7 Resources for Starting a Community

Forming a community is HARD. I’ve tried (& failed) several times. Forming a community is like starting a business & marrying 30 people at the same time. The odds are really stacked against you. But there are successful communities out there. What did they do right? What resources are available to help you avoid common mistakes? 

 

Pictured above: Acorn Community, to date one of my favorite Intentional Communities.

BEST BOOK

I HIGHLY recommend reading this book. The author spent decades visiting successful and failed communities to determine what commonalities were found among them. She also outlines a slew of tools & resources.

BE VISIBLE

Add your community (for free!) to SearchTinyHouseVillages.com. People will contact you to be waitlisted or ask how they can contribute! 

TALK TO SIMILAR COMMUNITIES

Decide which type of community you want to create. Where on the spectrum do you fall between developing a community for profit vs developing a community that maximizes resident happiness. Learn more here

Then find existing communities on SearchTinyHouseVillages.com that match your goals and visit them.  Ask if they are willing to share their policies so that you don’t have to start from scratch.

LEARN & NETWORK

Attend the annual Communities Conference near Charlottesville, VA on Labor Day weekend. It is an absolute goldmine of information & networking.

Not only are you able to attend several workshops geared to starting a community, but they also have a “Meet the Communities” portion. They will have representatives come up for about 30-50 different communities. Each rep gives a 60 second elevator pitch about their community. You then have a few hours to go talk to each rep from the communities that piqued your interest. This is a fantastic way to decide which existing communities are the closest match to what you want to create, bend their ears and setup a time to visit them in person, if desired.

It is only about $100 for the weekend, and it covers food. (They also have sponsorships for people that can’t afford the workshop.)

UNIONIZE

The Federation of Egalitarian Communities (FEC) is a network of intentional communities. Member communities receive medical insurance, mentoring, loans & labor exchange between existing communities.

Consider joining the FEC or creating your own network!

TINY HOUSE FESTIVALS

Go to a tiny house festival and listen to the speakers! There are usually multiple festivals happening each month. 

Can make it to a festival? Watch this video of my speech during a “virtual” festival during covid. 

SET STRONG POLICIES

When deciding on the decision-making model, consider your needs. There are several options available, such as Majority Vote, HOA, Single Leader, etc. However, I’ve seen more success and higher levels of  member satisfaction in communities that used Formal Concensus.

When I first learned about consensus, I thought it was about getting everyone to agree on the same thing, which is damn near impossible. It is actually about coming up with a solution that meets everyone’s needs. It empowers people, makes them more likely to abide by the rules & makes meetings far more efficient. 

Your community will most likely suffer, or even fail without establishing strong conflict resolution, decision making & membership policies.

Check out this list of policies from established intentional communities.

FUTURE TOOLS

Let’s face it. This website is in desperate need of a facelift. I built it in spare time, 5 minutes here, 40 minutes there and the patchwork and lack of funcitonality shows. It is a labor of love, but with a face that only a mother could love.

I do have a plan in the works to completely overhaul the site. But I’d sure love some volunteers. Have some free time? Check out the volunteer positions!

Note: Purchasing the recommended book through the link on this blog helps financially this website.

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