How to Start a Nomenus Circle

How to Start a Nomenus Circle

A Nomenus Rising working guide
Last edited February 17, 2014
Contact Stella Maris (standing.wave@gmail.com) with feedback

Circles are a fundamental natural and social structure. Compared to the authoritarian model of hierarchy on which organizations such are corporations, churches, and the military are based, circles offer a model that is more empowering, collaborative, flexible, humane, and creative. Some characteristics of healthy circles:

  • Egalitarian. Though different people will have differing amounts of social privilege and power, each person in the circle is equal in importance.
  • Dynamic leadership. Leadership is shared among members of the circle and moves among them.
  • Accessible. It’s easy to figure out how to join and work with the group. Participation does not require existing friendships or physical proximity.
  • Transparent. Others outside the group can see what it is doing.
  • Self-documenting. The circle records its work and decisions and stores them in a place where they can be found later.

If you have questions about these tips, contact the Communication Circle at nomenus@nomenus.org.

Tips on starting a circle

  1. Notice and name the need for the circle.
  2. Talk to people who would naturally be involved in or affected by the work of the circle. Find out whether anyone is working on the same thing or has done so in the past. Read up on any past documents created on this topic (meeting minutes, RadDish articles, wiki pages, etc.)
  3. Find at least two other people who are willing to start the circle with you. Roles can arise and change according to the circle’s needs; but you typically need people to bottom-line the following roles:
    • Convener. Puts out the call for the circle, opens meetings, communicates on behalf of the circle.
    • Facilitator. Conducts circle meetings so they run smoothly and productively.
    • Scribe. Takes and posts meeting notes, sends out meeting announcements, manages the mailing list and Facebook page for the circle (if any).
    These jobs can be shared and may rotate. For example, the role of facilitator can be shared among several members of the circle.
  4. Choose a time and date for the first meeting of the circle.
  5. Write a call that identifies the group’s intention (also called mission or purpose) and invites others to attend the meeting and/or join the group. Be sure to include a way for people who cannot be physically present to participate, such as Skype or FreeConferenceCall.com. Contact the Corporate Secretary (currently Mugwort) for Skype account information.
  6. Post the call online in the following places (and others as appropriate):
    __CoCo email list___
    _Nomenus Rising email list__
    __Nomenus Rising Facebook page__
    __Wolf Creek Sanctuary Facebook page__
  7. At the first few meetings, use informal discussion and consensus to decide on the following points. Remember that all of these can be modified later; all you need for now is something to get started with.
    Intention (“Why are we here?”)
    Tasks (“What will be the ongoing responsibilities of this circle?”)
    Goals (“What are some specific things we want to accomplish? How will we know if we’re succeeding?”)
    Vision (“How will Nomenus and the rest of the world be different when we are wildly successful?”)
    Relationships (“What other circles and individuals will we need to rely on and work with? Whom does our work affect?”)
    Priorities (“What are we going to focus on first?”)
    Circle name
    Meeting time and frequency
  8. Create a __Nomenus Wiki__ page, a Google Group email list, a Google Docs folder, and/or a Facebook page for the circle.
  9. Add people to your lists or groups who have come to the meetings or responded to the call.
  10. Add upcoming meetings to the Google Calendar.
  11. Be sure to take minutes at each meeting. Keep minutes as Google documents in your circle’s Google Docs folder.
  12. Post meeting announcements and links to minutes to the circle’s mailing list and Facebook page.

Edited by StellaMarisPDX on Feb 17, 2014 7:54 pm