Designing a Community Membership Process

5-Week Online Course | Starts October 27th!

A well-designed membership process is essential for the success of your intentional community. Recruiting, onboarding, and maintaining quality members will ensure your community is an enjoyable place to live for years to come. This unique course will give you the guidance you need to get the members you want.

Designing a Community Membership Process course

Save $100 (on October course) through 10/10/22!

Finally a course on how to create a good membership process, so you can save yourself years figuring things out on your own!

Avoid the pitfalls of unhappy members who leave early and take your intentional community down with them. Ensure you are welcoming the right people and have a waiting list of prospective members knocking on your door.

This course is suitable for both new and established communities, because every place has turnover eventually. You don’t want to be caught without a supply of people who can afford to live there and who you want as members. You need an active Membership Team at all times. This course will also look at the membership topic from the standpoint of a prospective member – laying out all the questions a savvy shopper should ask, how to be a good visitor, and how to get the most out of a visit.

Drawing on decades of experience living in and consulting with intentional communities, instructor Laird Schaub will guide you through how to recruit, cultivate, orient, and integrate new members into your community.

Laird will also include coverage of difficult topics that impact membership and are often not discussed openly, such as:

  • The qualities are you looking for in new members (other than that their checks don’t bounce)
  • How to give prospective members honest feedback (if there are issues it’s much better to get them out on the table early)
  • Understanding the limits of your commitment to diversity (you can’t be all things to all people, so what will you prioritize)
  • Understanding the limits of what you can provide members who want to age in place
  • What can you do to noodle out the real reasons people leave the community 
  • How to think creatively about rebalancing your age distribution if you get too heavy with seniors


You will leave this course with…

  • An understanding of why it’s important to maintain an active Membership Team at all times – even when you’re full and nobody’s talking about leaving
  • Knowledge of the full breadth of responsibilities that a robust Membership Team has on its plate
  • The ability to identify the challenging conversations that impact Membership but are often avoided because of concern that they may bring up fears and hard feelings
  • Why established members need to take the lead in orienting and integrating new folks and why you need to offer multiple approaches
  • The importance of a site visit if you’re a prospective member, and how to ask the right questions
  • A network of fellow communitarians building and growing communities around the world

Meet Your Instructor

The Art of Facilitation for Cooperative Groups, Working Constructively with Conflict in Community, Designing a Community Membership Process, Consensus 101 and Consensus 201 instructor image

Laird Schaub

Laird’s specialty is up-tempo inclusive meetings that engage the full range of human input, teaching groups to work creatively with conflict and diversity—all the while being ruthless about capturing as much product as possible.

Laird lived for four decades at Sandhill Farm, an income-sharing rural community that he helped found. He also helped found the Foundation for Intentional Community, where he served as the main administrator for 28 years.

In 1987, he created a self-insurance fund for healthcare among income-sharing communities called PEACH (Preservation of Equity Accessible for Community Health) that he ran for 22 years. In addition to his expertise in community living, he’s parlayed his passion for good process into a consulting business focused on cooperative group dynamics, styled CANBRIDGE (Consensus And Network Building for Resolving Impasse and Developing Group Effectiveness), since 1987.

The Online Course Experience

Live Interactive Sessions

Each week will feature a 2-hour live class with the course instructor so you can learn in a dynamic setting and get your questions answered directly. Get ready for interactive presentations, group discussion, small cohort activities and personalized support. Plus, each week there will be bonus sessions with guest speakers and panelists.

Journey with a Cohort

Join participants from around the world who are embarking on creating community for better living and more connection. You’ll have opportunities to network with like-minds and develop a network of support to carry your community project forward. Welcome to your global community of communities.

Deep Learning

Participants will have access to a private online space to connect with the instructor and other students through a discussion forum. Each week new learning materials will be uploaded to the space, including videos, worksheets and articles. You’ll be able to watch previously recorded sessions and stay on track with your weekly assignments.

Course Syllabus

  • Class 1: Being proactive in managing the group membership
  • Class 2: Finding and attracting the right people
  • Class 3: Retaining members (it’s cheaper than prefacing them)
  • Class 4: Why are people leaving?
  • Class 5: Difficult membership conversations that you need to have (but probably avoid)

Course Schedules

All classes will be recorded and viewable with other class materials for up to 3 weeks after the last class. Live classes will be hosted via Zoom.
Please click on the month below to view the respective class dates and times.

May-June 2022

May-June 2022

  • 5/10/22
  • 5/17/22
  • 5/24/22
  • 5/31/22
  • 6/7/22

All classes are on Tuesdays from 8-10am Pacific / 9-11am Mountain / 10am-12pm Central / 11am-1pm Eastern

October-November 2022

October-November 2022

  • 10/27/22
  • 11/3/22
  • 11/10/22
  • 11/17/22
  • 11/23/22

All classes are on Thursdays from 12-2pm Pacific / 1-3pm Mountain / 2-4pm Central / 3-5pm Eastern, with the exception of 11/24. That class will be held on Wednesday, 11/23.


Laird Schaub is a national treasure in terms of his experience dealing with the different challenges that intentional communities can encounter in decision making and his positive attitude toward helping communities find solutions that work. His emphasis on the importance of both process and product is key. Students in course represented a lot of different types of experience with intentional living and were very engaged. Class discussions were interesting and helpful.

– Deborah Kogan

Laird is an amazing facilitator and an excellent teacher. The skills he shares with his students are incredibly valuable to any community and to society as a whole. I appreciate that Laird grounds his work in a broader social analysis—that we as a society need to get much better at hearing each other, cooperating, and making hard decisions without domination. He has developed a thorough and effective system for guiding groups through a variety of challenging situations. It is thrilling to learn how to practice it. And it pays dividends not only within the community but in other areas of one’s life. I have used skills I learned from Laird at work and in family situations as well. Learning from Laird has been a life changing experience.

Tom Smyth

Laird is concise and comprehensive without running over people; he addresses each person’s questions with an appropriate level of thoroughness and invites further discussion via email if the subject is somewhat off-topic for the class topic that day. His handouts are very well organized, and he is all at once funny, compassionate, knowledgeable, and entertaining.

Emily Abel

There are few people with the sheer breadth and depth of experience as Laird has. He is sharp, challenging, provocative, insightful.  He deeply cares about promoting cooperative culture in communities and in the world.  And it shows.  I would recommend his classes to anyone and everyone.

Mary Bennett



Designing a Community Membership Process Course

Starting From $199.00

Get essential guidance on how to how to recruit, cultivate, orient, and integrate new members into your community.

Duration: 5 Weeks (2+ hours/week)

Save $100 (on October course) through 10/10/22!


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Need financial support to attend a course?

Apply for a scholarship. Those with low-income and from marginalized groups are encouraged to apply. FIC is committed to ensuring everyone has access to intentional community learning opportunities.