Jumpstart Intentional Community With Grant-funded Consulting

Having created resources to serve teams attempting to found a residential intentional community (IC), we recognize that the obstacles to this founding are immense. While we are currently supplying ICmatch as a free platform for communitarians to find each other and evaluate their compatibility, founders need so much more. They need marketing so potential members can find them on ICmatch. They need assistance setting up legal documents, finding funding sources, and access to leadership resources. Yet they most often lack the funds for marketing, legal assistance, grant-writing, or hiring various consultants. The grant-funded consulting described here provides a way for consultants to be paid to work with individual founders and founders’ groups to progress toward their goals for intentional community. Except where noted, all of the described consulting would be at no cost to the founders. The Jumpstart IC program consists of the sessions described below.

Participant Qualifications for Grant-funded Consulting

  • Founder or co-founder intends to form a coliving situation and/or intentional community
  • Founder or co-founder owns land/property OR have at least two other committed co-founders
  • Founder or co-founder was invited to participate based on IC goals that fit with a grant received by ICmatch (e.g., a self-sufficiency and/or ecological sustainability goal)

Session 1: Find Potential Members

Prerequisites:

  • Completed individual ICmatch profile (with few non-answered fields)
  • Clarified what any existing member’s and founder’s best contribution could be in your community. Identify strengths using quizzes in the “personality” category of individual ICmatch profiles. Included the results in your individual ICmatch profile(s)
  • Communicated with any interesting matches on ICmatch

Self-promotion can feel awkward, maybe boastful, because you have to say what you have to offer. Then it can feel demoralizing if you don’t get much response. To have someone else promoting your group could make it seem more convincing to the target audience. We want to get that most emotionally draining task off your to-do list. It shouldn’t be so hard when you’re doing so much work to provide affordable housing and a container for a mutually beneficial community to develop.

ICmatch consultant will:

  • Search on other IC-related platforms to identify potential matches with compatibility and readiness to join a team.
  • Invite these members to take a look at your group description.
  • Identify funding sources relevant to your location and intentional community type, including grants.

Session 2: Identify Funding Sources

Prerequisites:

Founder looked at relevant grant databases provided by ICmatch and identified those that are a realistic fit.

ICmatch consultant will provide:

  • Assistance identifying grant-worthy funding priorities.
  • Connection with a qualified grant writer (founders groups can write their grant application or pay a grant writer).
  • Connection with an experienced grant writing consultant to review your grant and make recommendations.

Session 3: Complete Community Description and Agreements 

Prerequisites: Group coordinator has a completed first draft of community agreements

ICmatch consultant will provide:

•      Review and feedback from consultant with relevant expertise.

•      Connect founder(s) with topic-expert consultants, if needed to refine plans.

Session 4: Plan Outreach and Visibility 

Prerequisites:

Group coordinator has posted online (or in other public locations) the community agreements, preferably on IC.org/directory.

ICmatch consultant will provide:

  • If a founder prefers no online presence, help create and implement alternative outreach by flyers or mailers, depending on budget.
  • Connect founder(s) at no cost with a freelancer who will assist them in creating (a) a website (e.g., free google pages site) and help set up domain hosting or (b) a free google business page.
  • Provide detailed instructions on how to access and make changes to these free sites.
  • Strategize about partnering with various aligned local organizations.

Session 5: Meet Other Founders

ICmatch consultant will provide:

  • Organize an online meeting of participating founders and/or other community members to introduce their communities briefly to each other. This may foster relationships that could lead to working together to resolve shared challenges.
  • Reach out to a long-standing intentional community of the participating founders’ choice to request advice and/or a discussion between their leadership with the new founder.

Session 6: Plan for Member Livelihoods and Living Expenses

ICmatch consultant will provide:

  • Consultation on business plan(s) for the community and/or individual members.
  • Help to identify potential partnerships with aligned local organizations.

Session 7: Mediation

Prerequisite: Founder’s team consists of at least three members.

ICmatch consultant will provide:

  • Mediation and/or conflict resolution if there has been unresolved tension within the community, with neighbors, or with another organization the community is involved with.
  • If no mediation is needed, preventative activities would be facilitated, such as games that explore personality strengths and differences, as well as political differences in a non-confrontational game format.

Session 8: Program Evaluation Plan

Prerequisite: Founder and/or community members have a clear goal and have identified a type of funder that would be interested to see validation of their goal, as a justification of initial or continued funding.

ICmatch consultant will provide (depending on extent of funding):

  • Qualified and experienced research methodologist to help (a) identify metrics to begin to establish baseline data, (b) assist in design of study, (c) provide five or more current and relevant academic studies and formatted references for use in written presentation of results, and (d) a template for program evaluation write-up.
  • Connection with an academic researcher focused on intentional community who is experienced in (a) helping design surveys, (b) analyzing survey data, and (c) presenting datasets in useful charts and graphs (depending on source and amount of funding, this consultant may or may not be paid for by the grant).
  • Program evaluation assistant to help write up the results (depending on source and amount of funding, this consultant may or may not be paid for by the grant).
  • APA editor to help format, correct citations, and create references section (depending on source and amount of funding, this consultant may or may not be paid for by the grant).

Requested Pay-it-Forward

Provide a paragraph about how the program benefitted your progress toward founding your intentional community, preferably that ICmatch is allowed to publish. This may help us validate the program’s usefulness as we seek grants to fund consulting for other founders.