Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can anyone join this club?
Yes. Join us !
Although Madison Civics Club was started as an all-female organization, particularly to promote women’s suffrage, it has welcomed men for many years. When the club was founded, membership was by invitation. Today, we welcome anyone interested in joining. We encourage our members to introduce their relatives, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances to Madison Civics Club.
2. I have become a member but I can’t attend all the meetings. May I allow a friend to attend in my place?
Yes. Members who must miss a Madison Civics Club meeting can transfer their seat for that meeting to another person for a transfer fee of $10. Your guest should be registered for the meeting using the Transfer option.
For NEW MEMBERS who join after the first meeting of a season, the membership fee will be prorated at $112.50 for the remaining three meetings.
4. May I bring a group that is especially interested in a particular speaker or topic?
Madison Civics Club will welcome your group to the extent that space allows. Please email email@example.com to make group arrangements.
5. I am not currently a member and don’t know any members. I am very interested in attending a particular meeting. May I?
We welcome guests! The brunch/program fee for nonmembers is $40. If you will be attending as a guest of a current member, the fee is $35. Nonmembers should register as Nonmember. Current members will need to register their guests.
6. Why does the Madison Civics Club invite students and special guests to its meetings?
In 2005, the board of the Madison Civics Club amended and restated the bylaws that define the purpose of the corporation as: supporting and recognizing active local citizens; awarding grants to youth groups for their civic achievements; and promoting non-partisan education and the discussion of important contemporary issues in its annual lecture series. This statement of purpose was the basis for our successful application for 501(c)(3) tax status in 2006. This status makes the Club a not-for-profit organization that is eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions.
7. Who pays for the students and guests who attend meetings?
Grants from local businesses and institutions as well as donations from our generous members support the costs of student guest attendance. Adult guests pay a guest fee unless they are the advisor of a youth group.
8. How does the 501(c)(3) tax status affect members of Madison Civics Club?
Members are not allowed to claim a tax deduction for their regular membership fee, because the dues pay for services the member receives (brunch and the opportunity to hear the speaker). Donations made in excess of the regular membership fee are tax-deductible. Businesses may also claim a tax deduction for grants they make to the Civics Club. You should consult your tax advisor regarding your donation being tax-deductible.
9. What impact does 501(c)(3) tax status have on the finances of the Madison Civics Club?
The Madison Civics Club, defined as a charitable and educational organization, is exempt from paying state taxes on lunches, meeting rooms, printing, and speakers’ fees. This tax-exempt status makes it easier to qualify for grants to support our educational outreach programs. This status requires detailed budget and corporate reporting.
10. What about reserved seating? Do board members and hospitality volunteers get free lunches or additional perks?
All board members and hospitality volunteers pay for their annual membership and pay for all guests they invite to meetings. Seating is reserved for board members, hospitality volunteers, and their guests because they are busy before the meeting, greeting members and special guests or performing other duties. The Madison Civics Club board is a volunteer board. All mailings, registration activities, grant writing, financial and legal work, website development and updates, publicity, and hospitality activities are done by volunteers.
We encourage all members who are interested in serving on the board or on one of our committees to speak to a board member, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (608) 422-3062.
11. What happens to your comments?
The board takes questions and comments from our members very seriously and continues to strive to improve our member experience. As always, we encourage your feedback.
12. What determines the meeting schedule during the year?
The dates of the four brunch meetings are determined by the speakers' schedules and the availability of meeting spaces. We also consider religious holidays and UW-Madison home football games when creating the annual schedule.
13. How are club funds spent?
Spending in 2015-16 was allocated as shown below. Resources included membership fees, guest fees, donations, grants, income from our endowment, and club reserves.