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Why we changed our membership model

Until recently, you could pay to be a member of the MS Society. At last year's AGM our members voted to change our operating model. 

Our members used to be legal members of our charitable company.

After the vote at the AGM, the legal responsibilities for our charitable company transferred to our Board of Trustees and National Council chairs.

Our democratic principles are the same

Our new governance structure will help us to reduce costs and simplify processes while making sure you still have a say.

Our democratic principles are the same under the new model. We’ll always work with and listen to our MS community, so your voices guide how we operate as an organisation.

These changes will help us to support more people, build a stronger community, and drive forward our goal of providing vital support services and world-leading research.

Reaching more people with MS

When our members voted for change we had 24,000 members. But we estimate that MS in the UK affects more than a million people. That’s when you take into account the 130,000 people who have MS and their friends and family.

Our membership numbers were dropping, so to maximise our impact we need to reach and build relationships with many more people in the MS community.

To help us make changes we got lots of excellent input from people living with MS, both members and people new to us.

What does it mean to be part of our community now?

  • We don’t have a £5 membership fee anymore. We used to ask people to pay to become members of the MS Society. But we don’t want money to be a barrier for anyone who wants to join our community. We still need support so we can be there for everyone with MS. So if you can, we'd love you to make a donation.
  • You can be part of a new electorate and vote to elect the majority of our Board of Trustees.
  • Our magazine MS Matters is free to read online or you can subscribe to receive it in print or on audio CD for £5.
  • Anyone who wants to explore our community can sign up to For you. This is your personal space on our website. By signing up you can control what you see, learn more about your MS and connect with others.
  • And there’s still lots of other ways to connect, from volunteering to fundraising.

What you need to know if you joined as a member before 1 January 2021

  • If you used to receive MS Matters by post as part of your membership, your annual £5 membership fee has changed to a magazine subscription.
  • If you’d prefer not to receive MS Matters we hope, where possible, you’ll be happy to continue your £5 annual contribution.
  • If you pay by direct debit or standing order, your annual payment will automatically by converted to a magazine subscription or donation unless you tell us otherwise.

If you’d like to make any changes to your contributions as a result of these changes, call our Supporter Care Team on 0300 500 8084 or email [email protected].

We want to hear from you

If you have any questions about the changes to membership and what they might mean to you, please email [email protected]. A member of the team will be more than happy to help.