1.5 Registering as a legal entity

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This section will help you think through some of the initial steps that you need to take if you want to register your VOPE as a legal entity.

Once you have decided to formalize your organization, you may need to register it as a separate legal entity. Depending on the country or state or province in which you choose to register your VOPE, there might be different organization types from which to choose; each organization type is usually associated with specific legal, accounting and taxation requirements. What should be considered are structures that allow the greatest flexibility while also allowing sufficient legal status to operate a separate bank account and put potential donors’ and members’ minds at ease about the governance of the resources?

It would be wise to consult with a relevant professional with legal and/or financial accounting expertise when deciding on an appropriate legal form. In some cases, you might be able to get the services of such a person at a reduced rate if you draw on the networks at the disposal of your volunteers, and potential donor organizations. 

If your VOPE is just starting out, it may make sense to include the active members of your initial task team as the first accountability officers / directors. You would then run an election process to vote for replacement members once a certain period of time has elapsed. An election should be conducted within the first two years.

The AEA Local Affiliates Council (2006) and Barbara Rosenstein (2013) suggest that some of the steps to take are:

  • Check interest and commitment on the part of the evaluation community (via telephone, email, meetings).
  • Contact existing support organizations (like the IOCE, other regional VOPEs, Organizations that would benefit from evaluation – e.g. government, UN offices).
  • Identify and gather local evaluators for an initial meeting and some follow up meetings.
  • Identify initial organization:
    • select a name;
    • identify a geographic region;
    • craft a mission or vision statement;
    • identify leadership and point of contact (this could be task groups and an executive committee);
    • compile a membership list;
    • describe past and planned activities (a good initial activity is an inaugural conference or workshop);
    • decide what the minimum organizational status is you need (the VOPE can initially be part of another institution); and
    • arrange for financial procedures through an existing institution or through a separate bank account.
  • Apply for funding support.

You want to ensure that there is sufficient interest to support a sustainable organization prior to registering your VOPE as a formal entity.

 

Keywords: 
Legal, Founding

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