Starting a New Group

Starting an IONS Community Group may well be one of the most exciting things you will ever do! You will be creating a space where like minded people can explore more deeply ideas that some rarely find a time or a place to address.

Many IONS Community Group members say that their meetings are one of the few places in their lives where they can gather for conversations that matter. One of the great joys of an IONS Community Group is that it is participatory. Group members often choose dialog themes for their meetings and formats for their gatherings in shared leadership.

Groups range in size from as few as five or six people who gather on a regular (and sometimes irregular) basis to share in dialog, to much larger groups which may offer monthly speakers to large audiences and be the "umbrella" for smaller, more intimate group gatherings focused on a particular topic. You and your group members will find a format that fits your needs and style.

Steps to Starting a Group

  1. Read the complete "Starting a Group" section of this website, including the FAQs below, as well as the Community Group Coordinators’ Handbook.

    The handbook was created to support and help you as you initiate your group, and as it develops. Most of the material has been contributed by Coordinators and their group members. The "Getting Started" section of the handbook suggests ways you can develop a vision and a focus for your group, how you can contact prospective members, and how to plan for and facilitate your first meeting.

  2. When you are ready to start the group, either call (707) 779-8216 or email Andrea Livingston, who will guide the next steps and get your group onto the website.

So go ahead, "take the plunge" and start a group of your own! We are here ready to help make it, as we said at the beginning, one of the most exciting and rewarding things you will ever do!

Frequently Asked Questions About Starting a Group

Is there a fee involved in starting a Community Group?

There is no required fee. Rather, each group individually decides on the level of donation they would like to gift to IONS each year. The donations received  are of great importance to the thriving and support of community groups, and also support frontier research and education. 

back to top

Can anyone participate in my group?

In general, yes. We expect groups to be formed by an IONS member who serves as the Coordinator to foster inquiry, dialog, networking, and community building among interested individuals. The Coordinator should encourage individuals who are not familiar with us to visit the IONS website to learn about the work of the Institute and also to sign up for our eNewsletters.

back to top

What should we call our group?

While many groups operate without a formal name, you may choose to come up with a creative name for your group that incorporates your area and affiliation with IONS. For example, the Sacramento group calls itself "SacIONS." You might also like to use a more generic title such as "The Nashville IONS Community Group." Some groups refer to themselves as "study" or "discussion" groups, depending on their specific focus. Please do not use "IONS" as the first word in your group name as this will negatively impact our ranking in search engines. And please do not use the full name of the Institute of Noetic Sciences anywhere in your group name. For additional information on naming conventions please see the Community Group Coordinators’ Handbook.

back to top

Can Community Groups use IONS’ nonprofit mailing permit or logo?

Because local groups are legally and financially independent of IONS, they are not sheltered by our nonprofit status and are not eligible to use our nonprofit mailing permit or logo.

back to top

Can local groups use IONS’ name for advertising purposes?

We ask that you use your individual group name, not the Institute’s name, when advertising or sponsoring special events. For example, "The Little Rock IONS Community Group invites you to its first meeting," not "The Institute of Noetic Sciences invites you to a local meeting in Little Rock." This is especially important when advertising public events and on your website.

back to top

Publishing Information About Your Group

An example to use when publishing information:

"[Group Name] serves members and friends of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, a nonprofit organization dedicated to research and education on consciousness, human potential, and personal and social transformation. [Group Name] is wholly independent of the Institute and is legally and financially responsible for its own activities."

The second sentence is the more important of the two and we ask that you try to incorporate it into all your written materials.

back to top

Using the IONS Web Site for Your Community Group

Community Group Coordinators can use this web site to do the following:

  • Create a homepage and login for their group (contact Andrea Livingston at if your group isn't listed)
  • Post your meetings online for visters of the site to see
  • Download media on topics to share at meetings
  • Find research to stimulate group discussion at meetings
  • For full capacities of what can be done on the website, please see the page Leader Help Videos for Website

back to top

Posting your group's events on

We currently do not post community group events to the events calendar. We recommend using a site such as, to which we can link from your community group network page. Please review your community group page in the global directory and make sure we have all the correct information, including any other sites where you currently list your events (MeetUp, Facebook, your own website, etc). Send changes to Andrea Livingston at

back to top

What if my contact information changes, someone new begins coordinating the group, or the group discontinues?

Please send changes to Andrea Livingston at It is extremely important that we keep our records current so members and interested newcomers can access accurate information. In addition, if your contact information is not correct, you may miss important updates, supply mailings and access to potential new members for your group.