This newsletter writer was intending to pen a story about all the teams that it takes to make Haystack Heights a reality, all the moving parts. But then it struck me that Christie Bruntlett embodies “many moving parts” in the guise of a single person. Because you’ll see her doing everything from the banal (setting out name tags at meetings and chasing me down until I put mine on) to the imaginative (working to oversee the production of our very successful video production and digital media campaign), I asked her to make me a full list of all the ways she’s participated in the project that is Haystack Heights. I told her five minutes is about all it should take her to catalogue—I didn’t want to burden her further with another “to do.” Ha! Here’s an accounting “off the top of her head” in her own words. Sarah Conover
First, a little history. Back in 2017, when we joined Spokane Cohousing, I chose the Marketing Team. After several months, I was asked to lead the Membership Team. I was enjoying the Marketing Team, so agreed, on the condition that I could stay on the Marketing Team too. The function of the Membership Team is to educate and nurture our associates and members. That appealed to me because I’m a nurturer by nature.
The Marketing Team recently changed its name to Publicity in hopes of attracting more people, including those who weren’t comfortable with “sales.” Now we’re going by Marketing/Publicity, because it seems wrong to not acknowledge the sales aspect of the team. The team has recently divided into two sub-teams — one for social media and the other for direct outreach, graphics, info sessions and other special events. I work with the one that is not social media. I helped coordinate the digital ad campaign we recently completed, but other than that I try to avoid social media.
Something I’ve been doing since 2017 is helping coordinate the monthly info sessions — scheduling the venues, coordinating the updates of the flyers, getting the flyers printed and distributed (to our membership and to the public), reminding our community members to attend, bringing snacks, and attending the sessions including hauling literature and supplies, set-up and tear-down. I’ve also helped with most of our tabling efforts, including the South Perry Street Fair three times.
I coordinate our underwriting (essentially advertising) on Spokane Public Radio/KPBX for several days leading up to most of our info sessions, and was invited to record a testimonial that is played at random times on KPBX, promoting underwriting on KPBX, and Haystack Heights in the process.
Readers, take a breath. She’s only a third of the way through!
As Membership Co-Team Leader, every month or so I create and distribute a list of upcoming events. I send an e-mail welcoming new associates just as soon as I hear that they’ve joined our community. Then I send them a list of upcoming events and our membership list, and invite their questions. I try to stay in touch with new people for a while even after they have buddies assigned, encouraging them to attend various activities and inviting more questions.
For the National Cohousing Conference, the Membership Team coordinated securing accommodations in cohousing communities in Portland, so that everyone who wanted such accommodations had a place to stay at little or no cost.
Other Membership Team activities include planning large and small social activities for the community. Large quarterly ones have included the January Brunch, the Solstice Party in June, and retreats at Heartsong in September. Small ones included a dance party at Mic & Mark’s house, and encouraging small potlucks for community members to host in their homes. I maintain a list of “Friends to Haystack Heights” so that we can invite them to occasional social events.
I send new names to another member to be included on group e-mails, and forward things to new people until I know they’ve been added to the group. I send new names to another member to have name tags made. I keep the name tags at my house and bring them to our various activities for people to wear, and then do my best to collect them afterward, so they can get back into the box and not have to be replaced.
I help schedule orientations for new associates and assist other members of Membership and Process Team conduct the orientations, helping them figure out what team(s) they might like to try. After the orientations, when we know the associates a little, we match them up with a member of the community to be “buddies.” I buddy-matched for a long time. We came up with a list of buddy guidelines to help members know how best to be of help to new associates. When the Orientation Manual needs updating, I help Martha Haynes fine tune it for the next associates who come on board.
Membership Team also collects dietary information to share with the community for reference at potlucks, and we encourage people to list ingredients of the food they bring, so people will know what’s safe for them to eat.
I collect contact information from new associates to add to our membership list and my husband, John ,does the computer work to add it to our list. I then distribute it to our community digitally, and usually hand out hard copies at LLC meetings. I give membership updates at the LLC meetings.
Occasionally I conduct site tours. The “company” printer lives at our house, so the majority of the printing that needs to be done is completed there.
Obviously, without Christie’s steady and specific efforts since 2017, Haystack Heights would not be anywhere near the membership goal that we are closing in on. She’s too humble to admit it, but as evidenced above, she’s been a major factor in fueling us along, connecting us to community and gently keeping us together.
And this is how she ends her letter: That’s what comes to mind off the top of my head. If I think of other things, I’ll let you know. Sorry, this was more than 5-minutes worth.