How to form a core member group for an intentional community
Do a few searches at ICmatch.org to see if there are any people in your area that have interests in one or two types of IC that you have in mind. You look thru a few profiles that come up in searches. It will give you motivation to see that there are others near you with similar ideas.
Register at the Members page (see the top purple banner).
Find your verification email and answer the 24 multiple choice questions that come with it.
Log in again if needed. At the header, see if the bell icon has a notification about others you matched with. Read their profiles. You can use the chat function to send a message to other members and groups.
Answer all the profile questions, even if you need to take some breaks or complete it over several days, so that those you wrote to have something more to respond to.
You might invite a few community-minded others to get on ICmatch to see how your preferences match up. You might look at the groups page, see if there is a link to a group type that interests you, and send that link to a friend or family member who might be interested.
After a few messages back and forth, you might find a few other members who have ideas of intentional community similar to yours. You could invite them to create a group discussion with you on an external platform you are already familiar with. You might check their profile response to the question in the technology category about what apps or services they are comfortable communicating thru.
Meet in person or video conference to more easily discuss ideas.
Together, fill out a group profile that presents your agreed-on community rules and your multiple characteristics and preferences. Discuss whether any of you can invite others to the group discussion any time or whether you’ll consult each other first before giving out your group chat contact info.
Practice a decision-making process based on what governance styles you agree on, based on your profile responses.
Start having regular meetings, making sure that everyone has a say about what is on the agenda. You might assign lasting roles or make a schedule for alternating the roles.
Create a set of basic bylaws you can agree on, based on the existing bylaws of a long-standing community that is similar to what you’d like to create. That will give you mechanisms that allow rules to keep evolving. You might contact a consultant on IC.org or ICmatch to help you go over the details of your agreements to fill you in on what you may have overlooked.
Make plans to meet a few users who have contacted your group. You might hire a local consultant to help with a group facilitation and include a fun activity you all agree on.
There may be disagreements that become challenging. As your group grows larger, it may take longer to talk thru decisions. Hire a mediator, group mentor, or group facilitator such as those advertised at ICmatch or IC.org.
Many groups neglect the interpersonal side because of the tremendous amount of work it takes to get the organizing work done, but ongoing team building activities and fun are needed. It sustains the sense of cohesion in a group and prevents dropout. Without keeping up the good relations in the group, the project can fall apart as the many negotiations are made over smaller differences of values that a group may have believed were already resolved.
The remaining steps apply to plans that require a substantial purchase, whether it be a residential community, business partnership, or neighborhood project. After several discussions, agree on a price range and other aspects of the ideal property or joint purchase.Once you agree on a specific area to live, join the Foundation for Intentional Communities (IC.org, not affiliated with ICmatch) as a forming community, or other relevant membership, for more visibility. Point respondents to your IC.org posting for detailed information before inviting them to join your discussion.
Set up a legal structure for any large pending purchase. Consider various ownership models, including creating a corporate entity with shares equivalent to each member’s financial investment.
Contact a realtor to help you find your ideal property. You might check IC.org for posted properties.
There may come a time when some members don’t feel the majority of decisions are working for them. Some may decide to split off from the majority. If you can remain on friendly terms, your original group and the new group may be able to share information and other resources you find the others might benefit from. If a supermajority of you agrees that the price, timing, and several other aspects are lining up, the original group may decide to go ahead even if some group members decide they need to back out. They make their own group identities and postings.
Finalize and file the legal documents for your group purchase and your community governance process.
Celebrate! According to Diana Leaf Christian in Creating a Life Together, you’re now in the 10% of groups who make it to the purchase point of establishing an intentional community.