Membership criteria

Full membership of MDN is open to individuals based in the UK who confirm at the time of each application that they meet all the following criteria.

  • Independent – consultants who are independent of the organisations for which they provide consultancy or training
  • Self-employed – ‘Primarily self-employed’ means the majority of paid work, in time and/or income, is on a self-employed freelance or voluntary sector basis, as a limited company partner in a business set up for this purpose or as part of a workers’ co-operative achieving the same.  We do not include unpaid work or paid work with public sector bodies or agencies, or businesses owned privately or by shareholders (even if the business is socially worthwhile and/or part of its profits are used for good causes).
  • Established – ‘having met all the above criteria for two years or more’ seeks to ensure genuinely experienced MDN peers can benefit from access to a safe and professional space for discussion of sector issues
  • Specialising in and prioritising work with charities, other voluntary sector organisations and organisations such as community interest companies. MDN consultants must work exclusively or primarily with voluntary organisations and NGOs rather than with public sector bodies or businesses with a profit motive – even if the profit is to be used for good causes.
  • Focus on organisational, governance and management development in voluntary organisations – the focus of an MDN member’s work must be on management, governance and organisational development issues such as trustee roles, planning, monitoring and evaluation, organisational structures and cultures, policies, systems and procedures for managing people, finances, partnerships and quality assurance standards. Specialisms such as fundraising, marketing and public relations are less likely to be appropriate.

Voluntary Sector Organisations:

mdn eventsFor the purpose of membership eligibility, we define voluntary sector organisations as:

  • charities and their wholly owned trading subsidiaries
  • organisations which would generally be recognised as Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)
  • not-for-profit (NfP) organisations with a statutory asset lock (such as community interest companies and prescribed community benefit societies)
  • NfP organisations with a constitutional asset lock, requiring profit/surplus and assets to be used exclusively or almost exclusively for the organisation’s purposes
  • other NfP organisations which do not have an asset lock but are clearly operating as community or voluntary organisations
  • Campaigning organisations

Thinking of joining? 

Unsure if you meet the eligibility criteria or like to know more about MDN?  Please email us with a brief description of your concern or a question and a convenor will be in touch.

If you are fairly new to freelancing but would like to join MDN in future please let us know and we will contact you when you are eligible to join.

Like to try before you buy? Close to the two year threshold but not sure about joining?  Please let us know and one of our convenors will be happy to invite you to an MDN event (either in London or Edinburgh) as their fee paying guest.

Meet the criteria but you haven’t been freelance for two years? Then why not join as an Associate and become a Full Member later? 

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