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How to Start a Commune or Intentional Community

You want to share your life being around people who value the same things that you do. You want to live more sustainably, freely, affordably, ethically, and purposefully. Where to even begin in starting a Commune or Intentional Community? Here’s how you can use this website to find your people and create your Intentional Community.

But first, don’t you hate when there’s a freebie offered, then after you put in some effort, you find out you have to pay to access the most import part? We don’t do that. There are some extras you can subscribe to, but they’re not necessary. Now you can read on without wondering which step has the catch in it.

How to Start a Commune or Community – Step by Step

Are you interested mainly in a residential intentional community that already has an established location and governance type? Go to IC.org/directory. It’s a great place to find ICs, searchable by map, and they note whether they are open to visitors or new members or not.
At the Team Up page, you can search for groups in the forming stage or households open to co-living. At the Match for Free page you can search member profiles to see if there are others who have similar ideas and interests. The powerful search function will limit profiles to parameters you set.
After you read the Terms of Use and register, make the time investment to answer all the matching questions. Then you and others will be notified if you match up. When you’re authentic and open, you give others a chance to see that you’re a good match. This will save you time in the long run.
You’ll get an email when you get a new match. ICmatch works behind the scenes to find your closest match based on your profile answers. Communicate safely thru ICmatch chats. Invite friends and acquaintances to join ICmatch. They can find your profile with your display name. It might spark their interest if you show them the IC Types pages you are interested in.
When you find other members who seem a good match, if they have a group in the Team Up page, you could let them know you’re interested to join. You can create a group description too. You can share a link to an external platform where you host your group chat or have a longer description. Look for members who might be a good fit and invite them to join you.
After you decide there’s a lot of compatibility, sharing social media accounts lets you check out each other’s online presence. Be sure you get a good vibe before you share personal contact information. If you tend to be a bit too open or too closed, let someone you know well weigh in on whether or not your matches seem a good fit.
When you’re ready, hold an in-person meeting in a well-lit public location where you are not alone and can focus on talking. Discuss your vision for community as well as what your strongest compatibilities are. It’s important to mention up front what issues you each believe could be the sticking points to discuss later. Read the Safety Precautions page.
On a second or third meeting, bring kids, pets, or other important companions to make sure they get along with potential IC members. Test out your real-world compatibility by taking a trip all together, or work on a project together. Many lasting ICs recommend a 3-month trial period before each side commits to a longer agreement.
Decide on regular times and formats to work together toward your project. Practice your decision-making and governance processes. Discuss funding sources. Make contracts.
Include fun team-building activities that can renew connections when you feel you’re at an impasse. We select consultants who value community and understand how to help you thrive. Learn from our recommended reading and viewing list.
Making written signed agreements up front gives each side the incentive to think thru details carefully. Clarity of written contracts gives you the best chance of protecting your assets and creating a friendly workable situation for everyone.
Want a closer look at how you can use ICmatch for a founder’s team? Read these more detailed steps. Also, check out this IC guide from the Foundation for Intentional Communities (not-affiliated) that’s been working out the details of community building for two decades.

Success Stories of Starting a Commune

Become one of our success stories! When your group reaches the point of renting or purchasing property together, let us publish your story. We will offer you a free session with a consultant to help you make the most of your milestone.

As a relatively new site, for now we have to point to successes other than ICmatch groups. In the pages featuring various types of intentional communities, we’ve described and pointed to the best examples we could find. Having a joint goal that everyone in the group cares deeply about is one of the most important characteristics that lead to success. Even if you have that, it’s still challenging. Most people have heard stories about communes that failed.

How to start a commune or intentional community that does not fail to launch or fall apart?

Author Dien says that intentional communities fail at about the same rate as business startups. It’s always a challenge to (a) start with tested or workable ideas and then (b) keep people coordinated to work well together. Similarly, more than half of marriages don’t work long term. Yet many haven’t given up on startups or marriage, because the ones that do work out can be amazing. We are here to help you learn how to start a commune or community sustainably.