Chapter 03 - Getting Off to a Good Start

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An excellent overview of the process of creating community, including steps for getting organized.

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Creating a Life Together:

Creating a Life Together Chapter Three

Getting Off to a Good Start:

Getting Off to a Good Start 1. Don’t Buy Yet; or If You Already Own 2. Steps to Growing Community 3. Organizing Your Group 4. Getting Real about Finances 5. New Members

1. Don’t Buy Yet; If You Already Own:

1. Don’t Buy Yet; If You Already Own Don’t buy land early in the process unless: Have funds, including 1 year mortgage payments Set up appropriate legal entity first Have documents that spell out future member’s ownership and decision-making rights Vision documents final, new people understand

If You Already Own:

If You Already Own Imbalance of power between owners and newcomers Owners have financial risk, real control over the property, real responsibility for it Non-owners *believe* it is a community, have less responsibility, become dependent There are ways to make this work

2. Steps to Growing Community:

2. Steps to Growing Community Ongoing actions throughout the process: Develop good communication skills Learn to deal well with conflict Create community agreements & documents Choose new people to join you

Steps to Growing (continued):

Steps to Growing (continued) Organize your group Research communities Choose decision-making processes Create vision documents Learn your financing options Choose a general location, based on criteria

Steps to Growing (continued):

Steps to Growing (continued) Research real estate market & zoning issues Choose your legal entity and set it up Conduct your property search Finance and buy your property Develop or renovate your property as needed Organize your internal community finances

3. Organizing Your Group:

3. Organizing Your Group How often to meet, and where Choose decision process, & meeting processes Decide on some general community principles Work out a preliminary timeline Create a decision log Agree on criteria for group membership

Organizing Your Group (continued):

Organizing Your Group (continued) Identify your vision & create vision documents Begin writing community policies/agreements Help each other stay accountable Keep accurate financial records Establish guidelines for group process Identify goals, record & celebrate progress

4. Getting Real About Finances:

4. Getting Real About Finances Estimate: $3000 per acre = $10,000 per acre How much can we contribute? An anonymous exercise: A. Down payment B. Monthly payments / assessments C. Possible private loans

Finances (continued):

Finances (continued) When someone can’t afford it They cannot be included, or They live in community housing (ashram), or Loan them part of the down payment, or They rent a home, or a room, or split a house They buy in later

Finances (continued):

Finances (continued) Collecting funds for ongoing expenses Forming a legal entity Website or online fees Land search processes Fees for holding property, and researching it Paying or reimbursing members

Finances (continued):

Finances (continued) Requiring some money shows who is serious Do everything possible to keep confidential Raising money from supporters Prepare to present plans to others Family, friends, supporters, etc Fundraising events

5. New Members:

5. New Members Attracting and integrating them Target compatible people Brochures, flyers, presentations Community website When do we invite to meetings When do they get voting rights

New Members (continued):

New Members (continued) Creating community glue A sense of community, group well-being Shared physical activity Group activities Designed partnership alliances

New Members (continued):

New Members (continued) Two kinds of people attracted Pioneers start, do research, take risks, do work Settlers wait and see if pioneers can pull it off Settlers need pioneers to blaze the trail Pioneers need settlers to contribute at startup Which one am I, how many needed of each

New Members (continued):

New Members (continued) The ebb and flow of members People come or leave at certain milestones When community vision is identified When criteria are established for property; membership; finances When particular property is chosen

Creating a Life Together:

Creating a Life Together Discussion

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