We help grow the co-op economy by enabling co-ops to cooperate with each other.
Co-op Data Club is itself a co-op co-owned by three stakeholder groups:
co-ops, individuals and workers. Each elects one third of the seats in the board of directors. All members have one vote. The stakeholder groups are described below.
Any co-op can join the Coop Data Club directory. To receive voting rights in the club board elections the co-op must promote at least one other club member co-op once a year.
Anyone can join the Coop Data Club co-owned email list. To receive voting rights they must have opened most of the emails the club has sent them in the last year.
Anyone can help out with developing the club and submit a worker membership request that must be approved by each stakeholder group in a membership vote.
The Point System
We plan to implement a system by which members can earn points by supporting other co-ops. We have not yet set in stone the details of the system and would be more than happy to hear your ideas, but below is a preliminary four phase plan.
OTHER POTENTIAL FUTURE IDEAS
There are countless opportunities for future directions for the club. Here are just some of the many ideas we have had: but we are most excited about getting others involved and engaged with their own ideas. As a co-op ourselves, the decisions are made democratically by the members and we encourage you to never hesitate to propose new ideas on how we can better enable cooperation between co-ops.
CO-OP AD BANNERS
Co-ops could add a banner to their website which would display advertisements from other co-ops.
REVIEWING GOODS AND SERVICES
Co-ops could use the club to send people free samples or give them a free trial of a service if they commit to answering a survey to review the product or the service.
Alongside fundraising campaigns and events, one type of promotion we want to see the club enable are coupon codes.
Ideally Coop Data Club could also act as a sort of cooperatively owned co-op coupon code site. The clubs co-owned newsletter could advertise coupon codes of co-ops to the individual members, and the more codes the member uses, the larger portion of the advertising earnings they receive as a dividend. This would be almost like a “cross-cooperative” dividend system where members could earn money (or perhaps access to more exclusive offers?) by trying out offers from many different co-ops.
RECIPROCAL PROMOTION CIRCLES
“We promote your co-op, you promote our co-op” type of arrangements. One option could be to form “promotion circles”. For example, 13 Scottish co-ops could form a “Scottish co-ops circle” by promoting one another co-op in the circle in each of their monthly newsletter until everyone in the circle has promoted everyone else after a year.
CREATING A GLOBAL
Co-op Data Club resembles one of countless opportunities in building a global cooperative brand.
To illustrate what makes these opportunities unprecedented, let’s use the example of documentary films that mention cooperatives. There are already notable examples of this. For example, both Michael Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story” and Ross Ashcroft’s “Four Horsemen” have a segment specifically about worker cooperatives. The Four Horsemen has 9.4 million views on YouTube alone and Moore’s film had risen to the 16th most popular documentary film of all time just five years after its release in 2014.
However, the films provide viewers with little help on how to participate in the cooperative movement, apart from perhaps convincing some of the most inspired viewers to start a worker cooperative. On the other hand, if a documentary were to include a mention of a global online cooperative like Resonate or Coop Data Club that all or a large portion of the viewers can join by making only a few clicks, a magnitudes higher portion of the viewers will become part of the movement as a result of watching the film.
Global online cooperation removes and reduces barriers for participation for people who hear about the cooperative movement, and it creates new incentives for cross-cooperation in telling more people about the movement. For example, let’s imagine that two people, one in Barcelona and another in Warsaw watch a documentary film that mentions two restaurant co-ops, one in Barcelona and another in Delhi. Even if both are inspired by the film, only the one in Barcelona can visit one of the restaurants, and neither can visit the one in Delhi. However, if they watch a film about Resonate and Coop Data Club, both can join and start using the services of both of the cooperatives by making only a few clicks. This creates unprecedented incentives for cooperatives to cooperate on creating such films.
To illustrate this dynamic, I used the example of documentary films, but this applies to other types of content as well, including podcasts and blogs. Global online cooperatives possess unprecedented incentives to cooperate with each other on creating and sponsoring online content with a global reach. There are new exciting opportunities in building “brand”, “narrative” or “label” common to cooperatives globally. Compared to other businesses, cooperatives are in a unique position to pursue this, because they do not have to start from scratch. International Cooperative Alliance is already the largest democratic membership organisation in the world, with member cooperatives being part of the everyday life of countless ordinary people across the world. There is no ” International Shareholder Owned Business Alliance” – coop movement have massive global networks its competitors don’t, and we are now in an age where it provides unprecedented opportunities for more mutually beneficial cooperation.
However, this can be far greater than simply a “brand” that generates positive connotation in the mind of the consumer – it can revitalise one of the largest mass movements in human history that is based on making a tangible positive contribution by shaping the economic, material reality closer towards our shared ideals as moral human beings.