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    sirmorgan's Avatar
    sirmorgan Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
    New Member
     
    #1

    Jan 4, 2015, 05:35 AM
    Membership Privacy
    Our membership lists are displayed at our annual meetings for all to see (as
    Required) Do members have the right to copy all the names and address of
    Those members, and send them all kinds of propaganda from these individuals?
    There have been many complaints from members not wanting to receive these
    Solicitations. Our 501 c3 is based in Wisconsin. We have tried to discourage the
    Tactic, but to no avail. One member even stole the list, by grabbing it out of a director's hand and running away with it. What can we do to stop these awful
    Solicitations?
    tickle's Avatar
    tickle Posts: 23,801, Reputation: 2674
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    #2

    Jan 4, 2015, 05:59 AM
    You cant stop it, if it is published for 'all to see'.
    joypulv's Avatar
    joypulv Posts: 21,593, Reputation: 2941
    current pert
     
    #3

    Jan 4, 2015, 06:25 AM
    A 501 c 3 is an open book because it doesn't pay taxes.
    That being said, I thought only officers were required to be public knowledge.
    I'll see what I can find out.If it's legal, you can't stop people from copying or soliciting. You can write 'return to sender' on them of course.

    [I searched the IRS site for 10 minutes and cannot find a requirement that all member names and addresses must be posted at an annual meeting. I would ask an officer to see the law. The IRS has different laws for different kinds of 501 c 3s.]
    AK lawyer's Avatar
    AK lawyer Posts: 12,592, Reputation: 977
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    #4

    Jan 4, 2015, 06:49 AM
    I searched the IRS site for 10 minutes and cannot find a requirement that all member names and addresses must be posted at an annual meeting. I would ask an officer to see the law. The IRS has different laws for different kinds of 501 c 3s.
    Keep in mind that, while the federal tax code and tax regulations certainly apply to 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporations, the corporation statutes of the state in which this organization is organized also applies.
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
    Computer Expert and Renaissance Man
     
    #5

    Jan 4, 2015, 07:35 AM
    So the first thing I would do is contact the corporation counsel. Confirm that the by-laws of the organization and/or state or federal law requires the posting of the list. You also said that the requirement is that it be posted at annual meetings. That does not, necessarily, make it public information. It may be possible to sue anyone using the list for purposes not related to the organization. It may also be possible to amend the by-laws something like this:

    Though it is a requirement that the membership list be posted at annual meetings, this posting is only for the purposes and uses of the organization. Any other use of this information will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law.

    Such a clause could strengthen any attempts by others to misuse the list. Further I would include some phony names or addresses on the list. Set up a PO Box for such names. This would help prove that anyone sending mail to such persons/addresses did so from the list and therefore did so in violation of the organizations rules.
    catonsville's Avatar
    catonsville Posts: 894, Reputation: 91
    Senior Member
     
    #6

    Jan 4, 2015, 04:31 PM
    Members are doing this? You have some questionable members. Maybe your membership requirements are to low for starters and your by-laws need closer scrutiny.
    ballengerb1's Avatar
    ballengerb1 Posts: 27,379, Reputation: 2280
    Home Repair & Remodeling Expert
     
    #7

    Jan 4, 2015, 09:02 PM
    If a list is open for all to see then it is public information and can't be stolen. If you get something in the mail with no return address just don't open it. If it has a return address and you see it is a problem person then pitch it. I get tons of junk every day from countless companies, nothing illegal about it unfortunately
    AK lawyer's Avatar
    AK lawyer Posts: 12,592, Reputation: 977
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    #8

    Jan 5, 2015, 12:38 AM
    ... It may also be possible to amend the by-laws something like this:

    Though it is a requirement that the membership list be posted at annual meetings, this posting is only for the purposes and uses of the organization. Any other use of this information will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law.

    Such a clause could strengthen any attempts by others to misuse the list. Further I would include some phony names or addresses on the list. ...


    I doubt that the suggested language would be effective: I'm not sure the law is extensive as to be helpful in this situation.

    Also, adding a phony address to the list would violate the legitimate purposes for which the list is displayed in the first place.

    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
    Computer Expert and Renaissance Man
     
    #9

    Jan 5, 2015, 05:32 AM
    AK, you could be right on both points. But so could I. Without more info about the organization, their by laws and where they are located, either could be correct. This is something that corporation counsel needs to look into.

    A phony member name could invalidate the list, but I'm not really talking about a "phony" address. I'm suggesting an address used only on this list and no where else. A PO Box or something like that would still get mail, but wouldn't be a phony. I knew a company that gave their address out as 123 Elm St Suite 1000, 123 Elm St was a one story building with one occupant and about 5 rooms. But they kept track of what suite was given to whom. So they would know by the suite # who they gave the address to. Nothing at all illegal about that.
    ballengerb1's Avatar
    ballengerb1 Posts: 27,379, Reputation: 2280
    Home Repair & Remodeling Expert
     
    #10

    Jan 5, 2015, 08:37 AM
    There are all sorts of regulations governing organizations, not just by-laws. If the membership list is addressed in the covenants, not by-laws, it by be nearly impossible to change it. In my organization it takes 2/3 of each and every owner to vote in favor of a change. We almost never get 2/3 to even vote let alone vote yes.
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
    Computer Expert and Renaissance Man
     
    #11

    Jan 5, 2015, 08:48 AM
    We don't know what type of organization this is. It was mentioned that it is a 501(c)(3), which indicates a charitable institution. The members are probably people who have made donations, hence the value of the membership list.
    talaniman's Avatar
    talaniman Posts: 54,284, Reputation: 10853
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    #12

    Jan 5, 2015, 09:07 AM
    Mining member lists, and marketing records is an old strategy. As is eliminating spam and junk mail. Annoying!

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