Job opportunities at
From: Craig Ragland (
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2006 17:28:56 -0700 (PDT)
Request for Proposal

The Cohousing Association of the United States (Coho/US) helps grow the
cohousing movement by providing online content and services to support
people seeking cohousing communities, existing and forming communities, and
professionals who serve these constituencies. Our current online services
include a community database, an online magazine, event promotion and
support, online advertising, fund-raising appeals, and organizational
communications. While we intend to add new offerings in the future, we
currently are focusing on improving existing services, including the <> website, our
outbound emails and magazine, and Cohousing listserv.

To that end, Coho/US requests your proposal to help staff our online
services. We invite proposals from individuals, businesses, creative teams
or others, especially people who are currently involved in and knowledgeable
about cohousing and community. We need qualified people to serve as the <> (1) Editor and (2) Online Manager. You
can help shape these roles as you collaborate with other part-time staff,
our ASP vendor, database partners, volunteers, and the working Board of

We need your new energy ASAP. We want to finish defining the roles and
responsibilities for the new editor and online manager positions during the
summer, mapping your talents and capabilities to our needs, and then quickly
get up to full operational speed. As a new member of the Coho/US online
team, you would work with Neil Planchon, our paid advertising manager, and a
group of dedicated volunteers to define responsibilities and get the job
done. Our current editors, Evangeline Welch and Jo Anne Smith, who will be
moving on to other endeavors in late August, will support the new online
team during the transition.

The specific leadership structure, such as how we are organized, will depend
on the talents and experience of the people we attract. We plan to designate
one staff member to be accountable to the board. This person needs to have
strong people management skills in addition to technical and/or content

As a small non-profit with a national mission, our resources are limited. We
are creative, however, and are determined to work with the right individuals
to support our mutual success. Ideally you are an active member of an
existing or forming cohousing community, or are highly familiar with
cohousing and sustainable living. You want to experience a strong sense of
ownership of this work, applying your entrepreneurial energy and interests
in actively creating value for the organization. The potential exists for
you to grow this job into a very rewarding opportunity for both yourself and

To date, we have used a combination of hourly pay, sales commissions and
volunteer time for this work. We are open to creative approaches that
benefit the organization and contributors. For example, Coho/US conducts
conferences, bus tours, workshops and other events, all of which have value
to people involved in cohousing. In some cases, our income is dependent on
how successful we are at attracting participants. A leadership position on
this team will open new, potentially compensated opportunities. For example,
you also may be paid for roles in workshops, conferences, or other speaking
or writing engagements. We want to structure an arrangement that works well
for both of us. Our intention is to create a true win-win that leverages our
assets and social capital without too much strain on the limited Coho/US
fiscal budget.

The amount of time you spend on this work will depend on your availability
and the financial commitments of Coho/US. It does require a weekly
commitment of approximately 6-10 hours, but that workload might increase
depending on the current projects. The amount that you actually work will
depend on your ability to recruit volunteer labor and our ability to obtain
supplemental financial support for special online projects. The positions
can evolve and expand over time.

*Position 1: Editor*

Our current <> editorial team is ready to
move onto new endeavors. We require a strong writer/web editor/content
manager who can lead our editorial efforts into the future. The ideal
candidate(s) would receive true professional value from their association
with Coho/US that goes beyond the direct compensation we can provide.
Perhaps we can engage an experienced, community-oriented author, an active
Cohousing-L contributor, an online communicator, or someone else who wants
to develop an online practice that extends his or her existing print
contributions. Depending on your time availability and expertise, you may
wish to apply as an individual or propose a team that would include yourself
and editorial or graphic assistants that you would supervise.

The specific online skills that this position requires will depend, in part,
on your ability and willingness to learn, and the ability and willingness of
the Online Manager (and volunteers) to teach - though we would prefer not to
pay for time spent learning basic skills.

*Editor responsibilities*
Primary owner of website content
• Provides editorial vision
• Manages editorial calendar
• Authors and solicits articles
• Drives vision of enriching site content
• Collaborates with online team on overall site functionality

Day-to-day hands on
• Exercises editorial policy, deciding on and maintaining various listing
sections of the site, including events, news, resources
• Works with advertising and online managers to keep the website current and
fully functional
• Edits inbound copy and creates/manages new and existing web pages
• Manages website's style manual
• Implements design, including layouts and photos for each issue of our
online magazine

Represents Coho/US from content perspective
• Attends board meetings
• Advises board on strategic broad communications
• Helps coordinate content for meetings and workshops
• Works with aligned publications and websites, such as a quarterly column
in Communities magazine
• Contributes to Cohousing-L
• Speaks in public on behalf of organization

Drives growth of online publishing around cohousing

Nurtures relationships with the "voices" of cohousing, including
• Book authors and other well-known figures
• Active Cohousing-L contributors
• Cohousing professionals

*Position 2: Online Manager*

Currently, in addition to work as the Advertising Manager, a paid staff
person fills parts of this role on an interim basis. Other members of the
Coho/US Board and paid staff also have provided ongoing support in this
realm. Since the recent launch of the new website, based on
the LocalVoice <> platform, our
focus has been on stabilizing the platform and making core parts of the
website functional. We are very interested in moving into new areas of
development, but see that as secondary to achieving high functionality with
our current features. Areas of potential future interest include Web
publishing, user collaboration via wikis or other collaborative publishing
technologies, greater automation for events, news items and other forms of
user posts, and greater integration of the Cohousing-L listserv with the
website content.

*Online manager responsibilities*
Keeps website operational both directly and by working with other
• Manages short-term improvements/fixes by Local Voice
• Works with other technology partners, e.g. the ICDC Communities Directory
(a joint venture of the FIC & Coho/US), ListServ Management and other
non-transferable work fulfilled by volunteer Fred Olson, e.g. DNS management

Hands-on management of the website
• Operates all associated technologies, including that provided by Local
Voice and ICDC (a collaboration of the Coho/US and the Fellowship for
Intentional Community)
• Runs database - both through use of Local Voice tools and other local
database tools as required

Manage the ongoing development, implementation, testing and use of the
database, email marketing, fundraising and event management tools
• Processes/accepts/rejects requests to be included on the community list as
"cohousing" and determine a consistent basis for such decisions

This tech-savvy staff member will be capable of assuring us that the
website's under-the-hood details and paint job are strong and capable. They
will understand W3C standards compliance, accessibility issues, code
portability and security, search engine optimization, separation of content
from style/layout, etc.

Supports hands-on work by all other Coho/US staff, compensated and

*REQUIRED SKILLS - For both positions*

*Communication and organization*: These are communication-intensive roles.
The amount of long-distance collaboration requires you to be an effective
email and telephone communicator, and able to work well with others despite
limited face-to-face connection. We require people who will practice open
communication and can work through challenges, calling themselves forth to
persevere and succeed together. Each position actually consists of multiple
roles and requires people who can independently manage their time well,
juggling multiple tasks of different types.

*Organizational agility and leadership*: You will build agendas for the
Online Team's bi-weekly meetings and consult with the board president on
staffing, organizational and vendor-related issues. You'll also work with
the board's online liaison and help represent the interests of Coho/US to
other collaborators, including Fred Olson, the Cohousing-L manager, members
of other community networks, etc. We share information resources, data and
ideas to encourage mastery of the required tasks and to foster the small
community that gets the job done.

*Project management*: You will undertake a variety of website projects that
focus on both content and functionality. This will require you to manage
day-to-day relationships with various parties, including the Coho/US ASP and
to coordinate web-related efforts with others within Coho/US, including both
paid staff and volunteer board members.

*Hands-on data experience*: You also will be responsible for a significant
amount of content and data - articles, photographs, web graphics,
information on cohousing communities, individuals, organizations,
contributions, advertising, website usage, etc. Your ability to help us grow
this data's value is critical. You must be able to ascribe relative
importance to different types of data, discerning when to attend to detail
and when to accept ambiguity and inaccuracy. You also must be able to help
us use the data effectively for a wide variety of purposes.

*The opportunity*
By joining this team, you will be one of the few leaders of an online team
that is actively growing the cohousing movement and industry.

This gives you:
• broad exposure within the rapidly expanding industries associated with
• influence over the direction of the movement and industry
• the chance to grow your contribution to the communities movement
• connection to cohousing leaders, both professionals and passionates
• paid compensation with great potential for growth depending on our

*Next steps*
Please submit an online proposal to Craig Ragland, Coho/US Board Member -
email a link to
craig [at]<>.
You are encouraged to use any online format that demonstrates your
capabilities, passions and potential. Craig will reply within two business
days - if you do not hear back, please feel free to inquire again. Our
intent is to fill these positions as soon as possible, so we can begin the
transition this summer. If you plan to attend the National Cohousing
Conference scheduled for July 21-23 in Chapel Hill, NC, you will have the
opportunity to meet with our hiring team and dialog about these
opportunities in depth.

Truly strong proposals will include:
• Links to your past/current work, indicating your contributions - for
example, though Craig spent several years working on, just a link to says nothing about the specifics of his contributions
• Your employment history and any other specific roles that relate to this
• Your cohousing or other community history - What community do you live in
today? If none, then what community are you helping to form now? If none,
then what is it about involvement in cohousing that matters to you?
• Feedback on the existing website and other Coho/US online
work. What do you see as its strengths and weaknesses? What is your vision
for Coho/US and how it relates to the hundreds of cohousing websites? And
what about other cohousing-related websites?
• Your suggestions for compensation for your contributions, including both
paid and non-monetary values

Please contact Craig Ragland at
craig [at]<>with
any questions. If you are unsure about your suitability for either
position, feel free to connect with Craig before investing significant time
on your proposal.

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