Setting up a study association takes some time and effort, but it is a very useful process. In addition, an association with full legal capacity has quite a few advantages, including liability: an association as a legal person is responsible in case of bankruptcy, for example, instead of the directors (there are exceptions to this). It is also usually the case that you have to be an officially recognised association to be eligible for subsidies and grants.
In an association, the associated members are important, because at the general member meetings (GMMs) they decide what should happen to the association. A board facilitates this and ensures that the association remains operational. In principle, an association is meant to represent a social interest. In the case of a study association, this usually means that students of a certain discipline have a place where they can go and meet fellow students. Incidentally, it is a good idea to think about what exactly you want to achieve when you set up an association. Educational institutions often have a requirement for study-related activities if you want to qualify for a subsidy, but apart from that you can fill in a lot yourself. Do you want to organise great lectures, for example, or regular get-togethers, or several study trips? And how visible do you want to be on social media? Do you want to actively look for sponsors? These are all topics on which you can make choices as founders and board members. It is advisable to make a plan before you start setting up the association.
1. Policy plan & budget
Setting up an association will cost between 500 and 750 euros, depending on the notary fees. It is therefore useful to consider in advance how you are going to finance the process. Stichting Toekenningen is an organisation affiliated with the UvA that also refunds formation costs, provided that you meet the criteria. The HvA itself also refunds establishment costs, see the conditions here. You should also write a policy plan (possibly including an annual agenda) and draw up a budget.
Next you need to find a notary. This can be found via-via, via the internet, or perhaps via your educational institution. If you are associated with the HvA, for example, they will arrange a notary for you. A notary will draw up statutes and a notarial deed, with which you can register with the Chamber of Commerce. Please note: both the UvA and the HvA have a requirement that the board of an association must consist of at least three members: a chair, secretary and treasurer. This must be stated in the statutes.
3. Register with the Chamber of Commerce
Next, the association can be registered at the Chamber of Commerce with the help of the articles of association. This officially makes you a legally authorised association!
4. Opening a bank account
The registration at the Chamber of Commerce allows you to open a business bank account. A bank account is necessary to keep track of income (e.g. membership fees) and expenses.
5. Recognition of the study association
Now the association can be recognised by the university or college to which the association and its study programme are linked. This often requires a minimum number of members. It is also often a requirement that members pay a membership fee. Ask your educational institution what the exact rules are.
The above sounds like a lot of hassle, but you are not alone! ASVA can help you with questions and/or problems. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.