How To Onboard A New Co-op
It's an exciting thing when a new co-op applies to join CoTech. We want to give the new co-op a warm welcome and present a professional but friendly face. If you've volunteered to help onboard, thank you! Here's a little guide with some best practices and email templates.
The join page on our website asks potential members to "Contact us using our forum". It's also possible that someone contacts an individual member of CoTech with their intention to apply - perhaps if they've met us at an event or been introduced in another way.
However they get in touch, contact them with something like:
Good morning Applicant, Thank you for contacting CoTech! I am currently helping out with membership applications. We'll run a Loomio poll with all existing members to consent for [NAME OF COOP] to join. Once approved, we can jump into all the fun stuff! I'll send through a link to our Forum and the Loomio poll once it's active. Please let me know if you have any questions in the meantime. Kind regards,
Depending on how they got in touch, you may want to find out a bit about them. In particular to see if they meet the eligibility criteria. Essentially they have to be a primarily UK-based worker co-operative (or similar worker owned co-op structure). The easiest way to convince the rest of the CoTech members of this is to include their articles of association.
Set up a loomio proposal to approve their membership
Head to Loomio and set up a proposal with something like the following blurb
Approve [APPLICANT] Cooperative application to join CoTech Hi All, Impact Box Cooperative are looking to join Cotech! A Loomio poll has been set up, voting will expire at 17:00, Sept 16th 2022. A bit about APPLICANT, member NAME describes their co-op below. “Quote from Coop’s Application. Usually 1-2 paragraphs.” New applications to join CoTech are a member vote as per the constitution so I’ll start a vote on this thread. You can view their articles of association in the attached PDF.
Here's some text to put in the poll
Please see the start of this thread for details on APPLICANT Cooperative. They'd like to join CoTech. This is a member vote so one-coop one-vote, please. It will pass in 7 days if there are no disagree/block votes, but please take time to vote to agree as well as it's nice to give new co-ops a full and hearty welcome!
Poll options: Agree, Abstain, Disagree, Undecided
Run the poll for 7 days.
Here's a recent example of such a proposal on Loomio.
Let people know about the poll
Post something on the CoTech forum to reach as many members as possible
[APPLICANT] Cooperative would like to join CoTech (Please vote before DATE) Hi All, [APPLICANT] Cooperative are looking to join Cotech! A Loomio poll has been set up, voting will expire at xx:xx, MONTH DAY YEAR. A bit about APPLICANT, member NAME describes their co-op below. “Quote from Coop’s Application. Usually 1-2 paragraphs.” New applications to join CoTech are a member vote as per the constitution so I’ll start a vote on this thread. You can view their articles of association in the attached PDF. Vote here!
Update the co-op on the status of their application
Let the co-op know we haven't forgotten about them with something like
Hi Applicant, Below are the links to view the Loomio Poll and our Forum post on your application. The Poll closes next Friday at 5:00 p.m. we'll get in touch once we have the final result! Link to the Loomio Poll: <link> Link to thread on our Forum: <link>
When the Loomio poll passes
- Update the Loomio poll with the result
- Update the discourse forum with the result
Send an email to congratulate the co-op and set up a call
Excited to say that fractals co-op are now members of Cotech! Good morning and great news APPLICANT, Polls are closed, results are in and APPLICANT co-op are now officially members of Cotech! Next step is a short onboarding call to go through some general Cotech business and our upcoming events. We're available for a call next week on DAY or DAY between 00:00 - 00:00, please let me know what time works best for your schedule and I'll send an invite. Congratulations and looking forward to meeting you,
During the onboarding call
This is our first chance to get to know the new co-op. You might want to find someone (ideally from another co-op, ideally, ideally one local to them in the country). Here's some notes to help guide the call
- Meet with your call partner 5 minutes prior to establish roles and goals.
- Use the onboarding presentation and then have a freer conversation.
- How the applicant found CoTech
- Have they worked with other members before
- What the applicant coop works on (services/products)
- How long have they been a coop/why did they decide to become a coop
- Whereabouts in the country are they based
- Are there any aspects of CoTech they’re especially interested in becoming involved with
- Are there any aspects of being a Coop that they’re looking for more information/support with: policies & procedures, structure etc
This may be the applicant’s first interaction with CoTech, and it’s exciting! Talk about your favourite meet-up, conversation or aspect of CoTech.
Help them get setup with communication channels
We don't have a good process for this but here's a list of the tools we use in CoTech and some pointers to how to get set up. The best plan might be to encourage the co-op to try to do this themselves and ask in the forum or on slack for help. You can support them through this.