Beacon has two ways of recording that two members share an address and can be treated as partners.
The first way is that each member does “share address with” the other (as shown on their Member Record). They share a single Address Record in the database.
It doesn’t matter if some other member(s) happen to have an identical address, you can only “share address with” one other member, and they “share address with” you. Beacon often refers to such members as partners.
Note: It is true that if you try very hard you can get A to share address with B and B to share address with C a third person, and so on but that is only because Beacon doesn’t trap that error.
The second way is that some membership classes are a “sharing class”. This has nothing to do with whether the word Joint appears in the Membership Class name (though most U3As do use those names for the classes) but simply whether the box “1 of 2 people at the same address” has been ticked.
Beacon does not check if a member who is in a “sharing class” does actually “share address with” another member, nor does it offer to put members who “share address with” into “sharing classes”. So it is possible for one or both of partner members not to be in a “sharing” class.
This is why it is important that you do set “share address with” because this is how Beacon identifies that they only need one a copy of TAM between the two members, and similarly with the printing of address labels.
How does all this affect paying subscriptions and qualifying for Gift Aid?
Does it differ whether the payment is done through the Members Portal or via the Add New Member webpage?
In principle, there is no difference between a member joining online or being added by the Membership Secretary, but different software is involved and some cases were considered too complex to handle in the online Portal.
At renewal, a member with a partner can either pay for only themselves or for themselves and their partner. Remember that partner means “share address with”. Beacon will ask if it is OK that the partner is in a different class, but that is allowed.
If paying for both, the fee is the sum of the two fees appropriate to the class of member and partner.
Joining via the Add Member page
A new member may only join into a shared class if they “share address with” either a second new member or an existing member. If the new member is joining at the same time as the existing member is renewing, a precise procedure must be followed to get the right payments recorded. If you have Joint Membership or other “sharing classes”:-
- The wise first step is to go the Member Record for the existing member and change their class to the appropriate sharing class. The process is possible but more tricky if you omit this step. Either way, do not go to the Renewals page.
- Go to the Add Member page, enter the new member details, and on the “share address with” line select their partner from the drop-down list of Current members. When you select one, a tick box appears to the right of their name and the words “renew at £xx” where xx is their renewal fee.
- Tick the box. This will probably be for them as an individual member, so if you have lower fees for Joint membership you need to change their membership class, using the following steps.
- Do a Ctrl+click on the grey box with three dots next to the partner’s name – this will open the partner’s Member Record in a new tab without losing the data already added for the new member.
- Change the existing member’s class and press Save to close that tab and return to the Add New Member page (which still shows the wrong fee).
- At this point, you may be wishing you had changed the partner’s membership class first, but luckily there’s a trick. Temporarily, choose a different member as the partner and then change it back again. Now the renew fee for the partner shows the amount for their new membership class. You can now complete the form.
Joining via the Members Portal
Joining online as a partner of an existing member is not currently supported by Beacon. If a new member attempts to select a “sharing class” a warning message is displayed;
“Please contact the membership secretary if your partner is an existing member”.
Provided a member says that they are eligible for Gift Aid, and the U3A has enabled Gift Aid, Beacon will compute the amount of a subscription that is eligible for Gift Aid. The computation rules are:
- The member’s subscription fee is included.
- Any over-payment is treated as a donation and is included.
- The partner’s subscription is included only if the member’s class is a “sharing class”.
Beacon applies the eligibility rules strictly, even if they do not seem to be in the spirit of Gift Aid. In particular, if a payment is made by a member for their partner, it is only the member’s eligibility that is checked, not that of their partner. Thus if only one of two partner members is eligible for Gift Aid, the payment must be made by that partner (using that row on the Membership Renewals page).
Beacon checks the eligibility for Gift Aid at the time that the Subscription Transaction is created by seeing if there is a non-null date in the "Gift Aid from" box, or for a new member if there is a tick in the Gift Aid eligible box.
Therefore, if a member stops being eligible for Gift Aid, the "Gift Aid from" box on the Member Record must be blanked out BEFORE processing the renewal payment. Doing this does not affect the Gift Aid eligibility of Subscription Transactions already in the system.
With suitable privileges, a user can edit the Subscription Transaction (or any other financial transaction), changing the member and amount eligible for Gift Aid, PROVIDED that this Gift Aid has not been marked as already claimed. This is totally at the discretion of the user and they are responsible for the validity of any amounts claimed. No checks are made by Beacon.
Copy of KB article with the same name