How has Red Files legal structure changed?
Originally we started Red Files with a private company structure. It is one of more common ways to set a business up and has a decent level of privacy protection. This structure was technically ‘for profit’ even though we had no intention to create revenue. We always had the ambition of becoming an official non-for-profit and can finally announce we have succeeded!
Red Files is now registered as an ‘incorporated association’ in Victoria, a common legal structure used by not-for-profit organisations. To do this we needed to meet a list of legal demands, like a having constitution and annual general meetings. With enough support we are able to abolish the private company and create Red Files Inc. as the governing body of (and separate to) the website.
What are the rules of an incorporated association?
Every incorporated association has its own “rules” which set out in detail the procedures for running the organisation – this is known as the Constitution. Every association’s rules must also contain a statement of purposes, which sets out the organisation’s objectives. This constitution is available only to Red Files Voting Members (which is separate to senior members and users of the websites).
What is the Board?
The committee of an incorporated association (that is, its governing body) is responsible for overseeing how the organisation operates. There are a number of special positions on the committee, such as the President and the Secretary.
Board members are sex workers who have roles within the organisation, but they also have legal obligations. A Board member must inform themselves independently of their legal duties as company office holders. Board members must meet their obligations under the relevant Australian legislation as an office holder.
Board members do not receive any wage whatsoever and the position of Board members are not a fixed position. Any voting member can potentially become a Board member themselves.
In addition to being a member, if you would like to be able to have a say in the decisions of the overall running of Red Files Inc. then you can nominate yourself to join the board/committee. For this you will need to be available for 4 meetings per year (you can join via Skype if you can’t make it in person), and be actively involved in helping us govern Red Files Inc. and the website.
How do the members of the Red Files website differ to the members of Red Files Inc.?
The Red Files website is different to the Red Files ‘incorporated association’ (Red Files Inc.) which is the governing body running the website. Members of the website have no obligations except to adhere by our Community Guidelines. Members of the incorporated association must adhere to the Constitution (the rules that govern the association) but they also have a right to vote and special meetings and nominate themselves for positions on the board. The board/committee will be in charge of governing how the Red Files website is run.
How do I become a member of Red Files Inc.?
Becoming a member of Red Files Inc. is serious business and for that reason there are stricter requirements. First, you must already be a member of the Red Files website. Your membership application needs to include your name and postal address and must be 'moved' by 2 other current members of the association. You must also sign your application stating that you will abide by the associations purposes and abide by the rules set out in our constitution.
Does this mean donations are tax-deductible?
Not quite. For that we need DGR status (a legal term) but to get DGR status we need to be non-for-profit. So this is the first step towards having our donations tax-deductible.
Wanna find out more how an incorporated association works? Got any more questions or need any clarifications? Just comment below.