While discussing the benefits of a cooperative society within the workplace, a friend of mine indicated interest and enquired on the possibility of setting up a cooperative society at her workplace. I usually advise employees interested in setting up a non-registered society to have a set of goals they intend to achieve.
It is also important that each member should be aligned to the mission and objectives with which the society was set up in the first place. If you’re thinking of setting up a cooperative society within your workplace, these are some of the issues to consider.
Goals – members need to clearly state what they intend to use the pooled funds for. Sometimes, it could be for savings, investment, electronics, vacation, emergency funds or paying for the house rent. Try to be honest with your desired goals so that your peers or colleagues can assist you to achieve this goal.
Credibility and Integrity – there’s nothing as bad as prospective and existing members defaulting on monthly contributions. It debars the objective of setting up the union in the first place. Make sure you only invite members who are committed to pooling funds.
Central Account – you may decide to set up a separate account where members can pool in the needed funds together. However, you will need two signatories to the account to facilitate easy withdrawals. On the other hand, you may issue cheques to each other and when salaries are paid, each beneficiary for the month can go to the bank to withdraw funds.
Number of Members – I usually advise prospective society members to have a small pool of interested participants rather than a large crowd so as to monitor each contributor efficiently. You’ve heard the saying “two’s a company, three’s a crowd”. Stories abound where some contributors default in repayment plans. So make it easier by having a smaller pool.
Set a target amount by having a fixed amount, which each member may pay. You can start with a minimum of N5,000 to any higher value that each member can comfortably afford without having an adverse effect on your monthly living expenses.