Cooperatives are not for profit businesses run for their members by their members, with the aim of providing access to affordable goods and service. All members have an opportunity for input in the running of the co-op and decisions are made by consensus.
Frequently asked Questions
How are decisions made at Source?All decisions relating to Source are made using a consensus-decision making at Source board meetings, which currently occur once a fortnight. Because board members have different skills and meeting time can be scarce, sometimes individual members take on responsibility to progress individual projects on their own, but agree to put major decisions before the board. There is a balancing act between ensuring decisions are democratic and ensuring people have enough freedom to get things done in a timely way.
- What does the board do?
The board takes responsibility for ensuring that the co-op meets it's legal and financial obligations, and appoints any paid staff of the co-operative. They also discuss the strategic direction of the organization. Positions include the chair, the secretary, the treasurer and board members who take responsibility for education, social events, garden management and liaison with stakeholders. Board members have an obligation to attend most meetings.
Tasks undertaken by the board during 2009-2010, have included:
- Reaffirming the direction and aims of Source
- Negotiating lease and insurance details with the university
- Preparing and submitting an auditted financial report to the Department of Justice
- Organising contractors to carry out work on the site
- Organising a website for Source
- Business plan formation
- Organising fundraiser events
- Running working bees.
3. How can non board members contribute to the project?
At present the main way for non board members to contribute is to help out with events like the Winter Feast, attend working bees, or become a shop volunteer. They can also take on an individual project, as long as they defer to the board for major decisions. Non board members can also fill "support" roles to assist board members with day to day management tasks.
5. What if I am not happy with a decision the board has taken?
You can contact the board through firstname.lastname@example.org, or directly ask a board member to express your concern. The board will consider the issue you raise and incorporate it into our decision making. You are also welcome to attend a board meeting to discuss the issue.
6. How do I become a board member?
Usually board members are elected at Annual General Meetings. however when board members resign, the remaining members can chose new members. If you are interested in being on the board of Source, please feel free to attend board meetings to familiarize yourself with our organization, or contact one of the existing board members through email@example.com.
The board will endeavour to have a mix of skills and experience. Positions will be accessible to anyone with the right sense of right sense of responsibility, commitment and willingness to learn meeting processes and communication skills, regardless of their previous experience.
Qualities of a board member:
- Tolerance of other people's views
- Ability to listen
- Having the best interests of Source at heart
- A well developed sense of responsibility and the ability to follow through on commitments
- An understanding of the aims and objectives of the Source cooperative
- An understanding of the ethics of co-operative organisations.