What is a local group?
Any local group of Esperanto speakers or enthusiasts is a "local group" regardless of size and regardless of how it operates. It might be called a group, club, association, or chapter as desired.
Why call it a local group?
We often refer to the local organization as a "local group" because sometimes the word "club" carries a meaning that does not fit what the group is doing. The group might want to be called an association, a club, chapter, or a "konversacia rondo." You may select according to your local preferences.
A "club" generally has officers, by-laws, directors, dues, etc. Many groups do not fit that description. In E-USA, the local groups are free to be whatever they wish to be in fulfilling the goals of the members.
In this book we use the term group generically to refer to any local organized (or unorganized) collection of Esperanto speakers, learners, or enthusiasts.
There are no requirements for:
- minimum or maximum size of a group
- manner or formality of structure
- language skill level
- official approval by E-USA
Local groups in the United States are sovereign with respect to E-USA. Local groups can operate according to their own rules and decisions. E-USA provides services in many ways to local groups and to the local members. It is expected for Esperanto speakers to be loyal to E-USA with membership dues, but membership in E-USA is not a requirement for a local group to exist.
Even just one person can be a local group. Why would one person want to be a local group? It can facilitate the start and growth of the group. Just let us know who you are. E-USA will help you with ideas, plans, materials, and other things you might need.
If there are no other Esperanto speakers in your area, you can declare that you are a local group and become a contact. You can give your contact information to us at E-USA, and we can put your information on the webpage for local groups.
You can become a local group regardless of your Esperanto language skills, even if you are a beginner. A number of our strong groups started out with just one person who was a beginner.
Just consider that every group had a beginning with somebody who had enough vision and motivation to move it forward. If you are in this category, read about starting and growing a group.
Most local groups might consider themselves as small. Perhaps this means that 3 to 8 might be at a weekly or monthly meeting. This is a good size for a group, because it enables meetings to happen. There will generally be somebody to chat with in Esperanto, with such practicing going on at various levels of expertise.
Small groups can plan activities and organize events and classes. A small group is the first milestone in reaching a critical mass where it is easier to function, creating common visions, brainstorming with ideas for growth, working together on projects, planning interesting programs, and informing the public.
There are a few large groups in the United States. These areas with a concentration of members can have from 20 to 50 at the more important meetings or banquets. Such groups usually have newsletters, officers, dues, classes, and a variety of established projects for informing the public.
Skill levels can vary drastically from group to group, and within a group. Lack of Esperanto experience does not mean the group cannot be active. There have been cases where newer groups comprised of beginners have grown faster than more established groups.
Groups of beginners have the fresh experience of knowing why they have chosen to be involved with Esperanto. It is often this recent excitement that can attract others.
It is possible for your group to be active and have interesting projects and programs regardless of skill level.
Some local groups carry an official 501(c)(3) non-profit status. One benefit of this is that monetary donations to the group are tax-deductible. Attaining such status requires money and expertise, usually the advice of an accountant and/or attorney.
There is not any automatic non-profit status that comes to a local group for being organized as an Esperanto group, because there is no legal connection between the E-USA organization and local groups. The relationship is a benevolent and symbiotic, not contractual.