the IRS Rev. Ruling 70-48, 1970-1 C.B. 133.


Offline Chris Weber 5468

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Re: Membership Dues...
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2016, 10:07:36 am »
While National By Laws calls for a total of $21.50, of which $2 is returned to each Department of which $1 goes to Veteran Service Programs and the other goes to where Departments voted upon at their Convention. Departments are also required to collect a minimum of $.50 per member and elect to collect their additional dues at their respective Department Conventions. In Missouri, it is $10 per Member for Annual Dues.
IN Departments that by Local Laws require posts to have Association Members for the purpose of their Liquor Laws, Article 7 has provisions to adjust their Incorporation to accommodate such laws. Such dues would not give Voting Privileges to any Member unless an actual Full paying VFW Member. Your Post must work with your Department to verify your policies and by laws on this.
Bottom line, your Post Dues can never be less than required from your Department and National requirements. My Post rounded it off to the next above $5 mark of $35.
AND Pay attention to the IRS Guide as specified earlier in this thread. You really need to track receipts from the Actual Veteran Member against the Non Veteran member unless operation a fully taxed operation. I have seen many bigger (and smaller) Posts go this way. A lot easier book keeping.
Chris Weber
Adjutant, 12th District
National Aide-De-Camp    5 times
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All State District Commander 2008 - 2009
All State Post Commander, 1999 - 2000 - 2001
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Pacific, Missouri