Types of Membership
DisCO.Coop has several layers of membership, reflecting different levels of commitment, involvement and responsibility:
Casual Members perform pro-bono contributions with no strings attached. This could involve collaborating on the development and operations of the coop itself or providing assistance in any of DisCO.Coop’s projects, e.g. providing services or mentorship to any of the DisCO LABS, our pilot projects. Those who wish to become more involved in the collective and take on more responsibility may opt to start “dating” DisCO.Coop.
The Dating Phase is an intermediary stage between a casual and committed relationship with the coop. In order to become a committed member, individuals will have to pass through a staged process of receiving mentoring, taking on more responsibility and decision-making power and just generally becoming a part of the family. Each stage comes with its own set of milestones – skills and knowledge mostly – to help guide the dating member, step by step, towards autonomy within the collective. At present the specifics of DisCO.Coop’s Dating Phase are being worked out, but a thorough example to use as a reference is Guerrilla Translation’s dating phase.
Committed Members are those who have successfully passed the Dating Phase and are ready to be full members with the same rights and compensation as all other full members. At this point, a strong level of trust has been built with the new individual and their completion of the mentoring milestones will ensure that they are informed and comfortable enough to be fully functioning members of the collective and able to work independently when needed.
One of the DisCO LABS, the Multi-Talented Makerspace Nook in Zimbabwe, has a similar membership breakdown. The space itself is open to everyone – those who simply use and participate in the space have a casual relationship with the coop. Official membership is two-tiered: members can either be active (approved by the board and with voting rights), or supporting (providing feedback to the board and receiving perks).