Let’s say you hold a meeting or a networking event for your membership. Naturally the attendees will have such a marvelous, educational and enlightening time that they’ll want to interact with each other after the event is over. So a member approaches you and asks for a roster of the attendees with their phone numbers and E-mail addresses. You might be thinking, “Great! I love it when members make close ties to one another!” But before you hand out any information about your members to ANYONE, members or non-members, ask yourself some questions.
What exactly do they want?
There is a big difference between “I met so-and-so the other day and can’t tell if I wrote down a 1 or a 7 for their phone number. Help me out?” and “I need the E-mail addresses for all 800 members in your database.”
Who wants it?
The information you have about your members is entrusted to you as an admin for your association. If the situation was reversed and you weren’t in charge, would you want someone else giving out your contact information to ANYONE? A change in a leadership in your association would warrant that kind of information sharing, but who else should be privy to the contact information of your members?
What are they going to do with it?
Is it simple communication? If so, what kind? There are a ton of marketers out there who fall under the guise of offering bargains and discounts to people interested in their products. While this might be a nice perk at the beginning, special offers can quickly turn into spam. On the other hand, a payment processer or event venue may have a 100% legitimate reason for E-mailing part of your roster. Make sure you know exactly what the requestor wants before it’s granted.
What would your members say?
As scary as it can be thinking you could inadvertently send your contact list to spammers, there very well could be some legitimate requests for information about your membership. It’s probably best to err on the side of caution, though! It’s easy to lose members over spamming problems, but nobody ever got angry because you kept their information too secure.
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