Budgeting Time & Considering Gifts

Now is the time of year when many cohousing communities review their budgets. Does your community include a budget for supporting Coho/US with an annual gift? Including an annual gift as a recurring donation allows your community to affirm ongoing support without requiring discussion by the finance committee or the whole community every year.

What questions or discussion starters do you use to determine a collective decision about whether and how much to give? Do you prefer talking about this every year to determine what an appropriate gift would be in that year, or to set a donation amount or a percent of your annual revenues?

Each cohousing community has different insights and systems that work well for them. We would welcome hearing what works for you!

While a few cohousing communities provide support through an individual gift from a resident, most communities who support Coho/US choose to make a gift from community resources. Pacifica in Chapel Hill NC just provided a generous gift that included personal gifts from many members supplementing a gift from the homeowners association. I found that very creative, affirming group support while encouraging additional individual engagement. Note: gifts from individuals are tax deductible, and can be recognized as community gifts.

In my own Durham Coho community, we agreed as a group to support Coho/US with an annual gift, in appreciation of these benefits:

www.cohousing.org continues to provide great resources to us for best practices;
•National Cohousing Conferences provided a wealth of resources as we developed our community, including cohousing professionals who helped us over stumbling blocks;
•Many of us recognize we have created a legacy; supporting Coho/US helps ensure that continuation;
•Maintaining a robust waiting list is critical; Coho/US provides promotion through the Cohousing Directory, resources such as the cohousing slide show and brochure, and attracts a larger public to cohousing;
•We are believers in cohousing as part of the solution to many social, economic and environmental challenges; supporting Coho/US is a good investment toward that end;
•We are darn proud of what we have created and want to share this good life with others; Coho/US helps to build public awareness of the benefits cohousing offers.

What benefits do you recognize that inspire your community to give to Coho/US? What questions do you ask in determining contributions? How do you approach the discussion? Please share with us http://www.cohousing.org/contact; your insights can be helpful to other communities.
Many thanks to all of you for your good support. We are in this together!