Operating Guidlines

Grassroots North Shore

Goals, Operating and Organizational Guidelines


Grassroots North Shore (GRNS) Mission:


Operating Guidelines: 

1)   GRNS is an Unincorporated Association.

a)   GRNS is registered as an unincorporated association with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.

b)   GRNS has an EIN number, which was used to set up the bank account.

c)    There is no requirement to file these guidelines (or by-laws) with the State of Wisconsin.

2)   What we can do so long as we report our activity properly:
a)   Co-sponsor events with independent expenditure organizations, including 501c3 and 501c4 organizations.
b)   Endorse candidates and issues.
c)    GRNS can direct individuals where to volunteer with an e-mail address and a telephone number.
d)   We can sell our e-mail list to a campaign.
i)     The current rate is $75 per 1,000 names.
e)   Announce fundraisers as long as this is done as an independent announcement and is not coordinated with the campaign.

f)     Put political information on the GRNS website.

g)   Make robo calls.

h)   Permissible contact with campaigns (Source: Wittenwyler memo of 11/17/10):

i)     Lobby candidates, including incumbent public officials and work with candidates on public policy issues.

i)   Hold events attended by candidates.

ii) Request other publicly available materials from a candidate.

iii) Interview candidates, endorse candidates and engage in member communications about that endorsement.

iv)   Coordinate our independent activities with the independent activities of other organizations including PACs. 

3)   What GRNS cannot do:
a)   Coordinate with a campaign for political office or be seen as an arm of the campaign.
i)     GRNS cannot recruit volunteers but we can direct individuals where to volunteer with an e-mail address and a telephone number.
4)   Reporting
a)   Political Action Committee reporting is necessary.
b)   Annual reporting
i)     To GAB

c)    Treasurer will determine when GRNS needs to file as an independent expenditure committee under State of Wisconsin campaign finance laws.

d)   GRNS needs to

i)    Keep minutes of its meetings.
ii)   Monitor its web site for compliance.
iii)  Track expenditures and compliance requirements by whether the campaign is local, state or federal. Overhead expenditures such as the monthly cost of the website and internet should be allocated among the three levels of campaigns based on activity.
iv)  Place limits on campaign to comply with reporting regulations.

We will not make robo calls for federal elections in excess of $150 for all federal elections. The newsletter and website are not coordinated with any campaign. We can have a section “Volunteer Opportunities” where we inform readers where to volunteer with contact telephone numbers and e-mail addresses. 

Organizational Guidelines:

  • 9-15 person Steering Committee with two-year terms. No term limits.
  • Leader or co-leaders, secretary, treasurer, two at large members form an Executive Committee. Executive Committee is a leadership and organizing group that can make decisions between Steering Committee meetings.
  • Leader(s) and other Executive Committee members elected by the Steering Committee.
  • Steering Committee elected at the annual meeting by members.
    • Steering Committee responsible for overall policy and direction of the organization. It will delegate authority to various committees.
  • Nominating Committee, a subcommittee of the Steering Committee, will nominate Steering Committee members, who are elected at the annual meeting by a show of hands. Between annual meeting dates, replacement members are recommended by the Nominating Committee and elected by the Steering Committee by a show of hands.
    • Nominations announced in the meeting notice. Nominations must be made from current members of a Grassroots North Shore committee.
  • Voting at annual meeting of members who are present – any dues payers – open to members who have paid dues at least one week prior to the annual meeting. This will become effective in 2014.
  • Leader(s) create committees; nominate committee chairs and committee members with confirmation by majority vote of the Steering Committee.
    • Committee chairs and those on the Executive Committee must be members of the Steering Committee; committee members may or may not be Steering Committee members.
  • Resignations sent to the leader(s).
  • Changes to these operating guidelines can be made by a majority vote of the Steering Committee subject to approval by a confirming vote at the next annual meeting.
  • Five categories of individual involvement:
    • Individuals who are on the e-mail list.
    • The following are members.
      • Individuals who pay membership dues.
      • Advisory Board members get Steering Committee minutes –Typically past Steering Committee members.
      • Steering Committee.
      • Executive Committee.
  • Appointed Committees
    • Membership
    • Issues
    • Endorsement
    • Events
    • Outreach
    • Communications
    • Campaign
    • Fund Raising
    • Organization
    • Nominating


Approved September 20, 2012;  Revisions Approved February 13, 2014