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Purpose And Objective, Constitution And Bylaws, Liabilities, Protecting Civil Rights, Public Opinion, Further Readings

An organization composed of people who voluntarily meet on a regular basis for a mutual purpose other than educational, religious, charitable, or financial pursuits. A club is any kind of group that has members who meet for a social, literary, or political purpose, such as health clubs, country clubs, book clubs, and women's associations. The term club is not a legal term per se, but a group that organizes itself as a club must comply with any laws governing its organization and otherwise be cognizant of the legal ramifications in undertaking to organize itself in this manner.

Various types of clubs exist. An incorporated members' club is composed of a group of individuals who each contribute to the club's funds, which are used to pay the expenses of conducting the society. An unincorporated proprietary club is one whose proprietor owns the property and funds and conducts the club to attempt to make a profit. The members are entitled to use the premises and property in exchange for the payment of entrance fees and subscriptions to the proprietor as well as any additional rights and privileges provided in their contractual agreement.

An incorporated club is generally governed by state statute. Many statutes provide for the incorporation of clubs, and the statutory requirements must be strictly observed. A statute may require that an application for incorporation state the purposes of the club in a definitive manner to help the court determine whether the objective of the club is legal. In addition, the application should state the manner in which club revenues are to be provided and the basis upon which an individual may become a member of the club.

A club's certificate of incorporation should indicate pecuniary means (i.e., funds, money, property), describe the objective of the club, and specify a place of business or office. If a club is unincorporated, the rules that govern associations apply.

Voluntary clubs are not partnerships, since the members do not join them for profit-making purposes and, unlike partners, are not responsible for the acts of each other. If a club's members do unite for a commercial venture, however, this association would constitute a partnership. In such cases, a club might be required to comply with state law governing partnerships.

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