Re: Play-or-Pay participation programs
From: Mary Swenson (
Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2018 10:00:12 -0700 (PDT)
We at Bellingham Wa Cohousing are in the second year of a new program called 
Workshare.    The play part:  each resident (owner or renter) files a yearly 
plan (filled out on line) outlining what they plan to contribute and at the end 
of the year each files a report looking back at their year and outlining how 
the plan worked out and then filing a plan for the future year.  There’s a 
standard of “good faith” meaning that their intention in both cases is to 
proceed in good faith.  The covered work is very broad, ranging from standard 
maintenance matters to “caring” for each other and the range of hours required 
is 5-15 per month.  We have a nifty on line form to be filled out that makes it 
pretty easy.  The pay part:  if the plan and/or report are not filed, the 
resident pays $50 a month instead.  The intention is to have it be largely 
self-regulating; a few years back we briefly tried a “turning in hours” plan, 
and it fell apart immediately in part because no one was prepared to take on 
the task of collecting the hours and enforcing failure to participate so we 
knew we had to take a new approach.  It took us almost a year of intensive 
discussion and processing to reach consensus on the workshare plan.

So far it seems to be working reasonably well.  We are amending our governing 
documents filed in the courthouse to specifically allow for in kind 
contributions, etc. so that the money and other parts have firm legal 
underpinnings.  Time will tell whether it works in the long run.
Mary Swenson

> On Oct 25, 2018, at 8:18 AM, Lyle Scheer <wonko [at]> wrote:
> In a way it's a bit of a psychological twist, but I always have
> preferred the concept of charging the monthly dues that would cover the
> work, but providing people who come to the work parties a discount to
> their dues (or pay them for their work from the fund).  That way,
> instead of a bunch of folk who might resent having to pay an "extra" fee
> or "must" attend work days, they get something for attending.
> Humans are odd creatures, but sometimes framing things differently gets
> different results.
> - Lyle
> On 10/25/18 7:27 AM, Beverly Jones Redekop wrote:
>> Please share! I'm at the point of giving up and suggesting that we just
>> raise our monthly fees by a lot. I live the people who show up for work
>> parties or do other regular jobs...but it's a tiny group.
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