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Nonprofit Law/Membership requirements


I am a trustee of a 501(c)(3) museum.  We do not have a requirements in our bylaws to have members, although we do recognize levels of donors.  Is their a legal requirement to have members, and if so, is the corporation required to hold member meetings and provide for member voting rights as part of the governance?

Every state has in its code a requirement that either the articles of incorporation or bylaws specify whether there will be voting members.  As for Virginia,  The Virginia Nonstock Corporations Act is available at and specifically, note 13.1-846, "Members shall not be entitled to vote except as the right to vote shall be conferred by the articles of incorporation or if the articles of incorporation so provide, in the bylaws."  Therefore, I would need to look at the articles of incorporation (and then possibly the bylaws) and then I could go further on this. If you provide me with a copy of the articles of incorporation I will advise you further.

Harvey Mechanic
Attorney at Law

P.S. This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship.

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Harvey Mechanic


DO NOT GIVE ME INFORMATION THAT YOU WANT KEPT CONFIDENTIAL. I am an attorney and I volunteer time to answer general questions about U.S. Federal income tax issues of nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charities only. Those questions could be about establishing and maintaining legal requirements for such non-profit organizations in the United States, including Internal Revenue service filings and requirements. I will not be working on this free forum to answer questions about Nonprofit's possible unrelated or for-profit businesses or how to fill out forms. This forum is only for general questions about federal tax law, not as the law applies to your specific situation. If you do not make your question public then I will not be spending much of my donated time on answers that would not benefit the public. If you have other questions, please contact me at I will reply from my email. In any case, do not reveal confidential information to me until after I have contracted with you to provide personal legal services. My responses on this forum are intended to be general statements of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, and do not create an attorney/client relationship. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather extensive information about the situation. To search my previous answers you can do a Google search by "" without the quotes and then add your search terms before hitting enter.


I have been practicing law and especially the law of nonprofit organizations since 1990 when I was admitted to the New York Bar and I have maintained my status with the Bar since that time.


B.S. Columbia University in New York City, 1970

J.D. (Law Degree) Brooklyn Law School, 1990 -- Cum Laude.

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