Cooperative Tool Library

Co-op type

Consumer co-ops are co-ops that are owned by the consumers.

Cooperatives, or co-ops, are organizations and businesses where members have decision-making power - versus in traditional businesses, where decisions are typically made by shareholders and investors. Members of a cooperative often come together based on a shared goal - economic, social, environmental, or cultural.

Credit unions are co-ops that provide traditional banking services, but are owned by the people who bank there.

Data co-ops are a broad category covering co-ops that run on protocols or distributed ledgers, co-ops that help other co-ops exchange data, co-ops that provide internet infrastructure, or data trusts.

Housing co-ops are co-ops that supply housing for its members, and can be both for-profit and non-profit. Housing costs are determined by the collective costs of the co-op, and shared equitably among members. (Co-op Creator)

Multi-stakeholder co-ops are co-ops that are formed and owned by two or more stakeholder groups. These groups can include workers, consumers, producers, and more.

Platform co-ops are co-ops that use a website, mobile app, or protocol to sell goods or services. The co-op and the platform are owned by workers and users.

Producer co-ops (also known as marketing co-ops) is made up of people who generally are in the same sector or conduct the same type of business. They come together to do collective marketing.

Purchasing co-ops are groups or businesses that come together to purchase services or supplies and lower operational costs.

Social co-ops are created to provide social services; its goal is to provide benefit to the community.

Worker co-ops are co-ops that are owned and run by the workers. Not every employee has to be an owner.

Stages of development

When a co-op begins to develop their organization beyond an idea: Member structure is defined, recruitment has been planned, ideas are turned into a prototype and selling mechanisms are being developed and tested. Usually at this point there are initial investors are involved.

When a co-op is comfortable and can begin thinking about expanding to have financial reserves and dividends, pursuing franchising opportunities, and more.

When a co-op is testing their business model to make sure their idea works, and starting to recruit founding members.

When a co-op becomes operational: First paying clients or members using the platform, some income coming in. Potentially some secondary capital with investor members.

When a co-op breaks even financially: Regular clients are established, cash flow stabilized and covering fixed costs, and growing into new customer segments.

Tech term

Free software is software where anyone can freely view the source code, modify it, and redistribute it. Contrary to the name, free software is not necessarily free of cost.

Open source software is software with source code that anyone can view and change. Open source software can be both paid and for free.

Proprietary software is software that only the original authors can view and modify. Proprietary software can be both paid and for free.


Accounting is the process of keeping financial accounts and records. This can include recording, measuring, and communicating your finances.

Accounting tools help you keep track of your financial accounts and records.

Bulk email tools help you send out emails to a large amount of people quickly and efficiently.

Coding is used to create websites, apps, and other technologies that we interact with.

Coding tools give you a way to write the code that builds your technology.

Collaboration tools help you and your team members work together on a specific thing more effectively.

Communication is the process of sharing or exchanging information with other people

Communication tools give you a way to talk and write to others.

Crowdfunding is raising funds for a project or organization, typically through small donations from a large amount of people. This often happens through the internet.

Crowdfunding tools help you raise money for your co-op or project online.

Customer relationship management is a type of software used to manage your organization's relationships with current and prospective customers. This usually looks like keeping track of your customer's contact information, seeing their previous transactions with you, and integrating with other related apps such as billing and payments.

Customer relationship management tools give you a way to keep track of your customers, store their contact information, and see how they've interacted with you in the past. Certain CRM tools also allow you integrate other tools, like billing and payments.

Decision making is the process and action of making decisions.

Decision making tools can help your co-op make decisions together through an online software.

Design is the process that is used to plan and define the functionality, appearance, and qualities of a certain thing. Designs are usually expressed visually, through drawings or diagrams.

Design tools give you a way of visualizing your designs.

Document editing tools allow you to write and edit. Some tools allow you to edit collaboratively with others in real time.

Document storage tools allow you to store your documents and files in a cloud storage solution.

Expense tracking tools give you a way to track all of your expenses. Some tools will allow you to add your budget, record income, and more.

Finances is anything to do with the exchange or management of money

Finance tools will help you manage your co-op's money.

Group chat tools help you form a group and chat with them.

Individual email tools help you set up an email account that you can send and receive emails at.

Marketing is the process of determining how to interest potential customers and clients for your product or service, and then selling or distributing to them.

Marketing tools help you sell or distribute your products or services to your customers.

These tools help you receive payment from your customers.

These tools help you pay your vendors and suppliers.

Payroll is a list of a company's employees and how much they are to be paid.

Payroll tools help you pay your employees on time and accurately.

Project management is the practice of planning the project, defining the boundaries of what goals and activities the project will (and won't) involve, and supporting the broader team to ensure project goals are met in a specific timeframe

Project management tools that help co-ops manage project timelines, share documents, track tasks, discuss issues, and more.

Calendar tools provide an online calendar software.

Staffing tools help you or your customers schedule an appointment or service.

Technology-building tools give you the means to design and build digital tools.

Time management is the process of managing your time in a way that is most effective to achieve your goals.

Time management tools help you better manage you and your team's time.

Time tracking tools help you keep a record of the time you're spending on a task.

Video conferencing tools help you talk to people through audio and video online.

Website builders are tools that let you build a website easily and without knowing how to code.