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The Compassion & Choices Membership

Spring 2005

Jane Sanders
Bringing two membership programs together is a daunting task, but the rewards far outweigh the challenges. Both Compassion In Dying and End-of-Life Choices have their own membership communities. It is our task to build a unified member base that assures our organizational longevity, supports our mission, and acts as our diplomat to the general public.

Each member in our organization has the potential to change the hearts and minds of Americans to support the mission of Compassion & Choices. Many of you do this without even being conscious of it and we thank you. With our recent merger we thought it was important for you to have some historical information about the two organizations that have become "Compassion & Choices."

End-of-Life Choices, formerly known as the Hemlock Society, has been a membership organization for many years. For most of that time, it was organized as a 501(c)(3) corporation, as recognized by the IRS. That meant that all contributions to it were tax-deductible. In the late 1990s, the IRS determined that Hemlock was spending too much money on lobbying efforts. As a result, the Hemlock Society became a 501(c)(4) to which only non tax-deductible donations can be made. The Hemlock Foundation was formed to accept tax-deductible contributions. At the end of the last fiscal year (June 30, 2004), End-of-Life Choices had nearly 30,000 members.

Compassion In Dying has benefitted from the generous support of donors since its inception in 1993. The membership program, started in 2002, has been built upon serving clients and fighting to uphold Oregon's aid-in-dying law. Membership dues to Compassion In Dying were tax deductible.

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As we enter 2005, End-of-Life Choices remains the "membership arm" of Compassion & Choices. It is still formed as a 501(c)(4) organization, and as such dues cannot be tax-deductible, according to IRS rules. Although not tax deductible, the funds raised through members' dues are critical to our success in making progress on the legislative front.

We are committed to growing our membership numbers. Each one of you can help us by talking with your friends and family about why our work is important to you. They may want to become involved. You can contact us at 800-247-7421 or info@compassionandchoices.org and ask us to send membership materials to you, or we can mail directly to your friends. Friends, family and colleagues of our members are an important source of new members. We will continue to look for new members through direct mail campaigns to members of like-minded organizations.

We look forward to a long and meaningful relationship with each and every one of you. Thank you for being a member of Compassion & Choices. Together we shall make our society more humane and compassionate, advocating for care and choice at the end of life. If you have questions, please contact us at membership@compassionandchoices.org or 800-247-7421.




  
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This article was provided by Compassion & Choices. It is a part of the publication Compassion & Choices Magazine.
 

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