Associate Membership
From: Douglas G. Larson (
Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2011 07:34:15 -0800 (PST)

>I am chair of the Membership Committee at Rocky Hill Cohousing.  We would
like to know how other communities handle Associate Members.  We are
particularly interested in individuals or families who 
>live outside the cohousing community but would like to participate in it's
life, and possibly decision making.  Do you charge a fee, do they come to
regular meetings, are they voted in by the group, 
>do you have an application process, or recruitment strategy, benefits for
both parties, etc.

>In addition to these questions, we would like to know how you deal with
resident Associate Members. We have several renters and also five households
who are Associate Members by the fact that they 
>live on the road coming up to our community.  These five households do pay
a monthly fee for the use of our Common House, and most of them and the
renters participate as much as our regular members.  >However we have no
clear-cut rule for their participation in our voting process.

We have 3 levels of Associate membership at Songaia. In addition we have
renters, who could be considered a 4th level.

Our levels are 
  Level 1 - Friend - Pays a donation
  Level 2 - Familiar - Pays $7.50 per month
  Level 3 - Proximal Resident - Pays $15 per month
  Renters - Pays $25 per month

The level 3 associates are only people who live on adjacent property.
Renters live on property. 
Each level has certain rights and responsibilities with level 1 having the
least and renters having the most. The rights and responsibilities of each
level are cumulative, with each higher level having all the rights of the
levels below it. The details of these rights is too complex to include here
but I will send you a copy offline if you wish to see it. 

Our current policy is about 3 years old now but we spent many hundreds of
hours composing, revising and getting consensus on our Associate membership
policy. I believe further revisions are in process now. 

I am not sure exactly how many associate members we have but I would
estimate it at about 15 or so. Three of those are renters who live on

Douglas G. Larson, 
Songaia Cohousing,
Bothell, Washington
The trouble with learning from experience is that you never graduate

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