Next Steps

Next Steps to Finding or Creating Community

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.

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. The Inside Community podcast has an episode on how to visit communities in a way that will be helpful and satisfying to visitors and the community. If you need to stay in your current area for a job or co-parenting, and there aren’t suitable cohousing options available, our site can help you find others with similar interests. Together you can create your own.
Search member profiles to see if there are others who seem to have similar ideas and interests. The powerful search function will limit individual and group profiles to parameters you set. After you complete your profile, existing members will be notified if your profile matches theirs.
After you read the Terms of Use and register, make the time investment to answer all the profile questions indicated by an asterisk (*). 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, as you can focus on corresponding with those you have more in common with. By completing the remainder of the questions thru to the technology section, you earn a 50-minute session with one of our consultants. You earn another free consultation when you complete the last three sections of questions and create a memoji. To claim your consultation, write to [email protected] with a brief description of what you’d like to discuss during your consultation. We’ll try to match you with an available consultant who specializes in your area of interest.
Log in monthly to check your notifications (bell icon) of new members who match you, and read profiles of potentially compatible members. ICmatch works behind the scenes to find your closest match based on your profile answers. If you aren’t getting as many notifications as you would like, search profiles again and reach out. If you wait only for others to contact you, it will be harder to find matches. Communicate safely thru ICmatch messaging. Invite friends and acquaintances to join ICmatch. They can search for your profile with your display name. It might spark their interest if you tell them what type of groups you are interested in. For each friend referral who enters your display name during registration, you both get a credit for a month-long listing on one of the Group Types pages of your choice.
When you find other individuals who seem promising, you might create a group. You can share in your ICmatch messaging a link to an external platform where you host your group chat. You might join other groups. Some group chat formats don’t identify individual members while you discuss further your potential compatibility. You might want to boost your group’s visibility by earning a placement on a groups page. You earn a month-long placement for each new member who completes the profile questions marked by an asterisk and writes to [email protected] to name you as their referral. Alternately, you can subscribe to appear on one or more of the groups pages.
After you decide there’s a lot of compatibility, share personal contact information so you can check out each other’s online presence.
When you’re ready, hold an in-person meeting in a well-lit public location where you are not alone and can focus. Discuss your vision for community as well as what your strongest compatibilities are. While you won’t resolve every difference immediately, it’s important to at least mention up front what issues you each believe could be the sticking points. Read the Safety Precautions page.
On a second or third meeting, bring kids, pets, or other life companions to make sure they get along with your potential IC members. There are many ways to test out your real-world compatibility. Trial runs for community membership could take several forms, including the following: • One member staying for free as a work trade with a group in the forming stage of community • One member renting month-to-month from another member • Both members renting a residence or work space together • Spending a vacation or season in adjacent RV spaces • Camping together for recreation or volunteer work See the Trial Run link found at the Groups page for details.
Decide on regular times and formats to work together toward your project or finding the property that fits your needs. Practice your chosen 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. In case your group’s budget doesn’t allow for consultants, we also have recommended sources, including podcasts, at the General Recommended Reading and Viewing that can be accessed from the footer link to Funding Sources.
Community-minded people often prefer to simply trust that others will act fairly. Many believe they can work things out later if and when problems might arise. Unfortunately, this can lead to misunderstandings. 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 this could work for you using ICmatch? Read these more detailed steps. Also, check out this IC guide from the Foundation for Intentional Communities, run by a non-affiliated successful IC that’s been working out the details of community building for two decades. You can also order from them the booklet Best of Communities: Intentional Community Overview and Starting a Community.

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 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. Even if you have that, it’s still challenging. Most people have heard stories about communes that failed. 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.