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Notice and bad contact info

Guest Jeff Hagan

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I'm having trouble finding guidance on something in RONR:

I'm the secretary for a Toastmasters club. Our by-laws require that notice for a change of venue (as we're in the process of doing) has to be given to every member at least 4 days in advance. The allowed methods of notice are mail, telephone, fax, email, personal delivery, or "other reasonable means".

I've had an issue providing notice to one of our members.

- He wasn't present at the meeting where I personally delivered notices to the attendees.

- He lives in an apartment building, so I couldn't personally deliver the notice to his residence.

- When I tried to notify him by phone, I discovered that the number in our membership roster is out of service. Seems he changed numbers but never bothered to tell us.

- He has no email or fax, so those aren't options.

- I ended up mailing a copy of the notice to him, but it looks like it will arrive *after* our first meeting at the new venue.

- I checked our minutes - looks like he didn't attend any of the meetings where we announced the venue change verbally.

Will the fact that he didn't get notice in time mean that we can't conduct club business at our first meeting, or is the fact that we made a reasonable effort to notify him enough to make the meeting official?

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I think you made a reasonable attempt to contact him; the meeting should go ahead, of course.  It's his responsibility as well to keep in contact with the club.  Incidentally, your club should have a Web site and online calendar so that members can check for meeting dates and locations and updates.  But if he doesn't have an e-mail address that would be moot.

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Oh, yes - we have those, too. There's a PDF of our notice of venue change is on the site, it's in capital letters in our online club calendar, and we've been putting out reminders galore on our club Facebook page. I just didn't mention them because I realize that all of this is outside of our notice requirements in the by-laws.

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I think you've gone above and beyond your responsibility to provide notice to this individual. One last thing you might do is ask someone (it needn't be a member) to go to the former venue in the unlikely chance that this "missing person" shows up. I'm assuming you're talking about regular meetings (i.e. everyone knows the time and date) and only the location has been changed.


(Depending on the nature of the old venue you might also post a notice on the door or the old location.)


A single member can't hold an organization hostage simply by avoiding (whether deliberately or not) all means of contact.


And, if your bylaws require that notice be "sent" (not "given") four days in advance, your mailing (regardless of when, or whether, it's received) may have satisfied that requirement (though four days seems like a pretty short requirement for a mailed notice).

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