I would like to take the opportunity to defend CI from some recent accusations regarding membership numbers leveled against us by certain individuals. Those accusations question our integrity and honesty in reporting our membership numbers and I will respond and clarify our position here.
First of all, I would note that membership numbers seem to have become a point of contention with regard to the viability and soundness of competing cryonics organizations. I will concede a strong member base is essential to any organization’s success, but in the special case of cryonics I would also point to financial strength as a primary measure of that organization’s long-term viability. In CI’s case, we have very strong numbers in both categories and don’t feel a need to inflate or otherwise distort our reporting - particularly as a means to promote ourselves over other organizations that share the same life-saving mission.
That said, when comparing membership statistics between cryonics organizations there are really only two numbers that matter if you are looking to make an honest comparison.
1) Members: defined as a living person signed up with the organization who has paid his or her membership fees and as a result can go forward with funding of a suspension with that organization.
2) Patient Members: defined as members who have undergone the process of cryonics with the organization.
Associate Membership clarified
The following is from Alcor’s website.
“Alcor’s membership number of 1,176 refers to those who have made full contractual and financial arrangements to be cryopreserved and who are paying membership dues. It does not include patients. Nor does it include Associate Members.” Max More Alcor CEO
I would characterize the above statement as misleading per Alcor’s own reporting here…https://www.alcor.org/AboutAlcor/membershipstats.html. This reporting clearly shows Alcor’s website total includes patients as well as a subclass of membership which they refer to as “associate members.” As of this report, the Associate Membership number was close to 300 people, which is a substantial number for any cryonics organization. It is also worth noting that CI’s statistics mirrored Alcor’s reporting, clearly breaking down paid members, patients and associate members to arrive at our total.
According to Alcor’s site, Associate Members pay $60 per year to receive a magazine subscription, discounts on Alcor Conferences and access to the Alcor Member Forums. These associate members cannot contract for suspension unless they become paid full members.
I would note that for just $120, (twice the annual fee charged to Alcor associate members) those people could sign up for an actual full membership at CI, which would allow them to fund a contract for suspension and take advantage of all of our membership benefits and cryonics services we offer. There is no cost for those wishing to receive our magazine, attend our AGM or participate on any of our social media platforms. Our Official CI Message board, however, is reserved exclusively for our paid members.
That said, it is only fair to note that CI did experiment with Associate Membership, defined as people subscribing to our magazine as well as granted access to CI’s social media, similar to Alcor’s Associate Membership program. However, these people were never asked to pay for this sub-class of membership where they could not contract for suspension or other services. Charging money in these circumstances to people who might not be able to currently afford cryonics is not how we operate at CI. Our goal with Associate Membership was to give people interested in, but not fully on board yet with cryonics the opportunity to get a better sense of what is involved. In time, hopefully those people would make up their minds and join as full members. Again, we did not feel it was appropriate to charge for what was essentially a trial membership and this is also the stated intention of Alcor’s paid Associate Membership option.
Therefore, in the interest of clarity and transparency, moving forward CI will only count paid members, and no longer include an Associate Member category in our reporting. People will still be able to enjoy the free benefits we did include for Associate Members, but we will no longer identify them as such or count those numbers, although Alcor currently does this and charges for it.
Patients as Members
CI also characterizes its patients as members and counts them in our totals as does Alcor. However, CI only accepts whole body suspensions. Alcor does not break down their website’s membership statistics for whole body vs head only (Neuro) suspensions. I suspect this has a lot to do with affordability. Even though some people may actually prefer a head only suspension, I believe many people have simply been priced out of the whole body option at Alcor. Full disclosure reporting of whole body vs head only patients might shed some light on this.
The Future of Cryonics
Fortunately, we do not feel these contrarian opinions are representative of the vast majority of Alcor members or of cryonicists throughout our community. We continue to support all cryonicists from all organizations in all parts of the world. Of course we are pleased if they choose to join us, but we are equally satisfied whenever a new person joins the cryonics movement by signing up with another organization. As cryonicists, we make up only a very small percentage of the population, so we feel that every new member to any organization is a net positive for us all. Therefore we neither judge nor criticize other organizations for the way they report or do not report their membership statistics. Even the bigger organizations started off small at one time and it is none of our business telling others how to operate. Rather it is our responsibility to run our own organizations to the best of our ability and strive to be the best at what we do.
Let’s be honest. The numbers reported by all cryonics organizations combined is trivial against how many people die without signing up worldwide. This is the real number that should concern us all and encourage cooperation and solidarity rather than criticism and in-fighting. It is my hope that all cryonics organizations will see positive growth. 5,000 people signed up out of eight billion people leaves a lot to be desired. There is plenty of room for growth by all cryonics organization.
CI’s central mission is to save lives and promote and advance the science of cryonics. As a nonprofit, we do not seek to make money other than what is required to advance our mission and maintain our operations. As much as we would prefer greater donations, we believe by being good stewards and saving as much money as possible we might win over the general public to our cause. We believe people will appreciate our responsible stewardship intended to keep our fees affordable for the average person while providing the highest quality cryonic suspensions possible.
So when accusations are made to raise doubt about CI or question our integrity, we ask that you follow the money and use reason when evaluating these claims.
President - Cryonics Institute