Madison Principles

NWCDC subscribes to The Madison Principles: Professional Standards for Cooperative Development Practitioners
Written by the members of CooperationWorks!
in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1995 and revised in 2005

  1. Declare Conflicts of Interest: Co-operative developers 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: Co-operatives 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 co-operative’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 co-operative responds to its unique economic, social and cultural context; as a consequence, each co-operative is different.
  9. Make Co-op to Co-op Connections: Co-operative developers link emerging co-operatives with established co-operatives to facilitate mutual communication and learning.
  10. Promote Social and Economic Empowerment: Co-operatives are tools for development and promote social empowerment and economic goals.
  11. Understand that Co-operatives Work Everywhere: Applied appropriately, co-operatives have value to all population groups and for all businesses and services in the public and private sectors.
  12. Our Vision of the Co-operative Community is Global: Opportunities for human co-operation exist throughout the world. Co-operative development transcends national boundaries.

These principles are meant to guide both the steering committee and the professional developer.

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