Starting a Community? How to Tell your Cohousing Story (Alan O'Hashi & Jenny Godwin)

Presented by Alan O'Hashi & Jenny Godwin

Session Description

Are you starting a cohousing community and want to know where to start? Some will say tie up the land first, which is true. Some will say have a meeting to get people interested, which is true. Some will say, get an architect, which is true. We're here to tell you that overlaying the mechanics of cohousing, is a "story." It's about coming up with a good story that grabs the imagination. As a storytelling case study, we'll use the intentional creative community starting in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

We'll start out with a primer in storytelling. "Oh, that's nothing...anyone can write," you may be musing, but it's not as easy as you may think. We all like a good book or movie, but the reason your imaginations are captured and attention paid to the action on the big screen or on the written page is because of the story - there are good ones and not so good ones.

The same holds true when you're attracting people to be interested in joining your cohousing community - what's your catch. You'll learn how to structure your story - what is the premise; how does your story start in Act I? What happens in Act II? How does your story end in Act III? You'll put your pen to pad or your fingers to keyboard and begin outlining your community story - writing it from the inside out. We'll help you craft your "elevator speech" summarizing your story so it is quickly understandable and then provide you some low / no cost ways you can get your information out there to your targeted market through online media.

Having a compelling online media presence is increasingly important. It’s crucial to outline who you hope to attract to your community, so your message reflects that. We’ll outline tools and best practices for finding your future neighbors via your website, newsletter, facebook, twitter and Meetup pages, as well as Coho/US’s resources. This involves telling not just the how of cohousing but also the why. Why is this lifestyle for me? What benefits will cohousing bring to my life – whether I’m a pro-active senior, young family or single person seeking more community in my life?

Our teaching styles appeal to all learning styles - auditory, visual and hands-on, so there will be plenty of activity and film clips to go along with our talking heads.


About the Presenters

Alan O'Hashi MPA lives in Silver Sage Village in Boulder, CO. In his multi-dimensional life he's provided extensive training and facilitation for a variety of nonprofits. He is a newspaper journalist turned documentary filmmaker and screenwriter and works with groups and organizations to help them tell their stories better. As if he doesn't have enough to do, Alan is organizing an intentional creative community in Cheyenne, Wyoming and using that as a case study for this workshop.

Jenny Godwin is media leader for CoHousing Solutions in Nevada City. She also provides her outreach and writing skills to communities in formation, aiding with their recruitment, publicity and branding. She serves as part-time Outreach Associate for Coho/US, assisting with marketing, social media, blogging, Conference planning, and more. Her passions lie in sustainable communities, renewable energy, and working to meet challenges posed by climate change. She considers herself a cohouser-in-training.