Byways 101

Part 3: Public & Community Involvement

How Much Formality?

- From Making the Grassroots Grow

If non-governmental entities (citizens and private organizations) are the primary members of the group, then decide on how formal an organizational structure needs to be.

If you are just starting to pursue byway designation, you may not need a very formal organization and may do fine with some well-organized and committed individuals. If you have secured designation and are now looking to implement a corridor management plan that will impact a variety of communities, the effort it takes to create a formal organization is probably well worth the effort.

Remember, an organizational structure should meet the needs and goals of the individual byway group. Strength does not always flow from structure if the structure is not right for the organization.

Eventually your group may consider the more formal structure of incorporation. A legal designation, incorporation carries certain benefits, but the creation and maintenance of a corporation requires efforts that may take time away from your primary focus. Again, there are no absolutes.

If you are not planning to have paid employees, grants, contracts or cash donations, you may be able to set up a citizen group without pursuing formal incorporation. You can have another agency (private nonprofit or some kind of public entity) serve as your fiscal agent and act as your financial administrator. You still make the decisions, but the fiscal agent carries out receiving, tracking, and disbursing of funds on your behalf. This service may cost money. For those groups who lack financial background or legal structure to handle financial matters, a fiscal agent may be a good option.

< Previous | Next >