In the world of elderberry entrepreneurship, finding the right business structure can be crucial to your success. One option that has gained attention is the Private Membership Association (PMA). But what exactly is a PMA, and is it the right fit for your elderberry business? In this post, we’ll delve into the concept of PMAs, their suitability for elderberry entrepreneurs, and the restrictions they entail.

What is a PMA?

A Private Membership Association (PMA) is an organization that operates in the private realm rather than the public domain. PMAs are typically formed to provide goods or services exclusively to their members by way of donations, rather than a sale. By doing so, they can operate with a certain level of autonomy from government regulations that apply to public businesses.

PMAs are not corporations of any sort. They are unincorporated entities that function based on private contracts among members. This unique structure offers several advantages, particularly in terms of privacy and autonomy. However, it’s important to understand the nuances of setting up and operating a PMA correctly.

Is Setting Up a PMA Right for Elderberry Entrepreneurs?

Deciding whether to set up a PMA for your elderberry business depends on various factors, including your business model, goals, and willingness to navigate the complexities of this structure.

Advantages of a PMA

  1. Autonomy and Privacy: As a PMA, you operate in the private realm. This means you have greater control over your business operations and less government interference. For elderberry entrepreneurs, this can be particularly advantageous if you are producing and selling natural remedies that might otherwise be heavily regulated.
  2. Direct Relationship with Members: Operating as a PMA allows you to have direct, private interactions with your members (customers). This can foster a closer relationship and a more loyal customer base.
  3. Flexibility in Operations: PMAs are not bound by the same rules and regulations as public entities. This can give you more flexibility in how you run your business, market your products, and interact with your customers.

Disadvantages and Restrictions

  1. Limited Market Reach: One of the biggest limitations of a PMA is that you can only provide products and services to your members. This can restrict your market reach and make it challenging to grow your customer base.
  2. Complex Setup and Maintenance: Setting up a PMA requires careful planning and understanding of legal nuances. Your documents must be written correctly (non-statutory vs. statutory, FBO vs. Ministerial) to ensure you remain in the private domain. Mistakes can lead to your PMA being classified as a public entity, subject to all relevant regulations.
  3. Marketing Difficulty. Explaining the PMA structure to the general public can be cumbersome. The learning curve can make PMA-aligned organizations slower to grow.
  4. Lifestyle Differences The PMA requires a change in lifestyle. The PMA does not conduct business, it serves individuals.
  5. Partnering and Selling Restrictions: As a PMA, you might face restrictions on who you can partner with and where you can sell your products. Retailers operate in the public realm; thus, this can limit your business opportunities and collaborations, unless they too are a PMA.
  6. Due Diligence Required: Successfully operating a PMA requires ongoing due diligence. You need to stay informed about legal developments, maintain proper documentation, and ensure compliance with the private membership structure. It’s imperative to understand private law, case law, the state and US constitution, fully.

Key Considerations

When considering a PMA for your elderberry business, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons carefully. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Understand the Structure: Make sure you fully understand the structure of a PMA and how it differs from a traditional business model. Consult with professionals who have experience with PMAs to ensure you set it up correctly. Lawyers operate in the public domain and do not understand the non-statuatory PMA and often times poorly write documents, brining you back into the public domain.
  • Evaluate Your Business Model: Consider whether your business model aligns with the PMA structure. If you plan to sell to a broad market or partner with other public entities, a PMA might not be the best fit.
  • Assess Your Willingness to Adapt: Operating as a PMA requires a different mindset and approach to business. Be prepared for the lifestyle and operational changes that come with it.


Setting up a PMA can offer significant benefits for elderberry entrepreneurs, particularly in terms of autonomy and privacy. However, it also comes with restrictions and complexities that need careful consideration. By thoroughly understanding the nuances of PMAs and evaluating your business model, you can make an informed decision about whether this structure is right for you.

Call to Action

Are you considering a PMA for your elderberry business? Take the time to fully understand its benefits and challenges. Consult with PMA experts and carefully evaluate whether this unique structure aligns with your business goals. If you decide to move forward, a PMA may offer a path to greater autonomy and privacy in your operations; however, it’s not without its drawbacks.


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