What Are the Steps to Form an Association?

Forming an association involves gathering a group of like-minded individuals, creating a mission statement and making decisions about budget, activities and purpose. The steps needed to form an association will vary depending on the nature of the group, its leadership and its goals.

The first step in forming an association is to assign a task group to determine how much interest a community or region has in an association. That being done, founders must determine if resources for such an association exist and whether or not goals might best be served by joining forces with some other pre-existing organization. Very often the need for an association becomes apparent in the wake of a crisis or a recent event in a community, and organizers can take advantage of the community?s rising call to action.

The next step is to write a vision or mission statement articulating the association?s goals. This may change over the life of the organization, but it is important to have at least a preliminary version to aid in the formation of the association.

Forming an association also requires deciding on its structure, including how members can join, how duties are assigned, and how leadership is elected or appointed. The AMR Professional Association Management Service recommends limiting membership to 15 individuals in order to maximize efficiency

Once a structure has been chosen, association founders should determine membership dues and other sources of revenue, create a budget, and file the appropriate paperwork to establish tax-exempt status, if applicable.

Finally, founders must establish modes of communication, such as a website or newsletter, and then they must decide both long- and short-term goals for the new association.