To determine the level of interest in starting and supporting a cooperative, invite potential members to a general meeting. Announce the meeting date, time, and place via newspapers, radio, telephone, at other meetings, by letter, or word of mouth. Invite outside advisers.
The leadership group should develop an agenda and select a presiding officer who can conduct a business meeting. Sometimes, an adviser can act as chair or help answer questions. Primary agenda items should include:
What is the need;
Cooperative principles and terminology;
Cooperative operating practices;
Advantages and disadvantages of a cooperative;
General risk capital equity and financial requirements; and
Various forms of member-user commitment needed.
One approach is to have one member of the leadership group discuss the need and another summarize how the proposed cooperative might solve it. In addition, a representative of a successful cooperative might explain its operations, benefits, and limitations.
Allow plenty of time for discussion. Prospective members should be encouraged to express their views and ask questions. All issues raised should be addressed, although answers may be delayed until later meetings when more information becomes available.