Re: How can we attract diverse associate members?
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sat, 27 Mar 2021 09:46:27 -0700 (PDT)
> On Mar 25, 2021, at 9:56 PM, Brenda Asis <brendaasis1 [at]> wrote:

> Can you help us with ideas about how to promote *associate membership?* We
> would like to attract individuals who could not afford to buy a home in our
> community and we would also like to increase the presence of families with
> children.

With children, build playgrounds and and a kids room inside.

And idea from a book I just read but I can’t remember which one it was: Have 
friends who fill your definition of “diverse” introduce you to groups of 
“their” people to whom you can give an introductory talk to — explain 
cohousing, that you have an associate member membership, and are happy to help 
other groups begin a new cohousing community.

> Also, how do you choose associate members?  Would you reserve spaces for
> associate members who meet your vision and also have a waitlist if you have
> too many from other demographics?

We do have associate members but they are people who live here — usually 

Our lawyer asked an interesting question when we had just moved in and wanted 
to have associate members just to share our facilities and resources. She said, 
“Then what kind of organization would you be? You wouldn’t be a condominium but 
condos are about residents and owners. You aren’t licensed to have public 
facilities (like the workshop or hot tub).”

She suggested that we put that on hold because we had so many things to sort 
out already. We had just moved in the place still looked vaguely unfinished. 
When I remember that meeting, I remember plaster dust everywhere in the CH, on 
furniture and in piles on the floor. 2x4s leaning against walls. Broken wall 
board. I’m sure it didn’t look like that but it did feel like it.

Learning to make decisions together is work that needs attention. Bringing in 
people who have a different relationship to the group is another level of 
difficulty. Plus issues of liability and insurance. At some point the associate 
members may not be covered as “guests” on your insurance.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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