An organizing board of directors composed of potential IOGA members will determine the structure, activities, and financial plan of the association. The organizing board will receive administrative support from the Administrative Coordinator and members of the planning committee. Although it would be healthy for the organization to have some of the organizing board members continue as members of the first board of directors, such a commitment will not be requested until the structure of the association has been determined.
The organizing board will meet monthly via conference call from May 2011 through January 2012. A regular meeting schedule will be determined during the first call. One in-person meeting in conjunction with a field day might be possible if it works into everyone’s schedule.
During this period, members of the organizing board will work through the following issues:
- Review the needs of organic growers in Illinois in terms of education, technical support, and networking. Are there other needs that IOGA could address?
- What niche of activities and services should IOGA provide? What existing resources can organic growers in Illinois access, and what activities and services are not either currently provided in Illinois or are not easily accessible or affordable to Illinois organic growers? What are the highest priority activities and services that IOGA should provide?
- What is the appropriate organizational structure for IOGA? Should IOGA be an independent nonprofit organization? Should IOGA be housed within an existing organization? If so, which one?
- What is the appropriate governance structure for IOGA? What is the size of the governing board? Who is eligible to serve? How is the governing board elected? What are the term lengths? What are the board’s responsibilities?
- If the organization is an association or affiliated with ISA, what types or levels of membership should IOGA have? What benefits does membership type or level receive? What is the cost of each membership type or level? What is the role of growers in IOGA? Of universities and nonprofit organizations? Of consumers? Are there other audiences to consider?
- How much would each activity or service cost? What infrastructure is needed and what is the associated cost?
- How will IOGA be financed? Do any activies or services generate revenue? If there are members, what are appropriate fees for each type or level of membership? What other sources of revenue exist?
One important item of business for the organizing board will determine whether IOGA should become a stand alone 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization or function as a subcommittee of the Illinois Stewardship Alliance (ISA). The farmers participating in the 1/6/11 business meeting favored affiliation with the ISA. This was expressed through an informal show of hands. If the association wishes to become a 501(c)(3), we will need to agree upon by-laws. A draft of a set modeled on the Herb Growers Association is located within the reference documents. If the association becomes an affiliate of the ISA, we will need to draft operational procedures that comply with ISA policies.
Another important topic to be considered is finances. The planning committee would like to see the group agree upon a fiscal model and association fee structure that allows the group to achieve its goals and support the organic track at the annual conference. Reference documents include an estimate of costs associated with continued participation in the ISCAOC.