Victoria Morris

Victoria Morris

Friday, 18 February 2022 23:21

Why Supporting Co-ops is Important!

In the modern era, where people (especially in urban areas) have a choice of product/service providers, the rationale to be a member and keep an existing co-op going can sometimes be murky for members and potential members. Co-operatives need to be able to articulate why people should be a member of their co-op when they have a choice of businesses that can meet their needs.

This blog post will look at some of the reasons why members (and future members!) might choose to be part of a co-operative, some of the challenges that having competition creates for co-ops, and why it’s a great idea to be a member of and support a co-op, even if you can get your product/service elsewhere.

This may help you, dear co-operative-loving reader, to answer that question that sometimes comes up: “Why should I support a co-op, when Company X provides the same service/product – sometimes at a cheaper price?”

Many co-operatives and credit unions have recognized the need to build stronger and more intentional relationships with Indigenous people. With the launch of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a day to commemorate the legacy of residential schools and provide an opportunity for people to learn more, I have written this blog post to provide some ideas for co-ops and credit unions looking to learn more about Truth and Reconciliation.

It can be a bit daunting to figure out what to do to learn more about Truth and Reconciliation. I’m here to help you get started! That said - I’m not Indigenous. So, one of my first recommendations is to get to know Indigenous people in your area and build relationships and partnerships with Indigenous organizations as you work on Truth and Reconciliation in your co-operative or credit union. Indigenous people should be at the heart of and actively involved in your organization’s Reconciliation journey, in partnership with everyone in your co-op.

My other main recommendation (and the focus of this blog post) is to invest some time into learning more about Truth and Reconciliation. This blog post provides a listing of courses, training, reports, videos, and resources for those interested in learning more about Truth and Reconciliation. Read on to check out the list!

For years, I’d been looking for examples of co-operatives and credit unions excelling at engaging youth. It turns out, Irish credit unions are among the best in the world at attracting young members, staff, and elected officials. In 2014 I did my Master’s research on this topic, which the Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives later turned into a publication. This blog post presents some key learnings and details from that research, which I hope will provide some useful ideas for co-operatives and credit unions that want to increase youth involvement in their co-ops.

Saskatchewan has so many interesting co-operatives. I am always amazed at the many different types of co-operatives we have here. In my first blog post on this topic, we looked at several unique types of co-ops and I’m back with another list of a more different kinds of co-ops! In this blog post, we’ll take a second armchair tour of interesting and unique co-operatives found around Saskatchewan. 

There are so many interesting types of co-operatives in Saskatchewan. Of course, I love ALL co-operatives and credit unions. But there are some pretty unique co-operatives here. Since we’re all not traveling too far this year, this blog post will take you on an armchair tour of just some of these co-ops around the province that you may not have heard of before, as well as a few examples of industries that have a lot of co-operatives here. 

In my last blog post, we looked at what the main financial statement documents are and what they mean. Now that you understand what each of the financial statements are for, this blog post looks more closely at some of the items you can expect to see on the financials, and how this information can help you assess your co-operative’s financial health. 

Financial statements can help board members and managers understand your co-operative’s spending, your financial position, as well as helping boards provide oversight on the spending and financial performance of the organization. This blog post is intended to help directors that aren’t financial experts gain some introductory understanding of the main financial statements co-operatives use and to gain a few ideas of what kinds of information to look for on these statements. 

There are lots of videos out there that can help people learn about co-operatives. In this blog post, we’ll look at four types of videos that can help explain what co-operatives are, how they are different from other forms of business, what the co-operative principles are and what they mean, as well as a history of a couple of co-ops.

So you want to learn about co-operatives. What are the options? Where to start?

From introductory level co-op basics, to Masters’ degree programs, read on to learn about some Canadian (and a few international) opportunities for co-operative focused learning opportunities. There are two main approaches to learning – academic and non-academic learning. This blog post will give you some ideas about both types of learning. There is also self-guided learning, and event or course-based learning. I’ll share some examples of all these types of learning opportunities. There are lots of options out there, this blog post will offer a few ideas in each category.

So you know that member engagement in a co-operative is an important and needed focus area. But what the heck should you actually do? This blog post provides a few ideas for members of co-operatives, and a few ideas for co-operatives of what actions both can take to increase member engagement.

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