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Is Board list confidential?

Your Legal Questions Answered

Is Board list confidential?

Can our 501(c)(3) organization keep the list of board members confidential and refuse to make it available to the public?

Not if you are required to file a federal Form 990, 990EZ or 990-PF tax information return. Each of those forms requires a list of officers, directors and key employees. State charitable solicitation registration forms are also likely to require the list.
If you are a very small organization or a church or other religious organization that is not required to make such a filing, you may have no legal obligation to disclose such information to the general public. But the failure to do so undercuts the credibility of the organization and is inconsistent with the increasing desire – and legislative demand – for transparency in the charitable sector. 
Sunday, March 15, 2009


The greater question is WHY would a nonprofit WANT their board members' names to be confidential?

Board members are the major link to the community and a great asset in making the nonprofit known more widely in the community.

The further you extend yourself into the community, the greater the chances for recruiting other qualified board member who know current members. The organization's credibility is strengthened when others see the reputable community members' names who serve the nonprofit.

And last, but not least, the ability to raise funds from outside the organization is increased by having the names of well-known and reputable community members visible to other likely donors.

I can't imagine why board members' names wouldn't be placed on everything published and mailed by a nonprofit. It's good advancement for the organization.

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