Keeping prospective members
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Fri, 17 Nov 2006 12:37:48 -0800 (PST)
One of the difficulties involved in cohousing development is sometimes
people show up a few times, then just as you think you can count on them,
they disappear. It is interesting to me that few developing groups have gone
to the trouble of tracking these folks down to see what made them unselect
themselves.  Over the years I have had opportunities to talk with a random
assortment of folks like this and it seemed to me that most of  what
selected them out was a perspective more than an actual reality. For
instance, one family I met had left a developing group because they felt
their child was not welcome. Digging into this further, apparently the child
complained about treatment from the babysitter at a  meeting!  This sort of
thing seems trivial in hindsight.  Understanding your selection factors,
both the obvious, and the hidden, will help a forming group keep more of its
potential members.  Obviously cost is big selection factor, but social
connections, or lack of them, can often be another.

One thing I heard about once, and I can no longer recall where, was a
forming group who held community dinners twice a month, and all prospects
were invited to come to a dinner BEFORE they got to come to a meeting. In
this way, the future members got a chance to experience and feel first hand
the sort of community connections that the brochure described. As I recall
dinners were entirely for meeting and learning about each other, not
business, and it was fabulously successful as a recruiting tool.  

Rob Sandelin
Sharingwood Community
Naturalist, Writer
The Environmental Science School
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