FAQ – Online Membership
This page is intended as a resource for members to learn about the new “Online Membership” initiative, how it will work and how it will affect local and state councils.
Q: What is the Online Membership initiative?
A: The Online Membership initiative is a web-based program through which eligible Catholic men can join the Knights of Columbus online. It is currently a pilot program limited to specific jurisdictions, and Minnesota will be participating, starting in February.
The Online Membership initiative is designed to meet two strategic objectives. First, the Online Membership initiative allows eligible Catholic men to join the Knights of Columbus online, through a streamlined, optimized process. Second, the initiative provides these members with a newly created and predominately digital Online Membership experience, which will help them to grow as Knights and as Catholic men, and will revolve around the four main themes of Lead with Faith, Protect Your Family, Serve Others and Defend Your Values.
Q: How does a prospective member join the Knights of Columbus through this method?
A: Prospective members join through a website. After registering, attesting to their Catholic faith, agreeing to abide by the constitution and laws of the Order, and paying dues via credit card, they will become members and gain access to the online Online Membership portal.
Q: What is the Online Membership experience like? How does it differ from a traditional member experience?
A: After registration, Online Members are given access to a web-based portal and begin receiving regular electronic communication from the Supreme Council. While they will receive a number of other benefits (explained in further questions), the digital experience will form the core of their Knights of Columbus experience.
Content distributed to the member through the portal and direct communication revolves around four themes: Lead with Faith, Protect Your Family, Defend Your Values, and Serve Others. Content is member-focused and relevant, aiming to help these men not only grow as individuals, but become acclimated with the good work and rich history of the Knights of Columbus, thereby strengthening their affinity with the Knights of Columbus brand, and setting the stage for lifelong, active membership. They will also receive regular communiques from the State Council regarding news and events in their area.
Online Members will be presented with frequent opportunities to work alongside their brother Knights in local councils to experience first-hand how membership in a local council can empower them to grow in the faith and to serve their families, parishes and communities. These experiences will show how the online membership experience is amplified through the fraternity experienced in a local council.
Q: Do Online Members belong to councils?
A: Members who join online do not belong to local councils. Instead, they belong to newly-formed state divisions, which will fall under the jurisdiction of the State Council. Each jurisdiction will have one state division which will house all of that jurisdiction’s members who join through Online Membership.
Q: How do Online Members differ from members of local councils?
A: Essentially, they do not. Though they have not yet taken their first degree, members who join online are Associate members of the Knights of Columbus. As members, they have the right to purchase insurance on themselves, their spouses, and their dependent children. As members, they receive Columbia magazine. As members, they receive the free accidental death benefit (age restrictions apply). As members, they are eligible for participation in the family fraternal benefit.
They are also entitled to attend local council meetings as non-voting visiting members. At such meetings, the Warden or Inside Guard who checks the eMember’s traveling card should make it known to the Grand Knight that an Online Member is present. This will allow the Grand Knight to welcome the Online Member, but also to ensure that there is no discussion of Degree Ceremonials.
Q: Can Online Members join local councils?
A: Yes. Online Members who have joined online can transition to local council membership, just as transfer members from other local councils do today. When an Online Member finds a local council he likes, he may deepen his involvement in the Knights of Columbus by converting his membership from his State Division into that local council to take his degrees. Since these members have not taken the first degree, that ceremonial will be part of their transition to a local council. Such transferred Online Members will count towards the Council’s quota of new members.
Q: How will councils know about these potential new members?
A: During the application process, applicants will need to provide the name of the parish they attend. There is a field to indicate if they would like to join a local council, and the opportunity to indicate their preferred council number if they have one. Both of these tools will generate reports and emails to facilitate the transition towards local council membership.
Q: How would a council admit an Online Member into their council?
A: A transition would be initiated by the local council’s Financial Secretary. The receiving council would complete a Form 100 for “Transfer” after the First Degree and submit to the Supreme Council. After transitioning to a local council, the member will retain his online access to the Knights of Columbus membership experience, but cease paying his membership dues online, and instead begin to pay his local council’s membership dues. The receiving council would receive the member’s dues adjustment for the fraternal year.
Q: How will Online Members be assigned an Agency?
A: Since Online Members do not belong to local councils they will be assigned for visibility purposes through the postal code assignment system.
Q: What will Online Members hear about the insurance program?
A: The Online Membership experience will revolve around four themes: Lead with Faith, Protect Your Family, Defend Your Values, and Serve Others.
The Protect Your Family theme will showcase the Catholic difference of the Order’s insurance program, informing Online Members of our business, our Catholic practices, our product lines, and our agents. While regularly encouraging the Online Members to find and reach out to their field agent, the Online Membership initiative will also provide members with financial literacy such as “Life Insurance 101,” and other professional resources that help to establish the Knights of Columbus as a trusted friend and advisor.
Q: How will we verify that prospective members are eligible for membership?
A: When a prospective member begins the Online Membership application process, the first step is for them to declare that they are: (1) a baptized Catholic male, (2) 18 years of age or older, and (3) a practical Catholic.
Once they check those three boxes, and a fourth box which indicates that they agree to abide by the laws and rules of the Knights of Columbus, they click “proceed to join” and proceed to the next page. They cannot continue if any of the four boxes have not been checked.
Additionally, before they hit the “proceed to join” button, they are presented with the following message: “Failure to answer truthfully to any of these declarations, or failure to remain a practical Catholic in union with the Holy See, renders void your membership in the Knights of Columbus.”
If you have a question that is not covered here, please contact the State Council through this website (click here) and we will attempt to answer your question. If appropriate, we will add your question to this FAQ for the convenience of other members. Or you can visit the Supreme Councils site on this matter here (Click Here)