co-op startup guides

Image screenshot from Center for Family Life

There are many ways to bring collective action and community resource sharing into an organization, but cooperatives are one of the oldest, and most effective, strategies. Co-ops have transformed and multiplied in type, but they remain key to radical social change. 

However, the process of starting a co-op can be confusing — how are decisions made? How is it funded? Because co-ops are so different than most other organizational structures that exist in our society, it can be hard to know where to begin for people interested in forming one.

To help solve that problem, the Center for Family Life in Brooklyn, New York, created a comprehensive set of co-op startup guides. The guides cover internal management like committees and community building, office tools, legal tips, finance and fundraising information, and even information on the best ways co-ops can publicize themselves and find their audience. 

The Center runs a Co-op Development Program in New York City, which helps launch domestic-worker cooperatives, primarily working with immigrant communities. The co-op startup guides are the product of years of on the ground work with cooperatives in their earliest days.  

The Center for Family Life often receives requests for information from nonprofit organizations and other entities interested in cooperatives and how they can start them or support them. Their hope is that the guides offer concrete advice that can be put into practice in a variety of industries. 

“We recognize the need to share the tools and information we have identified and developed over the years in an easily accessible, digestible format,” the Center for Family Life staff wrote in an email to Shareable. The guides are open-source and can be accessed by anyone. To read them for yourself simply fill out this google form. The information you provide will help the Center better understand what audiences are using the documents and why. 

Casey O'Brien


Casey O'Brien |

Casey O'Brien is a freelance journalist based in the Bay Area of California. Casey focuses most of her reporting on big problems and how we can solve them: she writes