Solidarity cooperatives were given legal recognition in Quebec in 1997. By 2012, 579 solidarity cooperatives were registered with the then Ministère du développement économique, de l'innovation et de l'exportation. Drawing from the decade-long history of this cooperative model and three case studies, this article gathers qualitative and quantitative data in order to identify symptomatic practices woven into the organization’s culture and operations, diagnose best and worst practices and propose corrective strategies.
Many cooperatives want members to engage more, and seek to increase input, communication, discussion, and “sense of ownership.” This short memo suggests the best way to achieve this is to reverse the goal, and find ways for the cooperative to engage more with members’ lives and the things that matter to them. In general, a plan for increasing member engagement should find an activity that will have broad appeal to members’ existing motivations, increase their ability to do the activity, and build triggers and rewards to cue and incentivize action.