The most often asked question that I hear as the IFWDA Membership Director is "I belong to an off-road club. How do we join IFWDA." The second most asked question is "A few of my friends and I want to start an off-road club but don't know where to start." The following are guidelines and suggestions how to start an off-road club. Some of these guidelines are excepts from "Starting a Recreational Club, by Joe Doyle, ILFWDA."
Getting together - You have several buddies that you frequently four wheel with and you are ready to organize into an official club. Now that you have your common interest group together, it is time to pick a club name.
Picking a club name might sound easy but it is often the most discussed item during the development of a new club. Pick a name that describes your vehicles, type of wheeling you do or where the club resides.
A club logo should also be decided upon. Your club logo is often the means by which others will recognize your club. It can be used on club apparel and your website. Have your resident computer expert create a website for your new club. It doesnít have to be real fancy at first but exposure is the key to potential new members.
How your club will function & organize is very important. I suggest initially that the club pick or volunteer a coordinator and co-coordinator. They will aid in the organization and startup of your club. After a period of time, the club can nominate and elect officers, i.e., President, Vice-President, Treasurer and Secretary. At this point in time, it is recommended to get down on paper what your club is, who it consists of, how the club business is managed. These by-laws will save disagreement down the road. The internet is a good source for example by-laws.
In the business end of things it is wise to establish a mailing address and a club checking account. The mailing address can be that of your president or a common P.O. Box at the local post office. The club checking account will provide a means to make payments and protect the club funds. It is suggested to have 2 club officers as signers on the account.
One of two suggestions that your club can do to better serve and protect your club and itís members is to obtain an Employee I.D. Number (EIN). This also may be necessary to create a club checking account. The club can get an tax I.D. number from the IRS. The other suggestion is that your club may want to Incorporate. By filing with the State as a not-for-profit organization you are limiting yourself toward potential liability. This protects all members of the organization. Most clubs do file as corporations.
Communication is a huge key to a successful club. Plan to develop a newsletter to keep members informed. This can also be done through your website, emails and discussion forums.
Alright, you have a off-road club and you are ready to take the next step and join IFWDA. IFWDA can broaden your four wheeling experience and will help your club network and get in touch with other four wheelers and like minded people. IFWDA serves to protect our environment as well as our sport while working with the State Government to help regulate and provide access to our natural resources.
The clubs that make up IFWDA are always welcoming new clubs into the association. The following are recommended steps in order to join IFWDA.
- Contact the IFWDA Membership Director or any IFWDA board member with your clubs intention of joining the association.
- Select 2 delegates and one alternate to attend IFWDA quarterly meetings.
- Attend the next quarterly IFWDA meeting for introduction, nomination and election into the association.
- Provide a roster of members, with addresses, phone numbers and email addresses along with the required membership dues to the Membership Director.