Well before you formally incorporate and make your application for federal tax-exempt status, there will be a small group of people who form the core of the organization. That group may evolve into your initial board of directors, but even as an informal group of friends and associates, they represent the nucleus of an organization. One step from that core group will be people who attended the initial organizational meeting or others the core group knows personally.
Working outward from that group, there are people who are interested in the group but are not sure what they want to do. The broader community will follow that. As you begin to add your own rings to this group, you will find that people fall into two clear categories.People Interested in the Organization
Some people are drawn to groups as a social outlet, and their value cannot be underestimated. They often have a knack for working through issues involving process and never-ending bureaucracy, which other people avoid. When you have an issue with the city over parking or noise, these are the people you will be glad you have on your side.People Interested in the Mission
You will also draw some people who are sincerely interested in your mission but who have no interest in the organizational side of things. These people can share their passion for the work your organization does and inspire others to donate money or time.