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Robert's Rules and Starting a New Organization

Starting a new organization isn’t terribly difficult, but don’t undertake it unless you’re committed to spending a good bit of time making it happen. Starting a new organization is all about procedure.

When you have a cause and have gathered others who share your vision, follow these steps to create your new association:

  1. Decide to organize, and prepare for an organizational meeting.

    When you and your friends get together to plan your first organizational meeting, you need to make some decisions:

    • Where and when will the meeting be held?

    • How will you publicize the meeting?

    • Who will chair the meeting?

    • Who will start the meeting and nominate the chairman?

    • Who will nominate someone to take minutes? And who will that minutes taker be?

    • Will you adopt Robert’s Rules as the authority for the meeting?

    • Who will make the presentation to the attendees about why you’ve called the meeting?

    • Who will propose a motion to organize a formal association?

  2. Invite prospective members.

    The best way to get the word out is to prepare a written notice and distribute it to the people you want to come to the meeting.

    The first organizational meeting is a meeting to form a new association instead of a meeting of an existing group; the only rules you have to follow are the ones you make up. It’s your meeting, and you control the hall. You get to say who can attend, and you don’t have to invite or put up with anybody who doesn’t agree with you on the basic goal to form a new association.

  3. Hold the first organizational meeting, during which you:

    • Elect temporary officers.

    • Adopt a resolution to form a new organization.

    • Appoint a committee to draw up bylaws.

  4. Draw up your bylaws.

    You may find it useful to obtain examples of bylaws for organizations of the same type as the one you’re forming. Then spend some quality time talking as a group about how you want your organization to operate.

  5. Hold a second organizational meeting to approve the bylaws.

    Because they are new bylaws of a brand-new organization, only a majority vote is needed to adopt them.

    This vote is pretty significant because, as soon as you adopt bylaws, you have a brand-new, shiny, out-of-the-box organization, and the bylaws are in effect immediately upon their adoption. No changes now without previous notice and a two-thirds vote!

  6. Enroll members.

    Because from the moment you adopt bylaws you need to be an enrolled member to vote on anything, your new organization stands in immediate recess to enroll members.

    You can’t enroll new members without enrollment agreement forms containing a statement that the undersigned agrees to abide by the bylaws. Signing an enrollment form becomes a commitment to pay the dues and any initiation fee. The recess to enroll members may last only a few minutes if everybody planning to join is at the meeting.

  7. Hold your charter meeting and elect permanent officers.

    After completing the enrollment of charter members, you have an organization — finally! Now you need to elect your permanent officers, according to the details your bylaws outline. Your temporary chairman presides over this meeting until you have a permanent president.

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