HRACC’s success and growth is due, in part, to our commitment to the organization’s mission, values and standards of business ethics. In order to ensure a free-flowing exchange of information among all of its members, HRACC maintains a strict non-solicitation policy. While a wide array of highly effective opportunities are provided for business development to our members, overt solicitation, use of the Members Directory for business development or marketing, or sharing of member information with non-members without the prior approval of the association is strictly prohibited. Violations are subject to immediate cancellation of membership, without refund, and loss of all rights and privileges.
For these reasons, HRACC has developed the following guidelines for appropriate and inappropriate activities (in question/answer format) in an effort to make the fine line between professional networking and solicitation clearer and easier to recognize:
1. Are members out of bounds if they give out business cards to one or more members at an HRACC function?
As with any business event, it is appropriate to exchange business cards as part of a business conversation. It is not appropriate to just pass out cards to everyone with whom you come in contact. It is also not appropriate to approach another member for the specific purpose of marketing or selling a service/product.
2. Is it acceptable to follow up the receipt of a business card with a telephone call, mailing, email or by other means?
If the HRACC member indicated they wanted a follow up call, letter or email, then, by all means, do so. If it was merely an exchange of business cards, the following guidelines apply:
A follow up telephone call would be appropriate only if specifically requested.
Unsolicited email for marketing or promotional purposes is inappropriate.
A letter in the mail offering future services is OK if you had a conversation with this individual and they expressed interest in receiving additional information.
Newsletters by mail or email are acceptable as long as procedures for opting out from future communications are clear and followed.
Invitation to an educational event is acceptable by mail or email.
3. Is it OK to send holiday cards with your company name on it to all members listed in the directory?
This is acceptable as long as solicitation is not part of the card either directly or indirectly.
4. Is it acceptable to ask another HRACC member to recommend our products or services?
This is acceptable if you have a professional relationship with this person.
5. Can I use HRACC to build business?
Yes. By building relationships and working on committees and lending your expertise to projects and programs when called upon. Through professional support, you can better understand the needs of HRACC members, and through networking, they can understand what you have to offer.
6. How can I use the membership directory?
You may use it to find the name and number of someone who you may have met at an event. You may use it to contact a member to ask for help (see Question #9). You may not use it to market your business or solicit business.
7. Can I pass out literature about my business at HRACC functions?
If you are taking advantage of a HRACC sponsorship opportunity you may distribute literature per the terms of that agreement. Members are not to leave promotional materials on meeting tables or openly distribute such during association meetings.
8. What are the roles of Sponsors?
Sponsors provide financial support and discounts to HRACC members, and are offered the opportunity to speak to members about their services at HRACC functions. Sponsors receive public relation recognition from HRACC.
9. Can I call upon members when I have a question and want ideas on how other people might handle a particular situation?
Yes, this is one of the values of belonging to HRACC. It provides opportunities to learn from each other, both formally and informally. Contact via mail, email or telephone is appropriate. This contact should not however be used to solicit business.
10. Can I send my newsletter or information about an educational session my organization is offering to all members listed in the Members Directory?
No. You can only send your newsletter and similar educational materials to members with whom you have established a direct relationship (see Question #2).
Each member ultimately decides whether or not an activity by another member represents solicitation. Members are encouraged to be candid with each other and to respect the others’ point of view. Members are encouraged to report violations of the association’s non-solicitation policy to its leadership. HRACC’s policy is to investigate any complaint fully and, when in doubt, to err on the side of ensuring that its non-solicitation policy is fully adhered to by all of its members.