We make our community decisions using a combination of full group consensus and empowered committees, with nominal oversight by the boards of directors of the land trust (DRLT) and nonprofit organization (DR Inc.). The consensus decision-making process accounts for a range of opinions, including dissent, and resolves when all involved parties settle and agree to a statement that everyone can live with. Unlike “majority rules”, where a 51% vote can result in a decision to the dismay of many, consensus demands that everyone have a say in the final outcome.
The Process of Policy-Making at Dancing Rabbit
We have regular business meetings to discuss new topics, policies, and proposals that are crafted by our numerous empowered committees. Committees themselves are given varying levels of decision-making power, but decisions that demand group input come to regularly-scheduled business meetings.
Not only that, we hold a multi-day retreat each year, where we focus on larger topics and look at the year as a whole, working on priorities, budgets, etc., and figuring out who’s going to serve on which committees and do specific tasks.
Dancing Rabbit committees span a wide range of subjects and are responsible for working on policy and policy implementation as it relates to the mandate of the committee. Residents and members of Dancing Rabbit are generally on one or more committees.
The number of committees at Dancing Rabbit continues to grow as our village grows. Examples of some committees at Dancing Rabbit include: Kid Committee, Pet Committee, Land Use Planning, Process Team, Web Team, Membership and Residency Committee, Visitor Team, Debt Committee, Outreach, Eco-Progress Committee, and Land Management Team among many others. There is basically a committee to meet anybody’s interest and skill!
Committees are typically made up of 2-4 residents and members of Dancing Rabbit. Each committee is given a clear job description, originally approved by the membership, and meets and works regularly on their tasks. Each committee is part of an important and intricate web that allows Dancing Rabbit to function duly and smoothly.