BCCA recently conducted a review of the Co-operate Now! program offered in partnership with Vancity. Our hope was to gather some insights into how we might improve it and better understand the impact of this popular three-day intensive co-op bootcamp.
Co-operate Now! is the brainchild of Vancity’s Co-operative Portfolio Manager, Elvy DelBianco, and has resulted in at least 41 new co-operatives incorporating since the program started in 2015 and over 250 co-operative advocates and supporters. The results of the review indicated that 86% of the 36 participants who’ve taken the program and who responded to our survey were extremely satisfied with it.
The evaluation also confirmed that participants achieved the outcomes they were looking for, including:
- Incorporating a co-op
- Providing greater clarity whether or not to proceed
- Energizing participants to pursue or continue to pursue their idea
- Changing to a more suitable type of co-op
- Being more “shovel ready” to work with a co-op developer
Some even decided not to pursue a co-operative venture at all!
One of the most popular ideas for improving the program included incorporating follow-up coaching support. Other ideas brought forward include tweaking the delivery format to include on-line elements, concurrent breakout sessions, and splitting into basic and advanced versions to allow organizers to better target participants’ stage of readiness.
Another aspect explored was how to make the Bootcamp more accessible to communities outside of Vancouver. We heard participants really valued the in-person class time and, while they were open to on-line components, they did want to continue to convene for at least a portion of the program.
While it will be difficult to maintain the in-person class time element to the program, the information collected through the evaluation has been invaluable in helping us think through how we can best offer the program given the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are excited to pilot our new on-line version of Co-operate Now! Starting this fall, the updated Co-operate Now program aims to keep many of the elements of the program that have made it so successful to date but also incorporates some of the great suggestions gathered through the evaluation.
A big thank you to all of the past participants, presenters and partners who participated in the evaluation, and to Kylie Hutchinson of Community Solutions for guiding this project.
Want to register?
If you are interested in Co-operate Now On-line this fall, complete the online application no later than September 20.