Membership fee FAQs

How do I join Manchester WI? 

You can sign up to join Manchester WI on our website here: https://www.manchesterwi.org.uk/join-us. When we resume meeting in person you can also sign up at meetings, paying by either cash or card. 

How much is membership of Manchester WI? 

Full membership of Manchester WI will cost £44 in 2021/22. This price will apply to all existing members (regardless of when in the year you renew your membership) and any new members joining in Q1 (April – June) of 2021/22. Any new members joining in subsequent quarters of the year will be charged the pro rata rate.  

A new member is defined as someone who hasn’t been a member of any WI in the 2020 membership year.  

The pro rata rates are: 

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Dual members pay £21.60 to their second WI. There is no pro-rata rate for dual membership and the set fee is payable at any time during the year.  

What does my membership include? 

We are pleased that we are continuing to offer a full programme of meetings and sub-group activities virtually, and these will resume in person when it is safe to do so. Your membership includes: 

  • 11 monthly meetings per year  

  • Access to our sub-groups including: Bookish Broads, Craft Club, weekly craft natters, and Jam and Lecreusetlem, our food and drink sub-group 

  • One-off activities and socials throughout the year 

  • Access to our virtual networks including the private Manchester WI members’ Facebook group and sub-group specific messaging groups 

  • Regular copies of WI Life, the national WI magazine through the post 

Overall, membership to Manchester WI costs just £3.67 a month or on average 52p per event if you take part in everything on offer, which many of us do! 

Where does my membership go? 

Your membership fee is split into three parts:  

  • National Federation of WIs (NFWI) – £12.10 (28%)  

  • Lancashire Federation of WIs (LFWI) – £10.30 (21%)  

  • Manchester WI – £21.60 (49%) 

The NFWI and LFWI components contribute towards the running of the WI more widely at national and regional levels. The remaining 49% is used by us to cover the costs of running Manchester WI. Some of the things we spend your money on include: 

  • Venue hire (in more normal times!) and current Zoom subscription  

  • Speakers and activity instructors 

  • Insurance 

  • Other member perks, such as the Christmas mailer you received last year 

  • Investing in merchandise to support our bursary fund which all members can apply to 

Once the NFWI and LFWI portions of membership fees are removed, we have £1.80 a month per member to cover our own Manchester WI activities.  

A more detailed breakdown of how we spend our funds can be found in these slides:  HERE

 

I only want to attend some of your events. Do you offer a reduced membership or pay as you go? 

Unfortunately, we are only able to offer one type of membership at the moment. You are free to attend as many or as few events as you like so we would encourage you to look at our events page to see if you think our programme of events and sub-groups will suit you and be good value for money.  

 

Why do some of your events cost extra on top of my membership? 

In addition to our extensive regular programme of events, we also organise one-off events and workshops throughout the year. Some of these incur additional costs to pay for instructors and resources e.g. Christmas wreath making, earring making, sports and leisure classes. These are hugely popular with our members but entirely optional and any additional costs are always made clear. 

 

I want to take a break from Manchester WI and re-join later in the year. Will I pay the pro rata rate if I re-join? 

If you have been a member of any WI in 2020, full membership of Manchester WI will cost you £44 in 2021/22 regardless of when in the year you renew your membership. Only new members (someone who hasn’t been a member of any WI in the 2020 membership year) are eligible for the pro rata rates.  

 

I don’t want to re-join Manchester WI in 2021/22. How do I cancel my membership? 

All memberships will automatically expire on 31st March 2021 so you don’t need to worry about your membership auto-renewing. If you wish to unsubscribe from our newsletter please click the unsubscribe button on the mailer or email us at manchesterwi@gmail.com 

 

Can I try Manchester WI before I commit to a membership? 

When we meet in person, we welcome guests to try a few meetings at a suggested voluntary donation of £5 a meeting. However, to keep all our virtual events safe and secure, we have temporarily restricted our online events to members only. This means we know exactly who everyone is. The downside of this is that it can be hard to imagine if Manchester WI is for you. We would recommend looking at our website and social media to see what events we offer and the type of WI we are. If you have any questions or want to chat to a committee member about their experience, please get in touch with us! We are hoping to run a taster session in April 2021 where any prospective members can meet us and sample the many events on offer 

Some other WIs are cheaper – what more do I get with a Manchester WI membership? 

In February 2021, the NFWI announced that individual WIs could choose how much of their portion of the membership fees (£21.60) they wanted to charge. This was in recognition that some disruption due to Covid restrictions is likely to remain going into the 2021/22 membership year and that some WIs have not be able to run their full programme or provide any activities at all in the last year. Because of this, WIs may be in very different financial positions going into the new year and may wish to reflect this in their membership fees. At Manchester WI, we have been able to quickly adapt to virtual working in light of the pandemic and have continued to offer our full programme over the last year and will continue to do so in 2021/22. We have even increased our regular activities, adding weekly craft natters, a new food and drink sub-group and a members’ only Facebook group for chatting virtually. Overall, we feel Manchester WI has – and will continue to – offer outstanding value for money for all of our members. Many of you say the thing you love the most about us is the variety of events we offer and the calibre of speakers we are able to attract. Rather than have to restrict this offer, we would rather be in a healthy financial position so we can continue to be the Manchester WI you know and love – and evolve even more in the coming year.  

How can I get more information about Manchester WI’s financial position and how my membership fees are spent? 

We want to be as open as possible about our financial position and as a charity have certain obligations around this. Our annual financial position is presented every May at our Annual General Meeting (AGM). We have also developed some slides which show our 2020/21 financial position and what we spend our portion of your membership fees on: HERE. If you have any further questions, please get in touch with us and our committee will gladly answer these! 

I am only able to participate in events virtually – how will my membership work when you go back to in person events? 

At the moment we don’t know when we will be able to resume in person meetings. Due to the size of our group (over 150 women!) it is unlikely to be for a while yet. We don’t want to have to limit in person events to only a small proportion of our members and also acknowledge some of our members may still be apprehensive about in person events even when restrictions ease. We also know that a virtual option makes us more accessible to those of you who don’t live locally, have caring responsibilities, or just fancy engaging with us from the comfort of your sofa. We are committed to finding a blended approach that will enable us to livestream and facilitate virtual interaction in future in person events. We hope this means everyone can get the most out of their memberships. 

I need a carer, interpreter or personal assistant to support me to attend meetings. Do they have to be a member too? 

 

We welcome carers, interpreters and personal assistants who are supporting a member at no extra cost. Just let us know who they are at manchesterwi@gmail.com or on your event registration form so we know to expect them.  

 

Do you offer discounted memberships for those of us on a low income or in receipt of benefits or other support? 

This is something we would love to be able to do but unfortunately aren’t able to at the moment due to rules at a national level. We know the membership fee creates a financial barrier that prevents some women from joining or renewing their memberships. We are continuing to engage with NFWI to lobby for reform of the membership model, including subsidised memberships and bursaries. If you are struggling to afford your membership fee please contact us in confidence so we can chat about your options.