Re: Funding and Organizational Model for Coho US
From: Ken Winter (kensunward.org)
Date: Tue, 9 Jun 2015 09:17:30 -0700 (PDT)
I have a slightly-but-hopefully-not-too-far-off-topic question:

Do any cohousing *communities *have 501(c)(3) status?

Have any tried to get that status and failed?

~ Ken, from Sunward Coho, Ann Arbor, MI

On Mon, Jun 8, 2015 at 12:16 PM, Alice Alexander <alicecohous [at] gmail.com>
wrote:

>
> Many thanks to the good comments on a revenue model for sustaining Coho/US.
> To confirm:
>
> Coho/US is not a membership organization; we are a 501(3) nonprofit
> organization. We do not require membership dues from individuals or
> cohousing communities, and our services as a connector and clearinghouse to
> grow and support cohousing are available to everyone, not just "members."
>
> Coho/US relies on financial support from individuals and communities both.
> Individuals gifts can be claimed as a charitable donations; cohousing
> communities may prefer a reference to membership dues or support, and this
> is fine. "Membership" can be a generic term!
>
> In 2014, I sent out two requests to all our subscribers (9,300) to
> encourage individual charitable donations; this yielded gifts from
> individuals of $4,061. We have invested time and will continue to invest
> time in growing this support from individuals.
>
> Also in 2014, we encouraged all cohousing communities to support Coho/US,
> and we received more gifts from cohousing communities than ever before -
> over $13,000. Just last month, I sent a "Community Connection" newsletter
> to encourage planning for annual support to Coho/US - sent to those who are
> tagged as reps for their cohousing communities. I am happy to share this
> with others.
>
> However, with an operational budget in 2015 of $62,444, Coho/US continues
> to be challenged in raising sufficient funds from individuals and
> communities to be sustainable.
>
> A strict membership structure as a business model for associations (one
> that requires dues, and provide services to a select audience) generally
> only works well for trade associations representing for profit businesses
> (think American Medical Association).
>
> Cohousing communities are not profit centers, and support is based on a
> decision to recognize that Coho/US (1) provides credibility and relevancy
> for cohousing as a housing and living option; (2) attracts the public to
> cohousing, thus helping provide communities with robust waiting lists; and
> (3) serves as a clearinghouse and connector for cohousing resources.
>
> Other sources of revenue include advertising (which at $50 per month for a
> classified ad is a great deal! we keep this cost affordable as a service to
> the cohousing world), and support from our cohousing professionals
> <http://www.cohousing.org/professionals>.
>
> I appreciate the ideas for foundation grant support; as a career nonprofit
> fundraiser, our status is a huge challenge for traditional funding (we
> serve cohousers who for the most part are not foundation target
> populations). Project-oriented work as Sharon Villines has suggested is
> likely our only avenue, but that requires staffing, and resource
> investment; consideration would have to be very thoughtful to balance our
> priorities. Please share ideas! But understand that project grant funding
> does not support operational funds generally - so we are back to the
> challenge of sustainability.
>
> A challenge that inspires me actually, and one reason I am committed to
> this position, knowing the importance of stabilizing and strengthening our
> basic organization.
> Alice Alexander, Coho/US Executive Director
>
>
>
> On Fri, Jun 5, 2015 at 9:14 AM, Kathryn McCamant <
> kmccamant [at] cohousing-solutions.com> wrote:
>
> >
> > I don't know why it needs to be one or the other...community donations
> and
> > individual, and I expect it actually is.. When we get notice of our
> annual
> > "community membership" payment (really really need an annual invoice or
> > reminder of some sort), I try to use the opportunity to put it on a
> > community meeting agenda to talk about the association so that more
> people
> > know about it and understand what it does. We have fund for the
> assocation
> > in our HOA budget.
> >
> > But, that does not mean that the association should not try to cultivate
> > individual donors also.
> >
> > I think there are a lot of people living in cohousing who will never
> > attend a conference but support the association and are glad there is a
> > national network and website... especially for resales.
> >
> > Katie
> > --
> > Kathryn McCamant, President
> >
> > Nevada City Cohousing
> > And
> > CoHousing Solutions
> > 241B Commercial Street
> > Nevada City, CA 95959
> > T.530.478.1970  C.916.798.4755
> > www.cohousing-solutions.com
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > On 6/5/15, 5:08 AM, "Fred-List manager" <fholson [at] cohousing.org> wrote:
> >
> > >
> > >Eris Weaver <eris [at] erisweaver.info>
> > >is the author of the message below.  It was posted by
> > >Fred, the Cohousing-L list manager <fholson [at] cohousing.org>
> > >due to a format problem.
> > >--------------------  FORWARDED MESSAGE FOLLOWS --------------------
> > >Sharon Villines wrote:
> > >
> > >>To my knowledge the funding and organizational model for Coho US is a
> > >>community membership model. I think it is because it based on a
> > >>fundamentally flawed assumption ? that cohousing communities have a
> > >>commitment to the cohousing movement.
> > >>
> > >>Most members of my community have no knowledge of the national
> cohousing
> > >>organization or any interest in a movement. It isn't a cause. I was
> > >>shocked
> > >>when I joined this group that people were not expected to read at least
> > >>one
> > >>of the books on cohousing. Some if not many had no knowledge of other
> > >>cohousing communities. They saw the flyer on a bulletin board
> somewhere,
> > >>thought it sounded like something interesting, and it matched their
> > >>political and social ideals. They moved in because they wanted to live
> > >>here,
> > >>not to join a movement. They have their own movements.
> > >>
> > >>And we have the #1 cohousing advocate and activist Ann Zabaldo living
> in
> > >>our
> > >>midst. We are a member of the national organization primarily because
> she
> > >>advocates it. And once a budget item is in the budget, it tends to
> stay.
> > >>
> > >>So a membership organization supported by communities is probably not
> the
> > >>model that will ever work. More communities will probably not provide
> the
> > >>level of support the movement needs.
> > >
> > >Totally agree. Other than one conference held locally while we were in
> > >development - which just about all our members attended - only one other
> > >person in my community besides me has attended a Coho/US conference
> since
> > >we
> > >moved in twelve years ago. My neighbors are VERY active in all sorts of
> > >political, social, and spiritual movements...but NOT the cohousing
> > movement.
> > >Cohousing is the place they come home to (and often hold their committee
> > >meetings and fundraisers).
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >------------------------------
> > >
> > >Eris Weaver, Founding member, FrogSong (Cotati, CA)
> > >
> > >Graphic Facilitator & Group Process Consultant
> > >
> > > <mailto:eris [at] erisweaver.info> eris [at] erisweaver.info ? 
> > > 707-338-8589 ?
> > ><http://www.erisweaver.info/> http://www.erisweaver.info
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >"On days when you have no ideas at all, the best thing you can do is
> start
> > >doodling." Charles M. Schulz
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > <http://www.linkedin.com/in/erisweaver/> social-linkedin-box-blue-icon
> > ><
> >
> https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eris-Weaver-Facilitator-Group-Process-Cons
> > >ul
> > >tant/59352022195> social-facebook-box-blue-icon
> > ><https://twitter.com/erisweaver> twitter-icon
> > ><http://erisweaver.info/blog/>
> > >wordpress
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >fa cil i t?t: to make easier
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >_________________________________________________________________
> > >Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:
> > >http://www.cohousing.org/cohousing-L/
> > >
> > >
> >
> > _________________________________________________________________
> > Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:
> > http://www.cohousing.org/cohousing-L/
> >
> >
> >
>
>
> --
> Alice Alexander
> Executive Director
> www.cohousing.org <http://www.cohous.org>
> [image: The Cohousing Association]
> _________________________________________________________________
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> http://www.cohousing.org/cohousing-L/
>
>
>

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