Template: Benefits and Accountability for Work Contributions

Roles and Responsibilities

For many people, the approach to roles and responsibilities seems obvious and intuitive. It might not be until you meet others with a different cultural background or experiences that you realize there isn’t one right way for all people. It’s important to make sure your group members don’t have wrong assumptions of others’ general attitude toward roles and responsibilities. The following statements can be agreed to at the same time without feeling that the statements contradict each other. These statements are from the profile questions, and are mostly helpful to determine whether someone has extreme views. Getting clear on the edge cases and exceptions is the challenge for a founders team.

  • Transactional relationships are more fair; to a reasonable extent there should be accountability through written agreements
  • In a reciprocal relationship you give about as much as you get, but it happens without keeping track
  • In a small family-like group, the saying applies, “to each according to their need, from each according to their abilities”
  • Clear responsibilities are important to minimize conflict
  • Flexible responsibilities are often best, which aren’t assigned or micromanaged

Member Work Benefits

Describe what benefits are available to those who provide the required work, asset contribution, monthly financial contribution, and/or financial investment.

  • Stipend or wage
  • Share in profits
  • Educational certification
  • Credit toward property shares
  • Lodging during negotiated timeframe
  • Produce or prepared meals
  • Access to shared resources

Contribution Accountability

  • Everyone is required to attend agreed-on decision making meetings
  • Everyone attends joint work sessions to ensure equitable work contribution
  • Group schedules flexibly timed work contributions to ensure equitable work contribution
  • Group uses recording system and regular reviews to ensure equitable work contribution
  • Group members all have oversight of each other and group agrees on consequences for breaking rules
  • Group allows spontaneity, goes with the flow, with many opportunities to renegotiate rules
  • Group accepts only members with high maturity level with expectation of self-governance
  • Undecided (i.e., we currently have no accountability)
  • Have a community cleaning pre-pay. Anytime someone forgets to clean up after themselves, whoever does it gets paid at an agreed-on pay rate out of that member’s prepay.
  • Anytime someone breaks or damages group-owned resources, they may pay some percentage of it based on possible negligence, but the remainder of replacement cost can be covered by the community funds.

Contribution Types

  • We negotiate contributions based on various inputs: financial contribution, property contribution (e.g., vehicle, real estate), and/or work
  • Everyone’s financial contribution should be proportional to what they receive of group benefits
  • Everyone’s work hour contribution should be proportional to what they receive of group benefits
  • Work hours should be negotiable based on physical exertion (e.g., digging), danger (e.g., roofing), general dislike (e.g., cleaning toilets), or acquired skill/credentials (e.g., welding)
  • Sharing income and resources should be mostly need-based
  • Everyone’s financial contribution should be the same
  • Everyone’s work hour contribution should be the same

___ hours weekly labor contribution or negotiable equivalent of payment to cover others’ labor cost.

___ is the per-person or per-family average expected contribution in work hours

Skills and Knowledge Needed

This list may help you to divide up responsibilities among your leadership team in the short term. In the long term, this list can help you determine what skill sets you still need to upgrade in your group or find in new members.

Daily chores:

  • Cooking for groups
  • Childcare
  • Cleaning
  • Gardening
  • Carpentry & repair
  • Farm animal care
  • Grant-writing
  • Bookkeeping
  • Group facilitation
  • Organizing & labeling


  • Sociocracy or holocracy
  • Mediation or dispute resolution
  • Consensus facilitation

Business management:

  • Timebanking
  • Legal practice
  • Grant writing
  • Bookkeeping/accounting
  • Short term rentals & hospitality
  • Long term rentals & maintenance
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion training

Site construction and management:

  • Ecological science
  • Horticulture or permaculture
  • Architecture
  • Natural building
  • Carpentry & construction
  • Welding
  • Waterworks & sanitation
  • Security & weapons
  • City planning, zoning, & compliance

Vocational skills for ICs:

  • Humanitarian or social work
  • Event planning & management
  • Event hosting
  • Animal training or care
  • Outdoor survival skills
  • Sports or physical recreation
  • Travel guide
  • Ordained minister or religious scholar
  • Photography or videography
  • Certification for teaching children
  • Experience teaching adults

Health and nutrition:

  • First responder (first aid) or EMT
  • Medicine – western
  • Medicine – alternative
  • Massage or other bodywork
  • Nutrition
  • Food handling certification trainer


  • Filmmaking
  • Musical performance
  • Performative dance
  • Social dance
  • Standup comedy
  • Theater
  • Visual art


  • Writing
  • Website design
  • Database management
  • Marketing
  • Public speaking
  • Political campaigning
  • Group therapy or group processing
  • Activism & organizing

Academic Subjects:

  • Computer science
  • Electric engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Astronomy
  • Anthropology
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Finance & economics
  • Political science & history
  • Biological sciences

Language Required

This may be relevant if you are an expat group or bilingual group. If you have a bilingual community or frequently have guests who are not as familiar with the more used language, make sure your agreements about benefits and accountability for work contributions are translated.


Health insurance is a benefit that the group may get a group discount for, possibly qualifying as a small business.

Extra precautions:

All of us need a home environment where we can feel relaxed, both people who need extra considerations, and people who are asked to accommodate those needs. There’s not one right answer. We all simply need to find a good fit.

  • Will your group accept people in a high-risk category who must have those near them take precautions seriously? This creates extra work, but it may be part of your group mission and conviction to take it on. It’s important to discuss and get agreement from everyone in your group if you plan to include people who are in a high-risk category and need strict precautions from people in their IC. Otherwise you might not get their full compliance, or they may feel resentful about mandates they feel impose on them too much. Some people have a temperament that makes it harder for them to be ultra vigilant.
  • Is your group willing to turn away those who not by choice cannot live closely with immune-compromised individuals? For example, some work in medical environments and have high exposure to infection. Others have young children attending daycare or school, who it would be too taxing to monitor sufficiently at home or within a community where they have close contact with people needing accommodations.

Extra work:

Others’ health conditions can also cause a burden of caring for others and doing extra work that some members can’t help with. It might not be a decision your group feels it needs to make in advance, but it’s important to discuss. Twin Oaks, for example, had a falling out of some committed members when there were differences of opinion about how much rule-bending and extra accommodations the community members owed to one member struggling with prolonged depression.

Severe allergies:

List foods, medications, animals, bites, or other things you or those in your group have severe, possibly deadly, allergic or other medical reactions to. This will help others not waste their time if, for example, they have dearly-loved pets that simply can’t be accommodated in the amount and type of space your group has chosen.

Pandemic norms:

Your founders’ group has an obligation to state what your expectation is for compliance if further pandemic restrictions come about. Even though many people insist the pandemic is over or was a hoax to begin with, there are others who feel frustrated that “normal” hasn’t returned for them. Many still feel vulnerable. If your founder’s group has strong feelings about this, state them. If you are willing to go with whatever results from group decision-making process, state that too.

The following list may be all that’s needed for a household or group under 10 Maintain strict social distancing and masks outside the IC (forming a “pandemic pod”), Sanitize hands frequently in the IC, Sanitize hands frequently in public, Vaccinated are welcome, Unvaccinated are welcome, Only normal hygiene within the IC; no extra precautions, No masks or distancing requirements around friends and family who aren’t part of IC, Masks expected only when in public and mandated, Keep good health practices for good immune function

To prepare a larger IC for during times when governments have issued pandemic-based restrictions, see the more detailed template for pandemic-related precautions.  

Health conditions:

If your group is looking for people with particular challenges that you or those close to you may share, make this part of the name of your group. It will be a big selling point. This could even form the basis of qualification for grant funding to support a service-based community. Give enuf information that potential member can determine whether they will be adequately supported or welcomed. If health conditions, even mental health issues, are likely to limit the working capacity of some, how many individuals with this condition can the community support? Does there need to be a ratio of individuals with and without the condition?