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?
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.
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 your 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 $100 for the weekend, and it covers food. (They also have sponsorships for people that can’t afford the workshop.)
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. Check out TinyHouseDates.com to see when the next festival is happening near you.
I typically do a 45 minute talk at 1-2 festivals a month regarding living communally with tiny houses.
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, communities that employ consensus seem more likely to thrive.
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 isn’t. It is 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.
In 2019, a host of tools will be added to SearchTinyHouseVillages.com to help communities grow. These include will be project management, discussion & networking tools.
Additionally, tools for matching mentor communities to forming communities, a document repository (including conflict resolution, decision making models, membership policies, payment models, income sharing models, etc) so that forming communities won’t have to start from scratch.
If you’re interested in learning more helping fund these projects, contact me!
Note: Purchasing the recommended book through the link on this blog helps financially this website.