CooperationWorks! — or CW for short — is the Center of Excellence for cooperative business development. CooperationWorks! is a dynamic and innovative national cooperative created to grow the cooperative model across the United States.
The Madison Principles are professional standards for cooperative development practitioners written by the members of CooperationWorks! in Madison, Wisconsin, 1995
The Madison Principles:
- 1. Declare Conflicts of Interest: Cooperative developer subscribe to the highest level of ethics and shall declare any conflict of interest, real or perceived, so that they can be a credible source of objective feedback and an articulate advocate of the project as needed.
- 2. Develop Co-ops Using Proven Models: There are essential development steps that must be taken in a critical path to success.
- 3. Facilitate the Goals of the Steering Committee: An enthusiastic group of local, trustworthy leaders is a prerequisite for providing technical assistance. The effective cooperative developer nurtures that leadership by helping them shape a vision that will unite members and provide ongoing training.
- 4. Use a Market Driven Approach: Cooperatives only work when they are market driven; the cooperative developer works to ensure that accurate market projections precede other development steps.
- 5. Acknowledge the Importance of Member Involvement: Member control through a democratic process is essential for success. Success also depends on the commitment of the members’ time, financial resources and loyalty to the cooperative.
- 6. Seek Tangible Benefits: There must be tangible benefits for members.
- 7. Steer Toward Revenue Generation: The cooperative’s products and services must generate sufficient revenue so the effort can be financially self-sustaining. Provisions must be made to share any surplus equitably.
- 8. Honor Diversity: Each cooperative responds to its unique economic, social and cultural context; as a consequence, each cooperative is different.
- 9. Make Co-op to Co-op Connections: Cooperative developers link emerging cooperatives with established cooperatives to facilitate mutual communication and learning.
- 10.Promote Social and Economic Empowerment: Cooperatives are tools for development and promote social empowerment and economic goals.
- 11.Understand that Cooperatives Work Everywhere: Applied appropriately, cooperatives have value to all population groups and for all businesses and services in the public and private sectors.
- 12.Our Vision of the Cooperative Community Is Global: Opportunities for human cooperation exist throughout the world. Cooperative development transcends national boundaries.