I currently host an online group that meets once a month for dinner. We recently began hosting small private events that required a minimal cover charge at the door to cover the rental fee of the venue. This group has grown over the past few months and we are discussing the possibility of hosting much larger parties. This would mean that I would need to be handling larger quantities of money as well do to setup costs and other expenses involved for safety and other considerations.
Every penny that has been paid at the door has gone directly back into the group. I have no intention or desire to make anything off of this because it is all in fun. I hate the idea of starting a business to cover my butt with this, because this is not a business, but more of a group of people getting together for a private party.
First off, IANAL - so seek out professional advice from a lawyer regarding incorporation and risk aversion.
Perhaps looking at how meetup handles this would provide some ideas.
IF you have regular meetings and do a quarterly budget disclosure, one would think that participants would be okay with that level of detail. I wouldn't think the funds would be so great that it would require incorporation - or even require the services of an accountant.