A person representing a group is more likely to get the attention of the city than person speaking out of their own personal interest. That was one motivition to start “Bike Richmond”. I also wanted to provide a transportation focus to compliment an existing bike group in town which focused on recreational riding. Involving other experienced cyclists would also provide great feedback on a bike routes, and set the foundation for organizing events.
However, I didn’t want the overhead of setting up a real non-profit legal entity, having a board of directors or regular monthly meetings. Instead, I created a free Google Group and bought the bikerichmond.org domain and redirected it the google group. The domain costs about $15/year, and a Google Group takes just a few minutes to set up.
Since Google Groups provides a membership count for the group, we had an official group count that I could refer to, and I could generally then say that I now represented “Bike Richmond”. Many details were discussed on the list and we generally closed with a consensus about direction.
To further help make the lightweight organization “official”, I designed a simple business card for the organization (download the compressed PDF) using the free gLabels program Since it just mentioned the website address without a specific name on them, any group member was able to take some and distribute them if they’d like.
The simple promotion helped get the name out and grow the organization.