How to Join an Intentional Community

(or help start one!)

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 to start 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 important 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 a paywall in it.

Check established ICs

Are you interested mainly in a residential community that already has an established location and buildings? The FIC has a mapped directory that notes which are open to new members. Also, in our member search box labeled “IC seeker or founder/resident” choose “I’m looking to join an established residence.” Click below for other IC platforms.

Search profiles

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.

Register & create your profile

The button below brings you to a list of steps to walk you thru the sign up. There are even video tutorials. Please make the time investment to answer more than just the matching questions. When you’re authentic and open, you give others a chance to see that you’re a good match.

Be proactive

You’ll get an email when you get a new match. ICmatch works behind the scenes to find your closest matches 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 Community Types pages you are interested in.

Form or join groups

When you find other members who seem a good match, if they have a group in the Team Up page, you can let them know you’re interested to join. You can create a group too. Look for members who might be a good fit and invite them to join you. Your group page can share a link to an external platform where you host your group chat or have a longer description.

Share contact info

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.

Meet up

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.

Take gradual steps

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.

Regular meetings

Decide on regular times and formats to work together toward your project. Practice your decision-making and governance processes. See what our Resources page has to offer (in footer).

Bring in consultants

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.

Form contracts

Decide on your legal structure. 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.

Read More

Want a closer look at how you can use ICmatch to develop a founder’s team? Read the more detailed steps at the button below. For maybe a quicker read, check out the Community Types pages that describe steps for creating specific types of communities.

Success Stories

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 pay for a 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 among 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? That does not fall apart the first year?

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 that can last.