Re: Looking for advice about enhancing our Friends
From: Jonnie Pekelny (
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2008 16:03:03 -0800 (PST)
Sharon, thanks for the response, but perhaps I was unclear. I am not  asking 
about people who are currently on track to move in with us. We  have Equity 
Members, who've put in big money and  Associates, who  pay an annual $250. Both 
Associates and Equity Members are expected to  participate on teams, help get 
us to move-in, etc, but Equity Members  have a unit reserved for them and may 
block consensus. Associates are  still making the decision about whether to pay 
into a unit, or are  getting their finances together. It's expected that they 
will either  become Equity Members or withdraw at some point. But I am NOT 
asking  about either of these groups.
  The question I am asking is about people who want to support us in some  way, 
be involved with us in some way, but are not on track to move in  with us. We 
and they both know this. They're not stringing us along.  Some of these people 
are previous Members/Associates who've stepped out  but  have connections in 
the cmmunity they want to maintain, and  some have never been Members or 
Associates, but think we're cool and  cohousing is cool and would like to 
promote us and hang out with  us.  We're not relying on these people to find us 
a site and get  it built, and we don't want to charge them money, because they 
are not  getting most of the benefits of membership. But we do want to help 
them  make community with us if they want. And we want to build a more robust  
structure to help that happen. How to do that is what I'm asking here.
  It makes sense to me that we would want to be clear about who we can  rely on 
to get the work done, and who plans to live with us and that we  would make 
sure these people can get the work done, but it makes NO  sense to me to cut 
others out of the community and decide not to make  community with them. To me 
that goes contrary to the whole notion of  neighorhood cohousing promotes. 
Community doesn't stop outside the  meeting room's door, or the commonhouse 
door. I don't see how it hurts  to have a network of people who come to social 
events and keep abreast  of things in the community.
  Message: 5
  Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2008 09:40:24 -0500
  From: Sharon Villines 
  Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Looking for advice about enhancing our Friends
  To: jonniep [at], Cohousing-L 
  Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII; format=flowed; delsp=yes
  On Jan 21, 2008, at 6:41 PM, Jonnie Pekelny wrote:
  > I'd love to hear stories of Friends networks that work. How do you  
  > get Friends involved in your community? How much access to community  
  > forums/mailing lists, whatever, do you give them, and how do you  
  > keep those lists active? This and/or whatever other insights you can  
  > give us would be great.
  I think at some point you have to get the everyone to fish or cut  
  bait. One of the best ways to do this is to have them pay a $500 (some  
  say $1,000) fee to support marketing, etc., that is non-refundable.  
  This establishes their place on the list for choosing a  unit when you  
  get built and indicates some level of seriousness.
  Beyond this you can require attendance at meetings and contribution to  
  a work group. Work groups, at this point, include planning pot lucks  
  and other social events; researching architects, developers, and  
  design possibilities; and marketing.
  At some point people have to get serious. Cohousing is dependent on  
  participation. If people are not willing or able to participate, you  
  can't support them in a community. You need to know this up front. And  
  you need to send the message up front.
  Normally, you will only get one person from a household to contribute  
  time. The other will be taking care of children, tending to household  
  chores, or not interested in cohousing. In our community, this changed  
  once we got moved in. Sometimes the other party become much more  
  involved and the first one withdrew, and sometimes both become more  
  It's never too early to start forming the community in the ways it  
  will need to function after you move in. If you don't, you probably  
  won't get built. My 15 cents.
  Sharon Villines
  Takoma Village Cohousing,Washington DC

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