Cooperative enterprises, which follow cooperative principles and in the cooperative tradition, have many benefits. Although the specific benefits of each cooperative varies depending on the organization and the needs of its members, several benefits are almost universal:
Cooperatives save money.
There is no owner/operator to take a profit from the customer: the customer IS the owner of a cooperative. Members ensure that their cooperative business provides the best quality products and services at the lowest possible cost.
Cooperatives demonstrate economic democracy.
In an investor-owned corporation the people who have the most money and shares have the most control over the way the business is run. In a cooperative each member has an equal share and one vote when decisions are made. This is known as economic democracy.
Cooperatives operate for the benefit of member/owners.
In a cooperative, those with similar needs act together and pool their resources for mutual gain. As a democratic entity, a cooperative changes with the changing needs of its members.
Cooperatives are non-profit.
In a cooperative no one person reaps the benefits if the business has been profitable. After bills are paid and money is set aside for operations and improvements, all profits are returned to co-op members. In a co-op, the purpose is not to make money, but to save it.