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Membership Update

Memberships, Status & Profile Attributes:

What They Mean, and Why They’re Important

By Stewart Woodard

In GNPA, we have nine different Membership Types and three different Member Status conditions. To participate in any GNPA activities, you must be a “current member in good standing.”

Those categories are important, so here is what you need to know to make the most of your membership. And remember, you can change your Membership Type at any time, or change to a Lifetime Membership. 

Most of the Membership Types are fairly straightforward and need little if any explanation. With the exception of Lifetime Memberships, they all require annual renewals. Family Memberships are a little bit more complicated for our system, so if you choose this path, please contact me at and I will help get you set up.   

If more than one member of a family belongs to GNPA, the Family Membership offers annual dues savings and the ability to make just one annual payment. This category allows up to four family members in a single membership. One of the major benefits is that any family member can participate individually in any of the GNPA activities, such as the annual EXPO. In the past, registering for EXPO required a great deal of effort and assistance. Now, each family member can sign up to attend EXPO and register for all the same field trips and workshops if they want, or pick and choose as each family member desires.

Family Memberships are listed in the Member Profile Attributes as “Organization.” This identifier needs to be unique, so we also use the last name, i.e. “Anderson Family.” If we have more than one Anderson Family (and we do), then we include the first-name initial, such as “L Anderson Family” or “T Anderson Family.”  

Each family member, however, will have his or her own unique Member Profile, like all other GNPA members. Each of these is linked back to the Master Family Profile. One member of the family needs to be identified as the Key Member.  At the time of membership renewal, a single renewal invoice is generated and sent to this Key Member only. No one else in the family unit will receive a renewal invoice.  

Two Important Items About Renewals

  1. The only time when you have the opportunity to opt-in for automatic renewal is when you renew your membership each year.   
  2. When renewing your membership or for any other fee payments, only valid credit or debit cards may be used, NOT checks or money orders of any kind. GNPA does not keep any credit or debit card information on file; it is only used by our bank-processing services. 

Membership Status

Membership Status has three different levels – Active, Graced and Lapsed.  Only Active and Graced are considered Current Members in Good Standing. They are described in this way:

Active: A current member who has either paid their annual renewal or is a Lifetime Member (Lifetime Memberships never generate a renewal invoice). 

Graced: A current member with an outstanding renewal invoice. Every GNPA member is extended a grace period of 20 days after their renewal due date to pay their dues.     

Lapsed: For whatever reason, no attempt has been made by these members to renew their GNPA membership. These Member Profiles will be made inactive and moved out of the member database.  

Member Profile Attributes & Their Importance

We now feature Basic (6) and Custom (15) Attributes for all members. Considerable thought was put into creating the Custom Attributes, and while most are optional, they are important to our organization. Here are a few:

Contact information: Important basic contact information includes member name, email address, home address and phone numbers.

Chapter Affiliation Primary & Secondary:  This identifies the local chapter you will identify with and attend. It’s typically the chapter closest to your home, but not necessarily. If you live outside the state of Georgia or live more than an hour’s drive from a chapter, then you probably should select “Out of Area” as your Primary Chapter. A Secondary Chapter is quite common, as many of our members attend multiple chapter meetings and activities.  

Emergency Contacts:  This is very important (and sometimes critical) information. Whenever you are attending any GNPA outing, EXPO, field trips, workshops, etc., we always need to know who to contact in case of an emergency situation. It is in everyone’s best interest to make sure this information is complete and accurate. 

Camera Type & Photographic Interests: This data is very helpful for planning purposes. Having this information allows us to put together workshops, webinars and field trips that are relevant to our members.    

Speaker Bureau: One of the biggest challenges for our chapters is finding speakers to address GNPA chapter meetings and other events. Please opt in to this attribute only if you feel qualified to be a speaker.  

Over time, we may add more attributes that we feel will help us serve our members. Please make every effort to include this information in your profile. Rest assured that our members’ information is for GNPA use only. 

So please complete as much of your online Member Profile as possible. The more information we have, the better we’ll be able to serve you and all of our members. 

Thank you for your help!