One of the key benefits of being a member-owner of Artisans Cooperative is the ability to submit proposals to the Coop. In this post, we’ll introduce our Member Proposals Program.
“Proposals” could be anything, big or small, that help to improve the Coop and further our mission. They could be policies, more programs, suggestions, or fun things that help us build our community.
Our proposals program needed at least three things:
- A way for any member to submit a well-thought-through proposal
- A collaborative, two-way conversational system for discussing (and improving) proposals within our community
- A screening process to ensure that only important, member-approved proposals proceed to the board for further review
In the beginning of the research process, Team Governance looked into several options for the proposal system. One option is a tool called Loomio that is tailor-made for this kind of system. We decided that the cost of the software would be better allocated to marketing and launching the marketplace, but we hope to move the proposal system to Loomio in the future once we are steadily earning revenue.
While the co-op is still young, we’re relying on our existing systems and member activity hours to run this proposal program.
This is our proposals system:
To make a proposal, submit your idea using the Jotform link provided to members. The form will guide you through everything the member needs to think through, including:
- What is the proposal?
- How does this help the Artisans Co-op community? Or what problem does this solve for the co-op?
- Why is this proposal necessary?
- What are the pros and cons (include your research if relevant)?
- Are there any alternative approaches we could consider?
- How much time will it take to implement?
- How much will it cost?
- Which team(s) would need to oversee this proposal?
- How will we know if this is successful? How will we measure it?
- Any additional comments?
Proposal submissions will be auto-posted to our member-only Discord channel, which is a free place where we can host a many-way conversation, debate, and discussion about the proposal. The discussions and comments will inform board review if it proceeds. On Discord, we will also host an informal voting system on whether the proposal should proceed to the board through the use of emoji reactions:
⬆️ Upvote: The member approves the proposal and wants it to proceed
⬇️ Downvote: The member disagrees with the proposal and does not want it to proceed
If the proposal receives a “significant” approval rating from the members it will proceed to the board for review. We are currently defining “significant” as a number of upvotes equal to at least 25% of the members signed up with Discord at that time (rounded up to the nearest whole number: as of this writing, that would be 8 out of 31 members on our Discord, even though there are 100+ co-op members).
All the comments and debate – along with the number of downvotes – will be included in the proposal information for the board to review if it proceeds.
We recognize that not all of our members are on Discord – nor would all sign up for a new platform like Loomio. To make sure members off of Discord are informed, we will announce the latest proposals in our regular member communications and email newsletters. If members wish to get involved in the debate and vote for (or against) a proposal, they will need to join the Discord to do so. (Joining our Discord is free, and we have posted an introductory how-to guide.)
Proposals will remain open on Discord for a minimum of 5 days to ensure there is enough time for email notifications to all members, and will expire after 45 days if they do not receive enough upvotes to proceed.
A member of our Discord moderating team will watch the proposals, and if it receives enough votes to proceed, will put together the documentation of the proposal into a decision template.
The moderator will forward the decision template to (1) the team(s) who will oversee implementation of the proposal, and (2) the Board for review. The Board will ask the team for their comments on the proposal as part of their review, if not already provided.
The Board will review the proposal at the next available board meeting. The decision will be communicated via email to the original proposer and posted in the original proposal thread in Discord at a minimum. If adopted, the relevant team(s) will implement the proposal and communicate the details.
This is what community-run governance looks like. We look forward to your proposals and making the cooperative a thriving marketplace together!
About Artisans Cooperative
We are growing an online handmade marketplace for an inclusive network of creatives: a co-op alternative to Etsy.
Shop the marketplace!