Black Mountain Druid Order has Groves all over the world! If you would like to join a Grove, you can check for Groves in your area by visiting our Directory of Groves.
If you already have a Grove, or would like to start one with the Black Mountain Druid Order, Grove membership in our Order is not exclusive. What this means is that you can be affiliated with the Black Mountain Druid Order and still be a part of other Orders as well.
If there are no Groves in your local area, you may wish to start your own. Black Mountain Druid Order offers free assistance to those wishing to start a Grove under our Order. The first thing you will need is a group of people with a common interest. At least one of these people would need to be a member of the Black Mountain Druid Order. Don’t worry, membership is free!
The next thing is to provide for the growth of your Grove. This means recruiting members. The best way to recruit members for your Grove is to have a high public profile. You may wish to start by holding a public rite for each of the High Days of the Wheel of the Year. The way most Groves have been successful at this is by holding some sort of pot luck dinner before or after the rite, and by inviting people to participate by writing the rite, or by playing music, or by cooking, or decorating your sacred space, or any other ways you can think of for people to help out.
Service to the community and to the world is a tenet of the Way of the Druid in the Black Mountain Druid Order. Another way your Grove can recruit members is to sponsor events such as tree plantings, roadside cleanups, and charitable events that benefit your local community. This is a great way to get your Grove’s name out there to the public, and a great way for people who are interested in the Way of the Druid to find you.
Check to see if your state has an Adopt-a-Highway program, and adopt a mile in the name of your Grove. Or begin a food drive for a homeless shelter or for the underprivileged in your area. If there is no homeless shelter in your area, and if you have the resources, you could consider starting one in the name of your Grove.
Another great way to recruit members and promote your Grove is to hold at least one annual event. Check with local parks and other outdoor recreational facilities to see if you can rent them for events. Consider having a celebration featuring a poetry contest, or music, or a drumming circle, or an art festival or a concert and dance. The more the general public becomes familiar with who we are and what we do, the easier it will become to find members for your Grove.
If you have a readily available facility, you might also consider hosting workshops on the Way of the Druid. Do you have a member who knows about herbology, or drumming, or meditation? Ask them to lead a workshop. Do you have a member with a home who would be willing to host a potluck supper? Have a meet-and-greet for those who are curious about the Way of the Druid, and invite friends to come. Are there any local or regional Pagan events? If so, send representatives of your Grove, with brochures, to spread the word. Are there any local charities looking for volunteers? Have members of your Grove look for volunteer opportunities that would help to promote your Grove while providing a valuable service to the community.
Any events you may plan can be announced by creating and printing brochures to be distributed for free in local Pagan-friendly businesses. You might also check your local newspapers and radio stations, which often run public service announcements for nonprofits free-of-charge. For workshops, many public libraries allow free use of their meeting rooms to nonprofits as long as you don’t charge for the event. Create an email or printed newsletter and distribute it to those who express an interest. You might also subscribe to the newsletters of other Groves and Orders to see what works for them. If your Grove doesn’t have a website, ask your members if anyone is handy with website design, and get a web presence as soon as possible so people can find you. If you start a Druid Grove, our Order offers free website design and a free directory listing. For information, email [email protected] or visit the website.
Finally, look for local festivals and events, and ask about renting a booth or table to promote your Grove. Print out flyers about your Grove, and have members at the table to answer any questions the public might have.
How to Incorporate Your Grove as a Nonprofit
Note that IT IS NOT NECESSARY in the United States to incorporate your Grove as a nonprofit, since the First Amendment guarantees separation of church (or Grove) and state, therefore there is no legal requirement to incorporate your Grove; however, there may be certain tax advantages and other benefits in doing so. This usually only applies if your Grove holds property in common with all members. If you’re interested, you can consult with an attorney or accountant for further assistance. The information below is provided for your consideration should you decide to go this route.
Once your Grove grows beyond a certain size, you may wish to incorporate as a nonprofit. Incorporating allows you many advantages. These advantages vary from state to state, but all nonprofit religious institutions in the United States are entitled to certain tax exemptions. This is an important advantage to your Grove if you have many assets and/or many members who contribute financially to your organization.
In order to incorporate your Grove as a nonprofit, you would do the following:
- Check with the Secretary of State where the Grove will be incorporated to see if they offer any information or assistance in forming nonprofits
- Check with the local library for books on forming nonprofits
- Search the Internet for books and articles on forming nonprofits
- Clarify your mission, goals and exactly whom you would like to serve. Draft a Mission Statement and/or Statement of Vision for your Grove.
- Establish a Board of Directors of at least 5-7 people. Be sure each board member understands the legal and financial responsibilities of a nonprofit board member Check to see if there is an association in your state that helps people to charter nonprofits, and ask them for assistance.
- Alternately, consult with an attorney who specializes in nonprofit law.
- Define your organization’s purpose and create your bylaws. Reviewing bylaws of several existing churches or other religious institutions may be helpful, but remember that an organization’s structures and purposes may vary from your own.
- Incorporate in your state by filing Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. Call the Secretary of State’s office for forms and fee information.
- Get a Federal Employer Tax Identification Number (TIN) even if you do not have employees. This number is used by the IRS to track reports and your 1023 tax exempt application. You can get a TIN for free on the Internet at: www.irs.ustreas.gov.
- Apply for tax exemption as a nonprofit. This is needed before you can receive grants or tax-deductible contributions. Check the IRS website for Form 1023 and the packet that goes with it at www.irs.ustreas.gov. The process takes 3-24 months. It is recommended that a lawyer and/or CPA who are knowledgeable about nonprofit tax law review your bylaws and application for tax-exemption before final submission. You might ask established nonprofits in your area for their recommendations for attorneys and CPAs.
- Apply for local property tax exemption on real property or vehicles. Should your nonprofit qualify for an exemption from property tax your local county tax office will usually be notified.
- If you plan to solicit contributions you must file a registration statement each year with the Secretary of State.
Smaller Groves usually don’t need to incorporate unless they have large land holdings. The advantages to incorporation include tax exemptions and the ability to accept tax-free contributions. For more information, contact your local Secretary of State.
If you would like to start your own Grove, please complete the application below and your Grove will be added to the Directory upon review.