Re: Exploratory Membership Cohousing-L Digest, Vol 211,
From: Fred-List manager (
Date: Thu, 26 Aug 2021 06:48:51 -0700 (PDT)
Mac Thomson <macthomson [at]>
is the author of the message below.  It was posted by
Fred, the Cohousing-L list manager <fholson [at]>
after deleting quoted digest.

--------------------  FORWARDED MESSAGE FOLLOWS --------------------
One of our important membership strategies has been to create
membership threshold goals tied to early bird credits. In looking at
the development process, there are certain key phases during which big
money is spent. Before spending that money, it’s important to have
enough committed members. However the earlier someone commits, the
more risk they face. As the development moves along, there’s more
certainty about the details of the development and less risk that it
will fail. Therefore it’s important to both incentivize early
committers and reward them for their increased risk.

For example for our 14 home Phase 2 addition, we’ve identified the
following key development phases (when big money gets spent), our
membership goal for that phase, and the early bird credit someone
earns by committing.

Phase: Preliminary Plat Application Work Begins
Membership Goal: 8 households
Early Bird Credit: $7000

Phase: Home Design Work Begins
Membership Goal: 10 households
Early Bird Credit: $5000

Phase: Break Ground
Membership Goal: 12 households
Early Bird Credit: $3000

Anyone who commits after we break ground wouldn’t receive any early
bird credit.

Note that the early bird credits decrease as the project progresses
and risk decreases. The credits are awarded at the time the home is
purchased as a discount on the home price.

And also note that another key incentive is that the order that
members commit (pay their non-refundable deposit) is the order they
get to choose their lot. Lots are variably priced based on size of
lot, aesthetics, etc.

It’s all a bit complicated, but seems to create the appropriate
incentives and rewards. We used this same basic method 20+ years for
Phase 1 very successfully and are repeating it for Phase 2, which is
currently being developed.

Mac Thomson

Heartwood Cohousing
Phase 2 Project Manager
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