What Makes Co-ops Different?

Coop sign

Seven principles set co-ops apart from other businesses, organizations, and housing communities.

  1. Voluntary: Cooperatives consist of voluntary members and are open to any people who are willing to accept its terms, without discrimination.

  2. Democratic: Members control the cooperative, making business choices and forming policies.

  3. Economic: Members benefit economically in proportion to the business they conduct with the co-op, and capital is democratically controlled.

  4. Autonomy: Cooperatives function on their own, controlled by their own members, not by external forces.

  5. Education: Members of cooperatives are trained to be able to effectively work with and understand the cooperative.

  6. Cooperation: Cooperatives support and do business with other co-ops as much as possible.

  7. Community: Cooperatives work to benefit the larger community as well as their members' needs.

How members benefit

Co-ops are focused on serving and helping members. Making a profit is not the only priority; serving our members is the focus of the business. More traditional organizations have to consider the demands of their owners or shareholders to generate dividends, but co-ops can directly address their customers’ needs without feeling the pressure of these other priorities.