While planning the 2019 block party, a few of us decided that it would be helpful to start a not-for-profit organization called Friends of Fletcher. This would be the vehicle through which the block party, as well as other neighborhood events, could be organized. Our plan is to link this with a website/app, called Commune, which can be used to handle all communication, money management, to-do lists, etc., related to the block party and other events.
Why do this, you might ask? A few reasons:
Transparency. Generally, the block party organizers determine the event budget and then collect funds from everyone who is planning to attend. This has worked fine for the most part, but it can result in money being collected via various methods (venmo, quickpay, stripe, direct cash handovers) which makes it harder to track. Friends of Fletcher, as a not-for-profit organization, can collect funds directly which can then be seen in a group website. The funds can also be held in the FOF account, which means that no one is holding onto cash from year to year.
Continuity. As time passes and different individuals take over the planning of the events, FOF's website and apps can serve as the stored memory of the overall group. What items did we need last year and how much did they cost? When did we order the bouncy house? Etc. No need to reinvent the wheel and no need to pass along excel or word documents via email chains -- all will be contained in the FOF app.
Community. Commune's communications app will let us set up a list of what we need for the party, who's bringing what, etc. This is similar to what we've done before but now all in one place rather than email attachments.
What does this mean for all of us?
Creating FOF does not mean a large increase in financial responsibility for us....each year FOF can suggest an annual contribution per household, which will represent the cost of the block party plus any other community expenses, if any exist. Households can contribute this amount, plus can contribute any additional funds to support FOF. Each year there is a $10 state filing fee for the not-for-profit designation, and that's it.