Is a co-operative model best for you?

Part 2 of this manual is aimed at people considering forming or joining small to medium sized co-operatives. The responsibilities, and often the financial contributions, of individual members of smaller co-operatives are far greater than those of large consumer co-operatives, where most members do little more than contribute a nominal joining fee and use the co-operative’s products or services.

If you want to be a member of a smaller co-operative, you must be able to work with the other members. You must be committed to the principle of one member, one vote. You must have the capacity to make decisions with others, communicate well, share, discuss, listen and find solutions to problems which are acceptable to all.

You must also be prepared to share the risks, responsibilities and control. You must decide what you can offer the co-operative, and then deliver.

You must have the time, drive and commitment to want the co-operative to succeed. You must provide capital. You must use the co-operative’s services. You must be able to allow, and participate in, the co-operative’s growth, and try even harder to save it if it falters.