Meetings That Rock!

Having good meetings can make a huge impact on the satisfaction members have with their coop, and can also be a powerful way of encouraging deeper involvement from all of your membership. NASCO has worked with groups across the continent for over thirty years, and has also cultivated connections with the broader cooperative and non-profit sector, and has used these connections to build excellent training materials for groups looking to improve their meetings.

Safe Space: A Tool for Allowing Deep and Consensed Dialogue

You can use this tool creatively, adapting the intensity of the 4 basic principles to different situations, depending on the level of risk being taken in each setting. Some components of these tools may be inappropriate for some settings, and invaluable in others. The more personal risk involved, the more carefully you want to frame the space at the outset, because a secure anchor is the only thing that will enable a process to fly to the heights of its potential.

NASCO Board Meeting Process

The following approach to facilitation and decision-making outlined in this document is a modified consensus process which came out of the June 2006 NASCO Board meeting after a good deal of discussion and experimentation with different meeting processes. The process outlined below is something of a hybrid, which attempts to combine some of the clarity and formality of Roberts Rules with the participatory and flexible nature of consensus processes.

Basics of Consensus

A decision-making process that many co-ops use is consensus. Consensus is a process of building united judgment whose purpose is not to avoid conflict but to bring out all opinions and perspectives. Each position has a responsibility to present facts and perceptions which are not being considered, to explain her or his position clearly and rationally, and to question the other positions so as to reach full understanding of their positions.

Board Member Roles and Responsibilities

Coops, like many non-profits, often have their board members come from a layperson background.  While we typically use this as a strength, allowing for ordinary people to become involved and gain skills through service to their community, there are certain duties which are nearly universally required of board members.  Fortunately, these duties are common-sense enough that they are approachable by anyone. This document is the written portion of a workshop presented by NASCO staff to member coops about how new board members can approach their roles on the board, and make sure to keep up with