What is Membership?
As an unincorporated charity, the BDA Benevolent Fund is required to have a membership. Members oversee the organisation and have the responsibility and authority to exercise voting rights at the Annual General Meeting or other Extraordinary General Meeting. Members elect the Board of Trustees who oversee the charity on their behalf.
Who are Members?
Our governing document – ‘The Rules’ state that membership of the BDA Benevolent Fund is ‘deemed to be synonymous with the British Dental Association’ i.e. BDA Members are also Members of the charity. For many years there was an informal arrangement between the two organisations but changes in ways of working and data protection legislation meant that in practice we were not able to access a comprehensive Membership database.
The Fund and the BDA have been working together to ensure that all BDA Members remain Members of the charity and that the Membership is aware of their rights for both organisations in a more formal, efficient and coherent manner. All BDA Members will be notified upon sign up and reminded upon renewal that they are also Members of the Benevolent Fund. The relevant BDA terms and conditions have been updated to reflect this.
At the next AGM in June 2019, the Trustees will be putting forward some changes to the structure and administrative processes of the charity. This will include creating additional categories of Members – Trustee- Members and Partnership Members. These new categories allow us to offer membership to those that wish to support the charity but who are not BDA Members such as Vice-Presidents, donors, and beneficiaries. The number of these Members will be capped to ensure that BDA Members are in the majority and be administered via an application form in accordance with our Membership Policy.
Details about the proposals will be circulated to the current Members in mid-April, 60 days in advance of the AGM.
Do I need to be a Member in order to apply for help?
The remit of the charity is to support all dental students, dentists and their dependents, living in the UK who are in financial need. If you are in practice, retired or somewhere in between, you will be eligible for assistance. Applicants can apply for help if they consider themselves to be struggling financially, have little in the way of income with minimal or no savings. You do not need to be a Member of the BDA or the Benevolent Fund to qualify for support. Please see Request Help for more information and an application form or Testimonials to read responses from people we have helped.
Do I need to be a Member to donate?
The charity is dependent upon donations from the dental profession but not exclusively Members as we support all dentists. This is usually from dental companies, individuals donating once or regularly, giving as a legacy or contributing to collections at events, meetings or social activities. We also receive very generous contributions from Local Dental Committees across the UK, collectively our biggest supporters.
We do not receive any donations or formal, financial help from the BDA although we are very grateful for the provision of the office, meeting room and associated facilities at Wimpole Street, helping us to keep our administrative costs down.
Like many well-established charities, we also have an endowment fund which generates income to support us with running, administration and governance costs. Donations do not enhance or add to the endowment in any way and the fund is managed via an investment management company.
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