Sat 26 Jun 2021

Examples of multi-stakeholder coops that include an NGO as a stakeholder class?

ZFC Zev Friedman, Co-operate WNC Public Seen by 125

Hi folks, I'm in North Carolina in the U.S., so I know there are alot of distinctions between the macro-systems alot of you in the UK are working within and what we are working within. Nonetheless, I'm looking for examples of governance, internal agreements and legal arrangements for multi-stakeholder coops that we can learn from as our mutual aid network Cooperate WNC creates a "cooperative" bulk purchasing alliance among our member communities, roughly modeled after the Community Purchasing Alliance in Washington, D.C.. We are designing the bulk purchasing alliance to be a revenue generator for the larger mutual aid network, to help fund the network's other programs and activities, so we don't want the purchasing alliance to only be a worker-coop which would distribute all of its surplus to its workers. But we want power and benefit to be shared among the different classes of members, which will likely include 1) purchasers; 2) workers; 3) Cooperate WNC the mutual aid network NGO; 4) major producers of regenerative foods, biodegradable cleaning supplies, solar equipment, farming supplies, who sell to the purchasing alliance. Thanks for any thoughts, resources, connections you might offer that could help us understand what people have tried and what has worked or failed.


Nathan Brown (Co-op Culture) Mon 28 Jun 2021

If it is only one NGO rather than NGOs plural, one approach that some mult-stakeholder co-ops have used is to have a preserved Board position in your governance set-up. i.e. a Director nominated from a named organisation - the NGO. In some instances co-operative organisations have created such positions as a "custodian trustee" to safeguard the mission/purpose. Custodian Trustees also have the power to veto changes to the governing document that form a significant underpinning aspect of the co-op e.g. the Objects.


Zev Friedman, Co-operate WNC Thu 1 Jul 2021

@Nathan Brown (Co-op Culture) this is very helpful thank you. Do you have any specific examples you can direct me to, individuals who you might introduce me to whom are involved, and/or versions of operating agreements/bylaws that create this kind of arrangement?


Nathan Brown (Co-op Culture) Tue 6 Jul 2021

The arrangement is usually in the governing document rather than bylaws. An organisation recently registered (although technically not a multi-stakeholder co-op) with Custodian Trustees is People Powered Retrofit. Governing doc can be found here: https://mutuals.fca.org.uk/Search/Society/30944 (See Rule 74). I'm struggling to think of the name of other examples but I know that this approach was used by some "externalisations" from local authorities in the 1990s in social care sector - the local authority having ongoing oversight.


Billy Smith Thu 1 Jul 2021

Your project looks interesting and worthwhile. :D

One thing that i would suggest, both when working with single/multiple NGO's, and when working with people in general, is to make sure that you are all working from the same base shared model of reality.

This is a problem that is explicitly addressed in http://resiliencemaps.org/

One of the problems in disaster relief is Too Many Cooks With Their Own Internal Agenda's causing distractions from the actual work.

By having a simple shared base map, it becomes easier to see when groups are not working directly to solve the actual problems, as their actions will not match what they are supposed to be doing.

This also requires complete transparency, so that everyone taking part can see what everyone else is doing. This will also reduce the effects of internal bad actors, whether caused by dishonesty or incompetence.

You may also want to think about how the processes that you end up using, can be turned into repeatable patterns, so that whether you end up with Albert Einstein or Homer Simpson in the roles, the tasks will still be done effectively. :D

Looking forward to seeing your work succeed. :D


Zev Friedman, Co-operate WNC Thu 1 Jul 2021

thanks @Billy Smith I'm actually not seeing the part of the resilience mapping approach that addresses too many cooks with agendas, which you referred to, in an obvious place via the link you shared. Can you direct me to any writing/tools specific to that theme? Thank you!


Billy Smith Thu 1 Jul 2021

Sorry about that, I thought it was explicitly stated in there.

The situation is described as "Goat Rodeo".

http://vinay.howtolivewiki.com/blog/other/the-goat-rodeo-complexdifficult-situation-scale-2064 :D


Zev Friedman, Co-operate WNC Thu 1 Jul 2021

@Billy Smith this is hilarious and helpful thank you. But how to actually deal with the wicked problem in a new way once one has run from the goat rodeo into the thick surrounding forest?


Billy Smith Thu 1 Jul 2021

Sorry, replied to the main thread, and not the direct comment.

( Also ,Loomio doesn't seem to allow me to add images.

Might be my machine. Test later. )


Billy Smith Thu 1 Jul 2021

This is why the simplest shared map is important.

Once you have all agreed on what the base Problems-To-Be-Solved are, then it's easier to see what the required actions should be.

For example, the Resilience Maps approach is to statistically look at the major causes of death, and how the different levels of infrastructure can be used to avoid them, depending upon the level of focus that you are working on.

Solutions that work effectively for an individual may not be as cost-effective when you try to scale up to a family-, a village- or a city-sized scale, so when you are changing frmo one scale to another, a different solution could be more cost-effective.

It's always worth thinking in terms of Energy-Cost, and not just financial costs, as different solutions will give widely varying results, in terms of desired outputs, and "externalities to be worked around".

The advice that comes from Vinay and Lucas, was born from their painful experiences of the "Goat Rodeo's" found in disaster relief planning.

One of the problems that they faced was that each NGO that joined had their own agenda, that wasn't necessarily aligned with the overall aims of the disaster relief efforts, so they wasted a lot of energy on their own pet projects, instead of working towards the group efforts.

This problem crops up a LOT when working with bureaucracies... :D


Billy Smith Wed 7 Jul 2021

An larger discussion about the same issues can be found here,


"one idea: we organise it around the full 18 point http://resiliencemaps.org model.

hot, cold, hunger, thirst, illness, injury,

group: communications, transport, workspace, resource control,

org: shared map, plan and succession model

state: legal jurisdiction, identity database, map of claimed lands, effective organisations, international recognition."