Black & White: an update on BLUF cards

BLUF • funding • policy

Submitted by Nigel, aka SubDirectory (3), 26 September 2020



Since 2013, the BLUF Card has been our reward for members who donate to the club. In return for donating, members can either download a card to print at home, or display it on-screen in our app.

A range of vendors, to whom we are extremely grateful, offer discounts to BLUF members who show their card. This has allowed us to keep the club free, while rewarding those who choose to support us.

Over the years, the task of running BLUF has become more time consuming, and our costs have have continued to rise. We now have apps for iPhone and Android to keep up to date, a more complex website, and a formal legal structure, as well as a growing membership. Yet, I remain committed to allowing all members to access join, and access the site, without regard to whether or not they pay.

How do we make that possible? We have two solutions. The first is our range of custom BLUF merchandise. We have sold T shirts for many years, but in late 2019, we introduced the BLUF tie clips, and these have been very popular. We have added keyring, and there will shortly be more products available through our BLUF Store.

The second way we hope to secure the funding we need is through a change to the BLUF Card scheme. Most important first: if you have a BLUF Card, nothing much changes. You can continue to donate to get another once a year. The only real change is that the existing card will now be referred to as the BLUF White card. The minimum donation required for one has not changed, and remains at £10, €10 or $12.

What's new?

What is new is that we are introducing a second card, called the BLUF Black card. This is a proper plastic card, like a credit card, which is posted to eligible members. We are delighted that a range of vendors have agreed to give additional discounts to BLUF Black card holders, as an incentive.

To become eligible for a BLUF Black card, you need to set up a BLUF Subscription, which is a recurring donation to the club. Once we have received your first payment, we'll post the card to you.

BLUF Subscriptions can be set up using a credit or debit card from anywhere in the world, and you can choose between three different levels of donation each month - £2.50, £5 or £10, or equivalent amounts in Euros or US dollars.

If you live in the Eurozone, or in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Canada or the United States, you can also set up a subscription to be paid directly from your bank account, with the additional option of a payment of either £5 or £10 every three months.

Whichever option you choose, you'll receive the same BLUF Black card benefits - the only difference is in how much you'd like to give to support the club. Your BLUF Black card will remain valid for as long as you're a BLUF member with an active subscription. The back of the card has a barcode that allows vendors to check it's still valid, simply by pointing a phone camera at it.

A thank you to donors

We know it's annoying when you see companies give better deals to new customers than old ones, and we don't want BLUF to be like that. So, you will also be eligible for a BLUF Black card if, in the ten years up to July 2020, you have donated a total of £200 or more (or equivalent) to the club.

Get tagged

There's one other trick up the sleeve of the BLUF Black card. It comes with a detachable key tag, which also has a barcode on the back, and the BLUF logo on the front. You can set on the BLUF website the information that you want displayed when someone scans the barcode, so you'll be able to swap contact details with people easily simply by letting them scan your key tag with their phone.

Whether you have a BLUF White or BLUF Black card, you can also download and print luggage tags from the BLUF website, and as with the BLUF Black key tag, you can choose which information is displayed when they're scanned. So stick a BLUF luggage tag on your bags when you head on holiday, and if they're lost, you can be sure whoever finds them will be able to get them back to you easily.

My Donations

To help manage the new BLUF Cards, tags and provide extra information, like the history of your donations, we have created a new My Donations page. You'll find it on the website menu with your BLUF number, just above the Log out option.

I hope that many members will take advantage of the kindness of the vendors who have offered extra discount for the new BLUF Black card, and choose to set up recurring donations via a BLUF subscription. Below are a few common questions.

Will my financial details be secure

Yes. Regular payments are handled by one of two partners, Stripe for card payments and Go Cardless for direct bank payments. When you set up a subscription, you'll be transferred to their secure sites, and BLUF doesn't receive any of your personal financial details.

Can I cancel or change my subscription

Yes, you can, at any time. Just go to the My Donations page, and you'll be able to change the amount you pay, or cancel a subscription entirely. If you cancel, your BLUF Black card will stop working.

How do you know where to send my card

When you become eligible for your card - which is when we receive your first payment - you'll receive a notification in your BLUF inbox. You can then go to the My Donations page and click the button to request your card. Fill in the address where you'd like it sent, and we'll put it in the post.

Can I show my BLUF Black card in the app

Yes. If you have received and activated your BLUF Black card, then when you choose the BLUF Card option in our app, it will be displayed on-screen, just as the white card is.

How do I use my BLUF key tag

After you've set up your information - see below - just show your BLUF key tag to someone else, and tell them to point their phone camera at the barcode on the back. On both Android and iPhone, a pop-up message will appear when the barcode has been read, and tapping that message will display your details on a mobile-friendly page.

How do I change what information shows when someone scans my key tag

On the My Donations page, click Update information in the 'BLUF Tags' section, and fill in details such as home address, phone number, email address, then click Save. Next, under 'Your BLUF Black card' click Set card options, and tick the sections you want included. You can enter a name to display, and a message, like "Return for reward." Then click Save.

What does the Contact card option do

If you tick the Contact card option when setting your card options, then as well as displaying your contact details, there will be an option labelled 'vCard. Tap to add to address book.' When someone taps that, your contact information will be sent to their phone in a file that can usually be added to their address book with just one more tap.

Can I set up or manage a subscription from the BLUF app

Not at present, no. We will work to see if we can make this possible in future. For now, the features of the My Donations page are available only on the BLUF website, though you can make a on-off donation from within the app, and you can display both BLUF Black and White cards in the app.

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