I am the president of a nonprofit booster program for a high school band. There is a set contribution we ask parents to pay to help run the program for the year. Do we have to include the parents who do not make the contribution in the end of year banquet? There is nothing in our bylaws about the banquet.
As a legal proposition, the answer probably depends on how you are marketing the program and whether you are telling the parents that their payment is a tax-deductible charitable contribution. This isn’t likely to be a subject covered in your bylaws.
If you market the payment as a cost to participate in the band, which would be a non-deductible fee for service agreement, you could presumably exclude anyone who has not paid.
If you market the fee as a voluntary tax-deductible charitable contribution, for which the donors do not receive any goods or services in return, it would sharply undercut your claim if you don’t invite those who had not paid to one of the significant program events. It could convert a contribution into a non-deductible fee for service. I understand the resentment for the “freeloaders” who aren’t paying their fair share of the costs, but that is what a voluntary contribution is all about. It is voluntary, and not required. Public radio and television have to deal with that every day.
As a programmatic matter, however, do you really want to exclude the parents who are unwilling — or who can’t afford — to pay? Are you going to try to distinguish between those who could and those who can not contribute? Will the exclusion of parents who don’t contribute make their kids feel better about the program and add to the camaraderie of the group?
What is the club really trying to boost?