What is a Co-op? (Part 3)

Welcome to Collective Interchange’s third and final installment of our series breaking down the principles of co-operatives (our first two posts can be found here and here).

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Principle 6: Co-operation among co-operatives

In a co-op: Co-operatives prioritize support of other co-ops working on a regional, national, and international level. This support takes many forms: advocacy, in-kind support, financial contributions, etc.  Co-operatives focus on strengthening their collective mission through supporting co-ops and other community economic development organizations.

In a non-profit: Nonprofits often network with organizations that share their goals, but often must compete for clients and for limited funds, forcing difficult decisions about where to prioritize community services.

In a business: Businesses compete against one another to ensure higher quality products/services at a lower cost.

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Principle 7: Concern for the community

In a business: There is generally no economic motivation to show concern for the community, but corporate culture and business ethics play a large role in a business’ community practices, making its decisions largely discretionary. Concern for the community is at the discretion of the owners and not their organizational structrure.

In a non-profit: The nonprofit is dedicated to working towards community benefit, often through helping individuals in a niche area such as disability or mental illness.

In a co-op: A co-op is dedicated to working towards community development through a broad and holistic lens which integrates the well-being of individuals, enterprises, and the community as a whole. In some co-ops (like Collective Interchange!) members participate in the community in multiple ways (such as involvement in a community nonprofit).

This marks the end of our three part series on what a co-op is, and we hope that you’ve gained a better understand of how co-ops work and what makes Collective Interchange tick!

Visit us on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram to learn more about us. Stay tuned for next week’s blog post, where we will share an interview with Glen Fitzpatrick, Managing Director of the Newfoundland-Labrador Federation of Co-operatives.

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