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Alcor News

News Blog of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation

CEO Statement on Membership Statistics

by Max More

What does growth in “members” mean and how does it compare to the membership numbers of other cryonics organizations?

The American Cryonics Society (ACS) publishes no membership statistics. Oregon Cryonics doesn’t have members. Nor does Yinfeng in China. I did not find any official number for Kriorus members, but their Wikipedia entry says “200” based on an unofficial source (in Russian). “Osiris Back to Life” – a new and largely unknown organization – appears to have members but publishes no statistics. That leaves only Cryonics Institute as a comparative reference point.

As of April 2018, on its “CI Membership” page, CI claimed to have “TOTAL 1,882”. This top-line total number is the one repeated on Facebook, in their Wikipedia entry, in published pamphlets, and elsewhere. However, in smaller lettering, “Members” is listed at 1,525. The “total” comes from adding to that number both patients (165) and “Associate Members” (192). (I have been unable to find a definition of “Associate Member” anywhere on CI’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. So, what is the comparable number for CI?

Since March 2015, this has been impossible to answer.

After that date, CI stopped publishing the comparable number, which used to be listed in a column called “CRYO”. The last record put “CRYO” members at 575. Although CI removed that information from public display, you can find it using the Wayback Machine, or you can see the screenshot I took before they deleted that data. “CRYO” was defined as “Funded Members with Contracts”. [Also as: “CRYO = CI Members with Funding and Contracts for Human Cryopreservation (a subcategory of MEMBERS) (See Becoming a Member)”] Back in October 2012, that was 505 out of a “Total Membership” of 1,040.

Another curious omission: “New CI members per year” is not listed in the yearly summary after 2016 here: http://www.cryonics.org/ci-landing/member-statistics/

CI’s definition of membership seems to require no more than paying membership dues: “For Yearly Membership the application must be accompanied by the initial dues payment and a $75 initiation fee. This secures your current membership and the right to execute a contract.” In other words, CI counts someone as a member so long as they are paying dues, even if they have not signed any contracts or made financial arrangements to be cryopreserved.

SPECULATIVE ARITHMETIC

In October 2012, Alcor-equivalent membership was 505, compared to a total of 1,040. That meant that 48.6% of “total members” were Alcor-equivalent members. If that same ratio holds now, we get (0.486 x 1,525) = 740.

What is the highest possible number of Alcor-equivalent members? Start with 1,525. Subtract “Pets”, “Assoc. Members”, “DNA/Tissue”, and you end up with 922. There may well be many people who are counted as members because they pay/paid dues but do not fit the three categories above. 922 is the highest number for real, full membership that I can come up with. The real number is either equal to or lower than this and, perhaps most likely, around 740.

Why does this matter?

I’ve been surprised by how many people are fooled by CI’s manipulation of the way it presents its membership numbers and its repeated claim that it is the organization with the largest number of members. Transparency matters greatly in this endeavor. It is unseemly for CI to parade its “low costs” and also claim to have more members than any other cryonics organization.

What are the trends in CI’s membership numbers? I’m interested only in members with cryopreservation arrangements, so that limits me to numbers no later than March 2015.

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March 2015

Members: 1180. CRYO: 575 (down by 3 from December 2014).
Increase of 98 “Cryo” members, i.e. real members, in the 3 years from March 2012 to March 2015. 32.67/year average.

March 2010 to March 2011

From 404 to 442 = 38 = 9.4%.

March 2011 to March 2012

From 442 to 477 = 35 = 7.9%.

March 2012 to April 2013

(There is no listing for March 2013): From 477 to 503 = 27 (or 25 annualized) = 5.24%.

April 2013 to April 2014

From 504 to 563 = 59 = 11.7%.

April 2014 to March 2015

From 563 to 575 = 12 (or 13 annualized) = 2.3%.

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We seeing a declining trend, with the exception of 2013 to 2014. Is this why the core membership numbers are no longer published? We can only speculate. It is interesting that over the last few years, Alcor’s membership growth trend has been rising, not declining. That is despite Alcor’s dues being significantly higher than CI’s.

In March 2015, CI had 575 cryopreservation members. Alcor had 1,027. In other words, CI’s cryopreservation membership was 56% of Alcor’s. Given evidence on recent trends (and hearsay from alienated CI members), that percentage has probably shrunk.

By the way, I have brought this numerical sleight-of-hand directly to the attention of CI’s leadership. The response was clear: They are going to keep doing it.

No public clarification on what Associate Membership means has been given to date. It appears that CI now has two categories of members without cryonics arrangements.

GROWTH IN PATIENTS VS. MEMBERS AT CI

Until quite recently and for a few years, Alcor and CI had almost exactly the same number of patients. But as of April 2018, CI had 165 patients compared to Alcor’s 156. [170 as of May 31, 2019.] CI acquired 35 patients in 3 years. That’s about 150% of the number of Alcor patients in the same time, despite about half the membership. In other words, CI’s growth in patient population is around 300% that of Alcor’s relative to number of members. This suggests that one or both of the following must be true: 1. CI’s membership is much older and less healthy than Alcor’s. 2. CI takes a vastly higher number of “post-mortem” third-party cases, a category of cases much more prone to lack of strong informed consent and to litigation.

CI ‘s website refers to “Our “Members-Only” policy for cryonic services”. However, this is highly misleading, since it looks clear that most people who are cryopreserved by CI were not members at the time.

At Alcor, we are currently working to reduce the loss of members, especially those who cite financial reasons for discontinuing their arrangements. It’s interesting that Cryonics Institute has added some interesting information to their Member Statistics page, apparently fairly recently: “At least one-fifth of Yearly Members allow their Membership to lapse.”

Although annual member dues with CI are a fraction of that of Alcor’s, CI nevertheless clearly loses quite a few members. I know that some of those are lost because they switch to Alcor. For the others, I don’t know the cause, nor whether it tells us anything about price sensitivity of Alcor members and potential members.

My hope is that CI will clarify and change the way they report their membership numbers. Failing that, this article will serve as a reference to point out to those who have bought into the “largest number of members” claim.

Alcor Member Profile: Michael Geisen

Minnesotan by birth and adventurer by nature, Michael Geisen is one of the hungry minds of the West Coast cryonics community, radiating life from his maverick spirit to his reputedly spry constitution. With his Alcor membership spanning two decades, combined with a robust, eclectic background in naval aviation and sales, he offers a unique perspective to the future of cryonics and the priorities therein.

Click here for Michael’s profile.

Maricopa County discount on CMS

Maricopa county, Arizona permanent residents will receive $60 off their CMS fees per year starting in October 1, 2015.

Comment: Alcor offers terminal members who relocate to Scottsdale up to $10,000 in assistance. Being located near Alcor when cryopreservation is needed not only improves response time but also reduces costs. It seemed to some a little unfair that members already living near Alcor could not benefit from this policy. We are recognizing this by reducing CMS (Comprehensive Member Standby) fees.

Why did you sign up with Alcor?

Alcor is interested in knowing why you selected Alcor as your cryonics service provider. What do you like about Alcor? And what made you choose Alcor over other cryonics service providers?

Please send us your testimonial so we can get a better understanding of our membership, can continue to improve our organization, and can better appeal to prospective members.

Your testimonial can be as long or short as you like. Please mention your full name and Alcor membership number.

We will select a number of testimonials to be published (with permission of the author) in our magazine and on the Alcor website.

Send your testimonial to the editor of Cryonics magazine at: aschwin@alcor.org

Thank you for helping Alcor grow.

Membership Dues and CMS Charges to Increase in 2011

As we approach 2011, we would like to take this opportunity to thank our valued members for their steadfast support over the past year.  Many members have helped the organization by making donations, volunteering, hosting gatherings to educate others about cryonics, or simply talking to friends and family members about Alcor’s mission.  Thank you, to all our supporters, for your contributions over the past year.

Although being an active Alcor member means more than just paying membership dues once a year, dues contributions are a fundamental source of financial strength for the organization.  In an effort to ensure cryonics is affordable for as many people as possible, last year Alcor approved the first dues increase in a decade.  Even with this increase, Alcor’s dues were only $30 a year greater in 2010 than they were in 1992 adjusted for inflation. While we wish we could continue these low rates indefinitely, higher costs and expiring grant support have made an increase necessary.

Alcor is continuing efforts to eliminate structural deficits that have historically made it dependent upon irregular bequests, donations, and grants.  At Alcor’s annual Strategic Meeting in September, budgets for 2011 and 2012 were studied in depth.  With the impending expiration of a portion of the generous and extremely helpful grant from the Miller/LEF/Thorp donor coalition that Alcor had been receiving for the past three years, Alcor was facing a $400,000 deficit if no action were taken.  To close the gap, the following measures were taken, some of which were begun the previous year:

  • Increase dues, CMS, and application fees
  • Reduce transactional charges
  • Switch to an electronic magazine
  • Buy out leases (phone, copier, etc.)
  • Reduce or eliminate service fees (janitorial, teleconferencing, etc.)
  • Eliminate discounts and retainers for regional emergency response team members
  • Reduce supply purchases
  • Collect additional media income
  • Draw on the CMS fund to support some salaries as standby readiness expenses

With these measures, we are pleased to report that the projected deficit has been eliminated for 2011 and 2012, and the capacity of Alcor to operate for the indefinite future with reduced dependence upon extraordinary income has been enhanced.  The new fee schedule effective as of January 1, 2011, is below.  The fee increase for primary family members will be around $200 per year, and we continue to honor all standard discounts for additional family members, students and minors.
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Regular adult members (CMS applies for members in the continental US and Canada):
Dues CMS TOTAL
Annually $ 620 $ 180 $ 800
Quarterly $ 156 $  45 $ 201
Monthly $  53 $  15 $ 68
Family members and full-time students (CMS applies for students over age 25):
Dues CMS TOTAL
Annually $ 310 $ 180 $ 490
Quarterly $  78 $  45 $ 123
Monthly $  26 $  15 $  41
Minor family members:
Dues CMS TOTAL
Annually $ 155 $ 0 $ 155
Quarterly $  39 $ 0 $  39
Monthly $  13 $ 0 $  13

New Statistics

Membership
Alcor had 926 members on its Emergency Responsibility List. Two (2) memberships were approved during this month, one (1) membership was reinstated, four (4) memberships were cancelled and two (2) members were cryopreserved. Overall, there was a net loss of three (3) members in September 2010.

Applicants
Alcor had 53 applicants for membership. Seven (7) new applicants were added, two (2) applicants were converted to members and no applicants were cancelled resulting in a net gain of five (5) applicants in September 2010.

Information Packets
Alcor received 161 information packet requests. There were 194 info packs requested in September 2010, 14 were handed out during facility tours or from special request. The average total of 206 info packs sent per month in 2010 is compared to 188 in 2009.

New Statistics (As August 31, 2010)

Membership
Alcor had 929 members on its Emergency Responsibility List. Six (6) memberships were approved during this month, two (2) memberships were reinstated, three (3) memberships were cancelled and no members were cryopreserved. Overall, there was a net gain of five (5) members this month.
Applicants
Alcor had 48 applicants for membership. Four (4) new applicants were added, six (6) applicants were converted to members and four (4) applicants were cancelled resulting in a net loss of six (6) applicants for this month.
Information Packets
Alcor received 161 information packet requests. Thirteen (13) were handed out during facility tours or from special request. The average total of 207 info packs sent per month in 2010 is compared to 188 in 2009.

New Statistics (As July 31, 2010)

Membership
Alcor had 924 members on its Emergency Responsibility List. Seven (7) memberships were approved during this month, no memberships were reinstated, four (4) memberships were cancelled and no members were cryopreserved. Overall, there was a net gain of three (3) members this month.

Applicants
Alcor had 54 applicants for membership. Seven (7) new applicants were added, seven (7) applicants were converted to members and three (3) applicant was cancelled resulting in a net loss of three (3) applicant for this month.

Information Packets
Alcor received 210 information packet requests. nine (9) were handed out during facility tours or from special request. The average total of 214 info packs sent per month in 2010 is compared to 188 in 2009.

New Statistics (As February 28, 2010)

Membership
Alcor had 913 members on its Emergency Responsibility List. Three (3) memberships were approved during this month, no memberships were reinstated, three (3) memberships were cancelled and two members were cryopreserved. Overall, there was no net gain or loss of members this month.

Applicants
Alcor had 59 applicants for membership. Four (4) new applicants were added, three (3) applicants were converted to members and four (4) applicants were cancelled resulting in net loss of three (3) applicants for this month.

Information Packets
Alcor received 231 information packet requests. Eleven (11) were handed out during facility tours or from special request. The average total of 194 info packs sent per month in 2010 is compared to 188 in 2009.