This is the general process which we try to use for people interested in becoming a formal member of the community. That being said, the process has some flexibility and variables depending on each individual situation! We are sharing the process here is to help with transparency and to help prospective members have a share in the application process.
Membership Process for Locals (living near Columbus, Ohio)
- A person expresses interest in the community. Yay!
- They are invited to a house dinner. This is an informal setting in which we meet each other and they get an idea of what living in the community is like. It is not intended to bombard them with information and should be light on the technical aspects of our agreements.
- After the initial meeting, full members will meet and choose a buddy to contact the interested individual. Full members decide whether to continue pursuing applicant or not, and the buddy conveys to them.
- The buddy will follow up with the prospective member to answer any questions and gauge their interest. If they are still interested, the buddy will send them any documents which have been consensed upon, as well as the guiding principles and our decision-making process. During that discussion the buddy will schedule a time to meet with them and explain other aspects of what the community is and is working on.
- At their meetup, the buddy explains to the Prospective Member what the meetings are like, invites them to the next meeting, and sends or gives them a list of interview questions. Their questions should be returned to us before the next meeting. When the person gets their answers back to us, we send them each collective member’s answers to the same questions. (*Collective members should familiarize themselves with the interview questions before the next meeting and prepare their own questions regarding the applicant.)
- At the first meeting where the prospective member is in attendance, they witness the decision-making process in action. Towards the end of the meeting there is a mutual interview. We try to schedule the meeting to be ‘light’ on the ‘heavy’ long stuff so we have ample time for the interview.
- Immediately after, or within 48 hours of the above meeting, full members decide whether to invite the prospective member to become a provisional member, deny their provisional membership, or extend their prospective membership.
- The buddy contacts the prospective member to inform them of the decision and the reasons for the decision. If it was decided to invite the person to be a provisional member, the buddy invites them, explains to them what their provisional membership entails, and relevant documents are signed.
- Provisional Membership: All members begin as Provisional Members for a period not less than three months and no more than a year. During this time, they are considered a Member of the Community in every respect but two: a) they are exempt from the financial constraints and obligations; and, b) they do not have the power to block consensus in Community decisions. The Community reserves the right to revoke Provisional Membership at any time. The Provisional Member may end their membership at any time. If the Provisional Member is not already living with the Community the buddy will invite them to move into the house, contingent upon space.
- Through the duration of Provisional Membership, the buddy has regular monthly check-ins (from the date of the Provisional Membership beginning).
- At any time after three months and before one year of Provisional Membership, the Provisional Member should request an interview for Full Membership, if Full Membership is their desire (Full Membership entails: financial contribution, assets disclosure, participation in decision making process, and signing of legal documents).
- Immediately After the interview (or within 48 hours ), the Full Members meet to decide whether to accept the Provisional Member as a Full Member, deny their membership, or extend the provisional period.
- The Member is notified of the decisions. If a Provisional Member’s Full Membership is rejected and if extending the provisional period is rejected, and living space is needed, they will be given at least 30 days to leave barring extreme circumstances.
Alternative for people who live far away
- A person who doesn’t live near the Community expresses interest.
- A Full Member corresponds with the person and sends them documents containing our guiding principles, decision-making process, current status, and interview questions.
- The interested person sends back answers to the interview questions, along with any questions for the Community.
- The Community decides whether to invite this person to stay with us as a Prospective Member, deny their stay, or request additional information from them. The Community also answers any questions they asked, and assigns a buddy for the person.
- The buddy contacts the person to either invite them to stay with us, explain to them why they are not invited, or request more information. The buddy also tells them the answers to any questions they submitted, and informs them of the conditions of their stay.
- The Prospective Member may live with the Community for free for one month. After a grace period not longer than one week, the Prospective Member will be expected to contribute to Community work. After one month, the person may will be expected to contribute to Community expenses.
- During the period of their stay, the Prospective Member should attend at least one Community meeting, to witness the decision-making process in action. The buddy should make sure that the Prospective Member understands the decision-making process.
- At the end of one month, the Community decides whether to invite the Prospective Member to become a Provisional Member, deny their membership, or extend the period of their Prospective Membership. The Prospective Member is then informed of this decision and the reasons for the decision.
(The rest of the process is the same from step 9 above.)