Re: how to incorporate out-of-town members during development phase
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Thu, 7 Jun 2012 09:17:52 -0700 (PDT)
On 6 Jun 2012, at 6:33 PM, Pat Bryan wrote:

> Oakleigh Meadow Cohousing in Eugene is just getting off the ground. We have
> some folks from out-of-town who would like to become associate members. How
> do/did other forming communities include out-of-town members in community
> meetings, committee work and so on?

We had almost 10% out of town members. Participating in meetings in 1999 was 
impossible, and I suggest that it is still very impractical unless you have a 
member with special video access.

We used (and still use) yahoogroups lists for all teams and communicated via 
email as well as in meetings. If an issue came up at a meeting that someone 
thought a person at a distance needed to be consulted on, they called us. I was 
in Florida and the community in DC. Others were in SC, NY, etc. Decisions were 
usually discussed for several meetings and online so the bother of 
teleconferencing, skyping, etc., isn't usually worth the effort. Perhaps on 
some crucial time-limited decision.

Email lists, however, are the most inclusive means of communication. When you 
stop using them, or never start, you are excluding someone in all your 
communications. Face-to-face excludes anyone not standing next to you and has 
not been notified that you are talking face-to-face. If you write down whatever 
it is you need to communicate and everyone has access, that's your most 
inclusive option. 

By the way there are many tasks that out of town members can perform — 
research, website maintenance, flyer design, contacting prospects, etc. — so 
they can be recruited and  included to your benefit and theirs.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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