Some Challenging Questions for New Communities
Who are members?
- What is the process and qualifications to become a member?
- Most communities require people to attend a minimum number of functions and be approved by the members.
- Some communities have found that Investment = Commitment and require a non-refundable investment to weed out the "just looking' folks from the serious. $100 will clearly identify the real committed from the onlookers.
- If members will need to invest several thousand dollars eventually , a hundred bucks is really not very much money. Make this a non-refundable investment.
How are decisions made?
- Who gets to make them?
- Consider starting with a 3/4 majority vote. Learn about consensus before you commit your group decision making to it.
- Allow only members to vote but allow anyone to offer ideas and opinions.
How will meetings be run
- Who gets to talk, when?
- Having someone hold the role of facilitator helps enormously.
- Maybe some facilitation training from a process consultant would be useful?
How will conflicts be handled/resolved?
- When we don’t agree how will we work it out?
- Holding lots of parties and rituals together will grow bonds and make conflicts easier.
- Family counselors could be a mediator in a dispute, or identify other people in advance who could help the group make a tough decision.
How will records be kept?
- Who takes notes, how are they distributed and to whom?
- Start by taking turns at note-taking, encourage those that are good at it.
- At the end of the meeting:
- Assign any tasks to specific volunteers with dates due
- Read quickly through the notes about any decisions made so what is in the notes is accurate and agreed to.
How will new members be brought up to speed?
- Record your decisions in a decision document and hand it out to new members.
- When you get to about a dozen people assign new members a "buddy" who explains the processes and history.