According to the book A Global History of Co-operative Business, a cooperative business appears to be a member-owned business as members either work for the cooperative or consume products and services. The existence of this type of business provides more choice for members who may value the benefits of membership over the products and services. If you are planning to establish a cooperative enterprise along with other business individuals, your group must be able to create a compelling cooperative proposal. In this article, we are glad to assist you in creating a clear and effective cooperative proposal. We will discuss the different types, benefits, basic components, and steps in preparing this proposal, plus we have various downloadable cooperative proposal templates for you to use. Keep on reading!

What is a Cooperative Proposal?

A cooperative proposal is a substantial document that demonstrates cooperative goals, objectives, and plans formulated by different business individuals, participants or individual cooperators who are like-minded in the purpose of pursuing their common social and economic goals and objectives. They want to build a meaningful business partnership or collaboration project with each other by means of a jointly-owned enterprise.

There are some findings of the World Council of Credit Unions study in Williams that showcase the success and accomplishments of many cooperative firms to many people in the society. Most of them have 10% failure rates than traditional corporations or small businesses which have 60-80% failure rates after the first year and after 5 years in the business, it shows that 90% of them are still operating compared to 3-5% of traditional businesses. Thus, it is very important for aspiring business individuals who want to venture in cooperative business to develop an effective cooperative proposal.

Different Types of Cooperative Proposals

Being an alliance and a corporate vehicle, the cooperative is continuously operating in the market to offer individual participants greater opportunities in the industry. Rather than working as business individuals, many people can accomplish more goals and objectives as cooperators. That’s why it is crucial for various businesses to apply cooperation and reorganization to help their companies greatly participate in the global market business. However, what are different types of cooperative proposals that you need to create? Below are different types of cooperative proposals that you may contemplate:

1. Service Cooperative Proposal

With the aim of filling a particular need in the community, service cooperatives let consumers have the chance to supply their personal necessities, obtain bargaining power, and share earnings. As a type of consumer cooperative, this type of cooperative provides members further control over the services that are offered.  If you want to set up a cooperative for child care or health care, then we recommend that you write a service cooperative proposal. Developing an effective proposal for a service cooperative is a good way to get your cooperative project approved by investors, funders, or the management. 

2. Retail Cooperative Proposal

Erik Nordstrom, the president of Nordstrom Direct, said: “Retail is a customer business. You’re trying to take care of the customer—solve something for the customer. And there’s no way to learn that in the classroom or in the corner office, or away from the customer. You’ve got to be in front of the customer.” Often found in small communities, a retail cooperative is another type of consumer-focused cooperative which helps build retail stores to benefit the customers. Some examples of this type of cooperative are food, hardware, and movie theaters. So, create an enticing proposal for your retail cooperative enterprise. 

3. Worker Cooperative Proposal

Are you an employee of a particular business or an owner of a cooperative? Do you like to own and manage new business start-ups like cafes and bakeries? Being one of the increasingly growing segments of cooperatively owned businesses, setting up a worker cooperative firm can be a beneficial way to attain your socio-economic goals. 

4. Producer Cooperative Proposal

“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team,”said Phil Jackson. Created, operated, and owned by producers, a producer cooperative is a type of cooperative that makes producers work in harmony together or as separate business entities to support the rise of marketing possibilities and production adeptness. If you want to process, market, and distribute your products like arts and crafts along with other producers, preparing an appealing producer cooperative proposal will help your cooperative firm to become successful while minimizing the costs and strains in their corresponding areas with a mutual advantage to individual producers.

5. Housing Cooperative Proposal

Perhaps you wish to give a unique form of home ownership with other homeowners. This comes from a type of cooperative called housing cooperative. It authorizes homeowners the opportunity in sharing costs of home ownership in buildings such as single-family homes, condominiums, rentals, etc.  If you prefer to have jointly-owned housing, then we highly suggest that you prepare an impeccably-written housing cooperative proposal.

Benefits of a Cooperative Proposal

There are a wide array of benefits that every cooperative can acquire from writing a proposal. Aside from persuading the reader to accept their proposed idea, it can also help the cooperative businesses in stabilizing communities, distributing, recycling, and multiplying local expertise and capital within a community. Moreover, they allow their owners to generate income, and jobs, accumulate assets, provide affordable, quality products and services, and develop human and social capital. Below are some of the benefits of using a compelling cooperative proposal:

1. Improved Collaboration Planning

Designing a cooperative proposal is a process that will propel you to apprehend vital issues in the community and bring all your ideas together to structure a collaboration project effectively through building a cooperative business. This method may need a sufficient amount of time to ensure every phase of the project is arranged in a comprehensive plan. Thus, it can expedite improvement in the cooperative group’s collaboration planning.

2. Better Monitoring and Assessment

The primary objectives, operational activities, and anticipated results of a cooperative business are written in a cooperative proposal. With these essential details, it will help everyone in the cooperative firm in gaining the proper knowledge and insight, as well as leveling up the method of collaborative planning as they continue on monitoring and assessing the growth of their cooperative enterprise.

3. Building Solidarity

Christian Lous Lange said: “Within each such social group, a feeling of solidarity prevails, a compelling need to work together and a joy in doing so that represents a high moral value.” Due to the possibility of diverse opinions and comments from each member when it comes to reaching a specific goal of the group, recording each information that they want to share and execute through proposal writing can be valuable to help the members of the cooperative to remain on the same page. So, this cooperative proposal will establish solidarity and make things easy to discuss with your team.

4. Reduce Potential Risks

Some teams, business firms, and organizations encounter some issues that can be risky. A superbly-written cooperative proposal will help the management, committee, business executives, administrators, or the business individuals who will receive your proposal to discern that your cooperative firm can reduce potential risks in the community. Thus, indicate the risks and explain how your cooperative firm will apply several preventative measures to help others to recover.

4. Define the Purpose

Mark Weinmberger said: “”People want to do well and do good. They want to understand how they’re making a difference in the world. Things change all the time, but your organization’s purpose transcends any individual product or service.” When you create your cooperative  proposal, define the purpose of your business by explaining the reason why your team wants to establish a cooperative firm. In this way, you will also help yourself and your respective members to throw light on your purpose and concentrate on the direction based on what has been indicated in the proposal. Plus, it will inspire the cooperative team to fulfill their goals.

Basic Components of a Cooperative Proposal 

In this section, you will learn how to craft a wonderfully-written cooperative proposal if you want to draw the attention of the readers of your proposal which include the executives, management, committee, administrators, investors, funders, and many others. However, a proposal contains different kinds of components. Take into account of the following elements for you to create a remarkable document:

Abstract: The most integral component of a cooperative proposal is the abstract. It presents a dynamic statement as it unveils the main idea, purpose, primary objectives, and target needs of the cooperative enterprise. Main Activities, Projects and Methodology: Describe the main activities, tasks, events, and other projects involved inside the cooperative enterprise, as well as the notable individuals who are responsible for working on them. Construct a clear timeline of tasks and other methods that will be implemented by designing charts and tables. This will assist you in demonstrating additional details accurately. Brevity: Point out the significant pieces of information. Do your best writing your document concisely by including both short words and short sentences. Keep it as concise as possible but refrain from eradicating worthwhile components. Alternatively, omit the use of ambiguous words that are off the point of your cooperative proposal. Professionalism: While preparing your cooperative proposal, you need to keep up the professional tone of the document, and avoid making it sound casual. Maintain a friendly tone with a sufficient balance of business formality. Be mindful, rational, and honorable.

How to Create a Cooperative Proposal

In order to promote community growth, setting up a cooperative business will likely stay in the community to help many local residents. Indeed, many cooperatives nurture a long-term vision to enable sustainability in economic growth, social development, and environmental accountability. Aside from constructing an elevator pitch in proposal writing, a cooperative proposal form can effectively outline what your cooperative team’s goal and aspiration is all about. Plus, it can describe what makes your cooperative enterprise worthwhile to the community. In this matter, we suggest that you follow the simple steps below while freely using one of our cooperative proposal templates in this article:

Step 1: Establish Clear Goals, and Definite Objectives

The book Goal Setting: How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Goals explained that “only a small percentage of people have specific, well-defined goals and people who most frequently reach their goals are those who write them down and develop the plans to reach them.” One of the primary factors that you need to consider in creating a cooperative proposal is establishing clear goals, and definite objectives for your collaboration project. Think consciously about the things you prioritize in your cooperative firm and your vision in fulfilling your goals and objectives.

Step 2: Include a Clear Summary of the Collaboration Project

Your cooperative proposal should include a simple and clear summary of the collaboration project. James Cash Penney said: “The best teamwork comes from men who are working independently toward one goal in unison.” So, describe each of the corresponding ideas of your business partners, and the overall design of the cooperative enterprise your team wants to carry out. When writing this part, you should consider your readers in mind. Avoid using fancy words in your proposal. The critical point here is you should fully represent and describe all ideas of the cooperators about the cooperative firm you want to set up. 

Step 3: Explain the Shared Purpose

When you’re surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible,”said Howard Schultz of Starbucks. Thus, explain thoroughly the shared purpose of your cooperative firm in a way that can easily be perceived by your readers. Discuss clearly about why your cooperative team introduced the new joint project.

Step 4: Provide Comprehensive Action Plans and Budget

After designating the direction for effective collaboration, provide comprehensive action plans and align them with your business partners, and practices according to a shared purpose. Communicate well with each business cooperator or  participant as you determine fundamental solutions to potential issues associated with your cooperative enterprise and implement them. Then, make an estimate of the financial budget of the collaboration project that your cooperative wants to venture by providing a run-down of the cost for the cooperative enterprise. 

Step 5: Highlight the Value

The next step is to highlight the unique value of your cooperative business firm and showcase the value and significance. Assure that your cooperative business can positively impact many people and support their needs and preferences.  This is a pivotal point for many business firms and organizations as they are more likely  to work with business firms with the aim of developing a product or service that has a significant effect on many people in the society. 

Step 6: Prepare the Final Draft

Last but not the least, prepare the final draft of your cooperative proposal that consists of organized and compelling information about your pitch. You may also attach any supporting documents to further clarify the purpose of your cooperative firm. Set up a meeting with the participants along with the management, committee, or the people who will receive your cooperative proposal. Then, ask for some help from your business partners in the cooperative firm for necessary proofreading and revision of your document so that you can submit your proposal correctly.


What are the different types of cooperatives?

The different types of cooperatives are service cooperatives, producer cooperatives, retail cooperatives, housing cooperatives, worker cooperatives, and hybrid cooperatives. 

What are the fundamental elements of the cooperative proposal?

When preparing your cooperative proposal, you need to consider these fundamental elements such as a brief description of a problem or issue, a simple overview of the cooperative business firm, clear description of methods and solutions, the financial budget, purpose, significance, potential benefits, references, and citations.

Some recommended topics for writing a proposal are arts, business, culture, design, education, environment, fashion, health, lifestyle, sports, and technology. Also, you may have some time to research some trending concepts linked to these topics. 

What are the significant principles of a cooperative?

The significant principles of a cooperative business are autonomy and independence, economic participation of the members, cooperation among cooperatives, concern for the community, open and voluntary membership, and sufficient education and training. 

What are the primary sections of a proposal?

The primary sections of a proposal are technical, management, and financial budget. The technical section focuses on assuring the reader that the one who sends the proposal understands the necessities of the client and develops an effective approach or innovative solution which can largely generate advantages. Then, the management section provides the description of main activities and tasks, deliverables, schedule of the project, etc. On the other hand, the financial budget simply informs about the overall cost of the project.

Irene Rosenfeld of Mondel?z said: “Our business success is directly linked to enhancing the well-being of the people who make and enjoy our products and to supporting the communities where we grow our ingredients.”  If you want to aim on helping many people through your cooperative business, we recommend that you write a clear and structured proposal for your cooperative enterprise. As many cooperatives contribute to the sustainable economic growth and stable employment, studies have shown that 280 million people across the globe or about 10% of the world’s employed population have the opportunity of getting various jobs.  Before your cooperative firm sows the seeds for success, please follow the aforementioned tips and steps in this article so that you are able to craft a one-of-a-kind cooperative proposal. Plus, download our free cooperative proposal samples here today!