Re: Funding and Organizational Model for Coho US
From: John Beutler (jabeutlercomcast.net)
Date: Thu, 11 Jun 2015 07:10:48 -0700 (PDT)
It would be inappropriate to use 501c3 for coho.

Cheers

JAB

Sent from my tricorder

> On Jun 9, 2015, at 12:16 PM, Ken Winter <ken [at] sunward.org> wrote:
> 
> 
> 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
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> _________________________________________________________________
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>>>> 
>>>> 
>>> 
>>> _________________________________________________________________
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>>> http://www.cohousing.org/cohousing-L/
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>> 
>> 
>> --
>> Alice Alexander
>> Executive Director
>> www.cohousing.org <http://www.cohous.org>
>> [image: The Cohousing Association]
>> _________________________________________________________________
>> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:
>> http://www.cohousing.org/cohousing-L/
>> 
>> 
>> 
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