1. Voluntary and Open Membership
While credit unions have defined market demographics for their field of membership, the cooperative principle of Voluntary and Open Membership speaks to the idea that all qualified consumers are welcome, embraced, and valued. You own, by simply participating. Your challenges mirror those of your peers, and your life dreams are welcome here. By pooling the challenges of all members, we can innovate together, building solutions that help everyone succeed.
2. Democratic Member Control
Credit union members enjoy equal voting rights, and the men and women who serve as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. The power of ownership is at its strongest when members experience the democratic process and understand that they have a voice in the governance and direction of the credit union.
3. Member Economic Participation
Via their elected representatives, members have control over how the cooperative’s capital is used – for developing the cooperative, paying dividends, or supporting any other activities agreed upon by the members. The power of that ownership is amplified when the member owner is paid in dollar and cents. Are you reinforcing the value of ownership by paying a return that is clearly defined as an ownership dividend?
4. Autonomy and Independence
Cooperatives value the autonomy and independence of their communities and the rights of members to be individuals, unique within the cooperative. The common bond is at its strongest when its members see diversity as strength. “We” are our community and our community values individuals and their dreams.
5. Education, Training and Information
The power of ownership is the ability to gain insight into how cooperative businesses work, so that members can become better buyers and better owners of cooperative services. Cooperatives – credit unions – educate members to see the value from both sides of the table. Education is a foundation, and life learning for all participants of the cooperative is the goal. Cooperatives educate their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so that everyone can contribute to making the cooperative stronger. They inform the public – particularly young people and opinion leaders – about the nature and benefits of cooperation.
6. Cooperation among Cooperatives
Cooperatives can serve their member owners best by working together – locally, regionally, and nationally – and by encouraging all participants to default to collaborative responses when approaching business problems.
7. Concern for Community
Communities are not just defined by geography! Today “community” is used to represent a common mindset, affiliation, or any other way in which people identify with each other. This principle speaks to a respect for peers who share common goals, challenges, or opportunities, and who choose to work together toward everyone’s success. Cooperatives wear their community pride for everyone to see!
How Did You Do?
Your total points from each section are listed below. Realize there could be a myriad of other activities that qualify for the cooperative principles. If you have suggestions for additional criteria for a future Cooperative Score Self Assessment, submit them using the Contact form after you submit your survey.
The max possible points total on this assessment is 116.
|Your Score||How You Did|
|More than 104 points||Congratulations, you are a shining example of a true cooperative.|
|80-103 points||Not bad, not bad at all. You are doing well.|
|58-79 points||Need to work a little more on your core cooperative values. |
Step 1: find someone who scored higher than you and ask how they did it.
|Less than 58 points||You are a cooperative right?|
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