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September 1-15, 2011

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Should board comment on annual proposals to amend bylaws

Our 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation reviews its bylaws annually. Prior to the proposed changes going to the membership, they are reviewed by the board of directors. The board forwards all proposals to the membership with recommendations for or against. A rationale is always provided for the board’s recommendation. Recently a member told me that the board should forward all proposals without any recommendation. Is this true?

September 16-30, 2011

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October 1-31, 2011

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May charity auction tickets to fundraiser

I oversee a high demand fundraiser for our 501(c)(3) charitable organization that sells out weeks in advance every year. My committee wants our museum to auction off four tickets to the highest bidder after the event sells out. I think it is disingenuous and unethical for a nonprofit to auction its own fundraiser tickets. Am I overthinking this?

November 1-30, 2011

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December 1-31, 2011

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Can nonprofit start meeting with a prayer

Our small 501(c)(3) nonprofit rural food bank has always opened our board meetings with prayer. At the last meeting our executive director (an appointed volunteer position) said we were in violation of our tax-exempt status by doing that. She also stated that we could no longer provide any religious guidance to our clientele on food issue days. Is she right?

January 1-31, 2012

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Can members overturn president elect

Our Gem & Mineral Club initiated a president-elect position in 2008. The membership approved it and for two administrations all was fine. This last election a group of "unhappy members" presented a floor nomination for president. On the day of the election it was explained that there could not be a vote for president because he was voted in the previous year. This group is crying foul, saying that "they didn't know what president-elect meant" and the election was skewed because the definition wasn't given at the time of the nomination. Is there any merit to the complaint and is ignorance of the rules valid?

February 1-29, 2012

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March 1-31, 2012

April 1-30, 2012

May 1-31, 2012

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Can we spend money for entertainment of members at event?

Our small 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization holds an annual free public event with the dual purpose of drawing in new members and raising funds for another charity. Attendance is usually spilt about 50/50 between club members and the general public. We raise funds through a silent auction and a raffle of donated items. We usually use $1000 of club funds for some advertising but mainly to pay for entertainment, and we raise 2-3 times that amount to donate to the other charity. A board member is telling us that we can no longer do this because it is a form of private inurement. He believes we are not allowed to spend any money if it has any direct benefit to our members. Is he right?

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