This is a crosspost from Generocity.org. View the original post here. It’s part of a series by Philly cooperator (and PACA member) Caitlin Quigley.
These are the conclusions I’ve drawn from the first public opinion study of co-ops in more than a decade.
This is really useful information for anyone who is spreading the co-op gospel by profession, by passion, or both. To begin with, it illuminates common misunderstandings. In the survey, respondents listed Costco, AARP, and Bank of America as businesses they thought were cooperatives (they are not). Some people also thought co-ops were the same as franchises or that co-ops were secret, exclusive clubs (they are not). In fact, only 11 percent of people surveyed were able to give an accurate definition of what a co-op is.
There’s some really good news, though: 78 percent of consumers are more likely to purchase goods or services from a business that they know is a cooperative. Once people grasp the definition — that a co-op is owned and democratically controlled by its members — they prefer co-ops to conventional businesses, even across all income levels and professions.
Clearly, there’s a huge communications opportunity here. This study has revealed that once people understand what a co-op is, they are pretty much on board. The cooperative model in itself is convincing enough to change people’s behavior.