Prudent planning for success of cooperatives


Cooperatives today have become very important drivers of personal financial growth and the route to member’s economic empowerment.

Since the first cooperative society was formed in Kenya and its subsequent success, both the private and public sectors embraced cooperatives as vehicles to financial breakthrough.

Cooperatives must adopt the best policies, bylaws and strategies because good planning is the basic and most important principle for success in any organization.

The following are very important concepts in cooperative planning

Vision: This refers to an idealized picture of the organization i.e. what the organization should become.  

A cooperative society needs to figure out its present state and visualize what it wants to become in the future.

A vision should be brief, elaborate, achievable and realistic it’s the desire to live to its vision achieving the growth of the cooperative society.

Mission:  This is the aim of the cooperatives. It defines the backbone that gave birth to the cooperative.

It’s important to understand the motivating factor that made members join the coop and therefore always ensure it protects the reason for its formation and no other mission should supersedes the reason for the formation of the cooperative.

Purpose:  These touches on the purpose of the cooperatives to individual members.

Substantive measure should be set to ensure members get the value for their investment.

Questions to be answered include: Is the marketing cooperative able to get better prices for their products?

Is the Sacco offering timely credit, or the Sacco able to mobilize adequate members’ savings?

Goals:  These give a sense of direction for the activities of the organization. They give guidelines towards which more detailed and specific plans are directed.

A good cooperative board should ensure the goals of the cooperative are achieved.

 It’s the binding factor if the cooperative is to remain afloat because a society without goals is good as dead at its inception. Goals drive the cooperative to great heights.

Objectives:  These are the end results that must be achieved in order to carry out a mission (they are simple forms of goals). Whenever members achieve their objectives, cooperators become motivated and hence loyalty to the cooperative grows, which makes members put in more effort to grow their cooperative in order to reap more.

Policies: These are general guidelines the Board or Directors should follow in making decisions of whatever nature in the coop activities.

The cooperative with good policies always makes great strides because every step is guided by member’s decision.

 It is prudent to adopt policies that should be followed in the running of the coop nevertheless the policies should be flexible to accommodate unforeseen circumstance 

Strategies: These are broad programs of activities performed to achieve organizational objectives. Good strategies will always attract great results.

Procedures:  These are customary methods for handling activities.

I request cooperative boards to ensure a good plan is in place because at whatever growth stage planning is a key ingredient and catalyst cooperative growth.

Experts should be hired to help develop good visions and strategies, policies and procedures in order to meet members and cooperatives purpose, goals and objective as well us being cognizant of the entire coops mission.

By Ngugi Ruo

The author is a police officer who holds a degree in Cooperative Business from the Cooperative University of Kenya

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