Rural Community Cooperative Facilitator (CCF)

This CCF course has been developed to implement one of the project's main activities, which is the development and consolidation of entrepreneurial competences (knowledge, skills and attitude) in order to structure entrepreneurial initiatives under the specific framework of “community cooperatives”.

This EU funded project “Entrepreneurship and Community cooperatives” (EntCoM) aims at fostering active citizenship and entrepreneurship (including social entrepreneurship) in small or remote areas.



This Course has been developed by
Legal Regionale dele Cooperative e Mutue di Puglia (Italy)
Komunikujeme o.p.s. (Czech Republic)
Latconsul SIA (Latvia)
Tojas Investimentos, LDA (Portugal)
Sarikamis Kaymakamligi (Turkey)
European Network for Transfer and Exploitation of EU Project Results (E.N.T.E.R.) (Austria)
The Foundation for European Initiatives (United Kingdom)

Community Cooperatives

Community Cooperatives can be an effective tool to do that. Communities can become entrepreneurs and create a cooperative enterprise able to provide the services communities needs.
Community Cooperatives facilitates active citizenship, work and social innovation. The goal is to develop new expressions of mutual aid.
This EU funded project EntCoM (Entrepreneurship and Community Cooperatives) aims at providing realistic, practical and effective measures to address a variety of current issues that exist at EU level, such as the economy, unemployment, social cohesion, the digital agenda, rural and remote territorial development.
The community cooperative represents an instrument through which citizens can cooperate for the general interest of the community.
EntCom has developed a training course for community cooperative facilitators. They are people who commit themselves and other citizens to enable their community to self-organize and become an “enterprise”, able to provide services to support their needs.

What is a Community Cooperative Facilitator (CCF)?
A CCF is someone who can, after training, be able to support and advise people in rural communities on how to form themselves into “cooperatives” with the aim of solving a practical local issue e.g. providing local broadband when the service providers are reluctant to do so.
The CCF can be an existing trainer; or community activist; or part of a local training institute; or a local Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO).
This CCF Training Course is vital for individuals who are involved in and/or are interested in supporting people in rural communities to form themselves into “cooperatives” with the aim of solving a practical local issue e.g. providing local broadband when the service providers are reluctant to do so.
The individual could be an existing trainer or community activist from a training institute or NGO. The course curriculum provides a set of “Modular Units”, which are then broken down into appropriate and relevant “Skill Topics” in specific subject areas that can then be used to support and advise groups in the establishment and development of rural cooperatives.

Training Course Guide
The Modules that make up the CCF training course are intended to be “introductory” only and taken in their entirety form the basis of the various skills/competencies that are required to move through the “life-cycle” of a Project – from inception through to completion, including raising and managing funds to managing people. However, each Unit or Skill Topic can be taken separately as they have been designed to be stand-alone.
The whole course is not intended to provide an in-depth training programme covering all aspects of the skills required to assist in the development of a Community Cooperative, but if you require further in-depth training you can be supplement the course with further on-line training or face-to face training, if offered in your Country.
The Course is a “self-directed learning” course, so you can work at your own pace.

What will I learn?
The various basic skills that are required to support and develop Community Cooperatives are included in the seven (7) Modules. These include
  • Activities to assist individuals/groups engaged in cooperatives as to how to clearly identify their project e.g. research techniques, needs analysis, SWOT Analysis, resource identification (people and money);
  • The advantages/disadvantages of different cooperative formation structures – although this will differ in each Member State general advice for CCFs ;
  • Project Management skills e.g. how to prepare a GANTT Chart, problem solving (how to handle difficult situations);
  • Project Evaluation Skills e.g. project evaluation techniques; how to create/develop questionnaires;
  • How to make external and internal, presentations, use of PowerPoint, Chairing meetings, recognizing body language, report writing, project website creation, effective use of media, print, radio, television.
  • Producing and using spreadsheets and accounting software, fundraising skills e.g. crowdfunding - use of social media, creating business plan; and
  • Project task allocation, delegation, interviewing skills, staff management issues and resolving conflicts.
The Modules have been developed to be as interactive as possible and contain a mixture of text, pictures, videos (e.g. links to YouTube) as appropriate.

Each Module includes:
  • A basic introduction e.g. explanation of the subject area and how it relates to a “community cooperative project”;
  • Content, including offering best practice ideas (where appropriate);
  • Situational Scenarios e.g. an “issue” is posed and a number of possible solutions are offered;
  • End of Topic “self-assessed examination” to determine the level of understanding of the topics covered;
  • List of further reading materials; and
  • Links to relevant websites e.g. further, more in depth courses related to the Module.

The European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET)
Institutions wishing to offer the course can adapt and offer the course in an institutional format and apply, and adopt, an ECVET learning environment which can lead to a qualification via the ECVET structure.
The European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET) was developed to enable individuals to build on what they have learnt in the past when wishing to achieve a qualification. Lifelong learning is expected to facilitate individuals’ transition between different employment positions, companies or sectors, and also the transition from unemployment or inactivity into employment. It is also seen as a means to improve the matching between labour market demand and supply.
ECVET is a tool that can assist lifelong learning by improving transfer, recognition and accumulation of knowledge accumulated in the past. It can ease the development of individualized lifelong learning paths which enable people to gain knowledge, skills and competence and ultimately also a qualification by progressively and building on what they learnt previously.

Figure 1 illustrates the overall ECVET framework.

If training institutions wish to adopt the CCF Course under the ECVET Framework it is suggested that they make the necessary changes to the course modules and their delivery mechanisms. The following link will assist institutions to achieve the transition: http://www.ecvet-team.eu

Module 1: Identifying your Project

Skill Topic Area
Project conceptualization
Analysis methodologies
SWOT analysis
Feasibility study
Project Concept Note
Situational scenarios
Further Reading
Module Exam

Skill Topic Area:
Train individuals/groups engaged in cooperatives how to clearly identify their project e.g. research techniques, needs analysis, SWOT Analysis, resource identification (people and money).


Identifying (characterizing and outlining), a project (work plan, initiative) that is conceptualized to tackle a specific need is the key milestone and the very early stage of the project development, either aiming at creating theoretical instruments such as policies, or practical equipment such as infrastructures, or an entity such as a community cooperative.

Picture 1 – Project Cycle Management (PCM) basics

The picture below illustrates the steps, activities and tasks in project identification and conceptualization.

Project conceptualization

What is a project concept?

The feasibility, or concept, phase of the Project Life Cycle (PCM) is the inception development stage started after determining the rationale and value-added potential for implementing a project. This commonly consists of an examination and study set of activities, where a preliminary project description is outlined with sufficient feature, validating that the project is realistic, and identifying how the project should be organized aiming at delivering the expected benefits to the identified target group, beneficiaries and stakeholders.

The Feasibility Study phase of the PCM is where the prevalent opportunities for adding best value to the venture can be originate. As the project description gets more advanced, and once the project work plan moves into its implementation stage, the possibilities for adding value lessens as the emphasis shifts towards certifying the results are delivered as planned. Once identified alternatives and options, the resulting task is to narrow down to a best alternative, which may itself comprise a set of options, prior to moving on to the exhaustive pre-scheduling stage of the project.

Watch the video: The Project Management Life Cycle

Five steps to protect project initiation

What is a need (or problem) and how to define it?
At the start it is necessary to brainstorm and identify all the possible sources of a problem or need. Commonly interrogations to consider as a starting point:
  • What is the problem?
  • Is it my problem?
  • Can I solve it? Is it worth solving?
  • Is this the factual issue, or only a symptom?
  • If this is a long-standing problem? What's mistaken with the preceding solution?
  • Does it need a prompt solution, or can it wait?
  • Is it likely to disappear by itself? Can I risk disregard it?
  • Does the issue have ethical dimensions?
  • What circumstances must the answer satisfy?
  • Will the answer affect something that must remain unchanged?

Situation analysis (need, stakeholders)
A simple approach to outline the expression "problem" is: a situation that necessities attention.

A situation examination is an assessment of an existing state of affairs and is paramount to conceiving and modernising policies, strategies and programmes. A reliable situation analysis is an all-inclusive investigation, covering the full array of up-to-date and prospective future issues and their causes. It also measures and evaluates the current situation as paralleled to the expectations and needs of the surrounding areas, policies or population. It assists as the foundation for determining priorities to be tackled by regulations, strategies or programmes via the course of an all-encompassing, inclusive dialogue.

Picture 6 – Where are you, what is the state of affairs?

A sound situation analysis commonly provides an assessment of:
  • social factors related to the needs, including existing and projected issues, obstacles and challenges;
  • expectations, comprising existing and anticipated demand for services, products or socio-related items;
  • community’s structure performances and of performance gaps in answering to needs and prospects;
  • capacity of the issue related stakeholders to answer to current needs and to anticipate upcoming challenges;
  • community’s structure resources (human, corporeal, economic, communicational) and of resource gaps in answering to needs and expectations;
  • stakeholder view point, as well as peripheral associates and donators globally.

Watch the video:
Stakeholders: Who they are and who they are not

Watch the video:

Analysis methodologies

An accurate analysis will go further than mere explanation by engaging in a variety of the categories of examinations listed below, yet it might be insufficient in some aspects, for instance societal analysis related to forthcoming alignments and the improvement of community policy. Precision is provided by practicing combinations of the categories illustrated below and will determine a more comprehensive analysis including sociological aspects, which develops clearer orientation and offers change pathways to address issues associated with the need.





Provide a variety of relevant and practical details and evidences

Clarify the situation in sequence without explanations


Practice of objective or subjective language for descriptive facts

Provide dominant opinions (the thesis) on the situation in hand


Examines historical events exploiting social models and theories

Provide the understanding of historical contexts and social challenges


Elucidates in which way a situation is identical or not to another one

Offer an evaluation of each situation with the same criteria


Addresses Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats

Provide opportunity to take steps regarding the situation in hand

Cause and effect

Reveals the link between one particular event and a correlated outcome

Provide the opportunity to understand correlations between elements

SWOT analysis

The need to create new pathways, or change an existing approach is an inevitable component of community shaping and smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. If one knows a way to take stock of the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT), one is more likely to plan and perform efficiently.

SWOT stands for: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat. This analysis approach leads to identifying situations’ strengths and weaknesses (S-W), and complementarily far-reaching opportunities and threats (O-T). Increasing a more comprehensive awareness of the circumstances assists in two important aspects: strategic planning and decision-making. SWOT approaches were initially created for business and industry, but it is similarly valuable in the exertion of community well-being and sustainable growth, edification, and even for personal development.

Picture 7 – SWOT structured planning method

A SWOT analysis provides supportive standpoints at any phase of a project development. It is recommended to be used in order to:
  • explore potentials for innovative work plans or answers to problems;
  • take decisions about the most accurate pathway for an initiative; identifying opportunities for success in situations of threats clarifies guidelines and decisions;
  • determine in which area change is feasible; when at a cross-roads or turning point, a portfolio of strengths and weaknesses will highlight priorities as well as options.
  • align and fine-tune strategies mid-terms; new openings might open broader pathways, whereas new threat possibly will close a door that once was.
SWOT provides a straightforward approach of communicating about a project development, initiative or program, and an excellent method to structure information gathered from comparative studies or surveys.

Feasibility study

A feasibility study is intended to provide a synopsis of the primary issues connected to a project idea.

The aim is to recognise “go ahead or stop” critical paths that impacts the project in term of successful achievement in the community at large. Particularly, a feasibility study defines whether the project idea is coherent. A systematic feasibility analysis delivers large amount of information necessary for the work plan. For instance, an accurate financial analysis is required in order to determine the project’s feasibility. This information gives the basis for the financial segment of the work plan.

A feasibility study is not an in-depth long-term financial projection, but rather a basic break-even examination to understand which and in what extent resources are necessary to meet the operating work packages.

Picture 8 – Feasibility study framework

Project Concept Note (PCN)

A project concept note is a synopsis of a project proposal enclosing a brief narrative of the idea of the objectives to be achieved.

The operational objectives of the PCN are:
  • to scrutinize the identified need and subsequent rationale;
  • to promote reflection of alternative plan concepts;
  • to establish a go/no-go decision-making process from managers;
  • to obtain prompt supervision/agreement on issues and strategy;
  • to spot risks and applicable mitigation measures:
  • to decide and approve on a resource estimate, and timetable. In brief, the key characteristics of the PCN are:
  • it is very short—a maximum of five to ten pages;
  • it focuses on project conception, not design;
  • it is elaborated immediately after the need identification or before expenses exceed an agreed budget.

Situational scenarios

Now, test your knowledge answering to the issues proposed about the following exercises/ situational scenarios. SITUATIONAL SCENARIOS

Scenario number 1
This exercise aim at using the set of tools introduced in the current sub-module to prepare a draft Project Concept Note aiming at creating conditions to establish a community cooperative service provider in a field to be chosen by learners according to their own project idea.

Good practice example: Valoriza-te! A scenario turned Cooperative: aiming at creating value-added services considering Social and Circular economy. The present scenario is based on a real story that initiated in a more practical manner in October 2015 (original idea dated mid 2015) and was finalized on January 2016 by the establishment of the entity in a rural area near the city of Évora in Portugal.

Picture 11 –Location of Valoriza-te! cooperative

Use the template below to develop a study analysis work plan, practicing the model of a Project Concept Note and develop its content according to your project idea.




Questions / point






Identify the need

What is to be examined?
Why must it be examined?

Identify areas of potential improvements





Collect and update information about the need

What is to be examined?

Request for facts from reliable sources




Functional analysis

Identify mechanisms related to the need

What must these mechanisms provide?

Identify key functions, cost and allocate worth





Generate alternative answers to the need

What else will perform the mechanisms?

Simplify and classify function, practice creativity





Evaluate answers by conducting comparative studies

What is the cost of the alternative answer?

Recognized assessment techniques





Draft the assessed and validated answers

Will it work, will it answer to the need?

Collect and interpret facts, consider other alternatives





Prepare presentation to target group and stakeholders, introduce feasible answers

List the benefits and constraints

Presentation techniques, reporting, communication, networking





Implement selected validated answers

Who will implement it? What legal changes are required?

Identify and eliminate obstacles, update plan, implement answers





Check and assess outcomes

What are the benefits and setbacks of the successful answers?

Final feedback and provision for further development

Scenario number 2
Using a SWOT analysis approach to address a need by a neighbourhood initiative: aiming at creating conditions to establish a community cooperative day care center.

A neighbourhood group developed combined checklists for a specific SWOT analysis approach, one for positives and one for negatives. They agreed upon the following internal and external influences:
A few strengths and opportunities (positives)
  • confidence between members;
  • logical capacity;
  • individuals who are dedicated to effort;
  • locality with a honoured history;
  • purposeful persons involved;
  • aptitude to influence policy;
  • account of teamwork;
  • practice in community improvement;
  • consideration from internal and external donators and investors
  • A few restrictions and challenges (negatives)
  • prejudice and discrimination (intercultural questions);
  • issues in defining success and well-being;
  • lack of members providing effort;
  • donators and investors not acting as genuine partners;
  • issues in harmonising service delivery and engagement;
  • slow associating and networking;
  • lack of resources globally;
  • local planning restraining community’s growth globally.


Project identification: capturing great ideas to dramatically improve your organization
Charles A. Tryon, Jr. (2015)
CRC Press, 140 Pages - 21 B/W Illustrations.
ISBN: 9781482262124

A guide to six sigma and process improvement for practitioners and students: foundations, DMAIC, tools, cases, and certification
David M. Levine, Howard S. Gitlow, Richard Melnyck (2015)
Pearson FT Press.
ISBN: 9780133925463

Successful project management
Gido, J., Clements, J.P. (2015)
South-Western Cengage Learning.
ISBN-10: 1285068378. ISBN-13: 9781285068374

Identifying and managing project risk – Essential tools for failure-proofing your project
Tom Kendrick (2015)
American Management Association (AMACOM)
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication.
ISBN: 0814436080

Municipalities and community participation: a sourcebook for capacity building
Janelle Plummer (2013)
Earthscan Publications Ltd.
ISBN 10: 185383744X ISBN 13: 9781853837449

Project planning and management: an integrated system for improving Productivity
Goodman L. J. (1988)
Springer US.
ISBN: 978-1-4684-6589-1

The psychology and management of project teams
François Chiocchio, F., Kelloway E. K., Hobbs, B. (2015)
Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199861378
Brugha, R. et al (2000). Stakeholder analysis: a review, Journal of Health Policy and Planning, vol. 15 (3), pp. 239-246

Project selection guidelines
Juran Global

Project/programme planning guidance manual
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

Guide to the project cycle – Quality for results
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Non paper guidelines for project managers – Making vulnerable investments climate resilient
Climate Risk Management Ltd (final report of service contract no. 071303/2011/610951/SER/CLIMA.C3)

Guidelines for Project Identification and Screening
The Nordic Development Fund

Project check-list
GEF International Waters Learning Exchange and Resource Network
Click Here

Getting stakeholder engagement right
Roman Pichler
Click Here

1: Identifying your Project - Module Exam

Please, test your knowledge of this module answering to the following YES-NO questions:

Yes No
Local community need identification activities are exclusively based on the observation of Media at local level

Local community need identification activities depend on the information provided by local authorities
Local community need identification activities provide information on lack and/or shortage of services or goods
SWOT analysis provide an accurate information on the scheduling and milestones of a project idea
SWOT analysis provide accurate information on the potential dangers a project idea may tackle with
SWOT analysis results does not depend on the information provided by stakeholders of local communities
Crowdfunding is a new methodology for the development of project financial development plan
Crowdfunding is a funding scheme that only local community members can make possible
A Project Concept Note do not need to include a stakeholder analysis or any kind of assessments
A Project Concept Note allow the members of the community to raise funds for their project idea

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Module 2: Cooperative Formation

Skill Topic Area
Cooperative values and principles
Formation Structures
Situational scenarios
Further Reading/Websites
Module Exam

Skill Topic Area

The advantages/disadvantages of different formation structures – although this will differ in each Member State there will be a need to include general advice for CCFs to give to cooperatives e.g. the psychology of groups.


Self-organization of groups of people provides a potential strategy for sustainable local development, also in difficult areas and for poor populations. Cooperative enterprise is not the only form you can use to organize a group of people to start a business with that aim. It can be one of the ways to organize a social form that can be autonomous and sustainable in a long time, and solve effective problems, making collective interests.

The cooperative is a possible way to structure an entrepreneurial initiatives of self-organization of citizens and self-help in communities. It transforms the community into an entrepreneur and an enterprise.

Cooperatives are, in fact, companies of people who organize themselves in a participatory way to resolve problems and common needs. Members are not owners of profits made, but leave them in the enterprise for future generations. It is an instrument to cope with the lack or absence of basic services to the community, such as schools, shops, social services, environmentalist problems, exploitation of land resources. At the same time, in giving that services, cooperative is a way to respond to the employment crisis that arose in the surrounding areas.

What is a cooperative enterprise? We need a definition that is available for all different countries, beyond different legal frameworks.

According to ICA definition, “A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically-controlled enterprise”.

Co-operatives are enterprises, active in every sector of economy, everywhere.

The members of a cooperative can be:
  • the customers: people who buy products from the cooperative
  • the employees: people who work in the cooperative;
  • the producers: if they sell their products to cooperative (as in agricultural cooperatives, where members are producers).
They all can get something (products or services they want to buy, their own work, product or services they sell, etc.) at better conditions than the usual they can find on the market.
In cooperatives:
  • members are the owners;
  • members run the enterprise.
It is important to share the participative practices and the rules on governance.

Cooperatives governance has to protect interest of members and of the whole community, and assure the maintenance of members control. A democratic governance allows members to participate directly to decisions and to the life of enterprise. In a cooperative, members constitute the general assembly, and they vote their representatives among the same members.

Democracy is inside one of the basic cooperative principle: one person-one vote.

A democratic governance means that:
  • the power is not concentrated in a small number of people, but “diffused”;
  • it facilitate the access to information;
  • it is better than hierarchical governance to manage markets complexity and uncertainty;
  • it facilitate new proposals and new ideas, by sharing experiences and expertise.
Generally, in cooperative enterprises, we have an horizontal organizational model. It can develop a structure constituted by multiple small groups making independent decisions, where members are engaged in devising the rules. Democracy is on the basis of self-governance. This means that governance rules are decided, and regularly revised, by the members, and that each member know them very well.

All cooperatives are democratically controlled. In the specific case of community cooperatives, the idea of active participation of members, horizontal organizational model and cooperation with the community are stronger than usual.

Watch the videos:
What is a Cooperative - Co-operatives UK

Cooperatives are everyway:

Cooperative values and principles

So, what are common principles and values which characterize a cooperative enterprise? How you can spread them in a new organization, in a startup phase?
  • Self-help: interest for helping each other by working together for mutual benefit;
  • Self-responsibility: members should feel responsible for the success of their organisation.
  • Democracy: the cooperative democratic governance is based on “one-member one-vote”;
  • Equity: members are treated fairly, and the small part of divisible profits is distributed according to the level of their participation;
  • Equality: all members have an equal possibility to express themselves;
  • Solidarity: a sense of collective responsibility for the enterprise. And then, cooperatives support other co-operatives.

Watch the video:
“New Pioneers” – video on cooperative origins:

Voluntary and Open Membership

Co-operatives are voluntary organisations, open to all persons who are interested in cooperative aims and activity and ask to be a member, without discriminations. Cooperatives must keep the “open door” to those who, meeting the requirements decided by members, want to share their objectives.

Democratic Member Control
Co-operatives are controlled by their members, and this is called democratic governance. Members actively participate to take decisions and to define policies and the organizational model. The general assembly of members elects his representatives. All members have equal voting power (one member, one vote).

Member Economic Participation
Members contribute equitably to the capital of the cooperative they democratically control. Members subscribe part of the capital as condition of membership, and the whole capital is property of the cooperative. Surpluses are used for developing the cooperative, for setting up reserves; for supporting specific activities or projects, for giving benefits to members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative.

Formation Structures

Compared to other types of companies, what are main characteristic of cooperatives? Why should we choose a cooperative form?
  • A first difference is the aim, which is not making profit, and so to gain the maximum from the investment made, but is mutuality: to work, to buy goods and services from the market or sell product at better conditions than those they would obtain individually. The members of a cooperative are people who want to satisfy their needs by the means of mutuality that is the reciprocal support in order to optimize the results of their efforts.
  • In cooperatives the focal point moves from capital to people and people’s needs, so that individuals become a community.
  • Cooperatives should adopt organizational and managerial models that are “horizontal” and centered on the active participation of various stakeholders (members and employees are the first ones!), so, everyone can give an active contribution to decisions and can express their ideas.
  • The business project, the organizational and managerial model and the governance must recognize the importance of the human capital, even though the financial capital has a functional value in order to reach the common objective.

When you start a cooperative project, you have to know:
  • If and how much the skills of the team actually express and increases the value of the enterprise; and
  • How to identify skills-gaps that can compromise the success of the enterprise.
In this second option, you need to solve the gap, through education and training, looking for new members with different skills, “buying” the skills from outside if the don not concern a strategic area of value for the enterprise.

Situational scenarios

Cooperative Formation - Module Exam Now, test your knowledge answering to the issues proposed about the following situational scenarios. Situational Scenario 1

You are part of a committee who wants to promote a community cooperative in your small rural area. So, this is the startup phase of a cooperative enterprise, but at the same time this probably will be a community opportunity. You need to ensure that citizens and prospective members fully understand the cooperative principles and the model of governance.

Issue question: What can you proceed to divulgate and involve new people?

Choose the best option A) or B):
  • The committee decides to convene a public meeting, open to all interested people, where everyone can get information on proposal, express needs and opinions, make new proposal.
  • The committee decides to develop a business plan, starting from activities that seems to be more remunerative, and then select people who can be members and give a new contribution.

Situational Scenario 2

A group of four people is starting an entrepreneurship project. They are forming a cooperative that prepare food using biological and local products. They want to manage a restaurant, and prepare catering for events and ceremonies.

They want to buy product from local producers and give value to local agriculture.

Try to hypothesize their key activities. [Select ingredients and products, preparing food, presenting food, looking for clients, communicating their value, etc.]

Issue question: what are strategic skills members need to have? If they have not some of them, what can they do?

Choose the best option A, B or C
  • The skills linked to key activities are: knowledge of alimentary products, measuring quality of food, cooking, presenting food, commercial skills, communication, and administration and management skills. If none of the members can cook, select products, presenting and selling food, members should get this skills from outsides, looking for employees and management.
  • It is necessary to find some skills between members: knowledge of alimentary products, measuring quality of food, cooking, presenting food, commercial skills, communication, administration and management skills. If the four members do not hold some of them, they should discuss case by case. If they can get the skill with a training course or studying and practicing by themselves, they should do it. If they need specialized people, they can engage a new person in the cooperative, paying attention to the economic sustainability. They can buy from external people performances that are not strategic (for example, to clean the restaurant), or not so frequently used (for example, a particular kind of cooking in a small village in winter, with few clients).
  • All skills are necessary, and so the four members has to cover all activities, also if they are not strategic (for example to clean restaurant). If it is not sustainable to engage new people as members, it is necessary for them to work more and to do everything.

(NOTE: Answers can be found at the end of the Course)

Further reading

  • ICA International Co-operative Alliance (1995), Statement on the Co-operative Identity: Click Here
  • Cooperatives UK (2009), Simply Legal – All you Need to Know about Legal Forms and Organizational Types for Community Enterprises, Manchester. Click Here
  • Ready, Steady, Coop! a practical guide for cooperative startups (CoopstarterProject): Click Here
  • Co-operACTION, toolkit for young co-operators (2013), Brussels, IFM SEI
  • Peredo A.M., Chrisman J.J. (2006), “Towards a Theory of Community-Based Enterprise”, The Academy of Management Review, 31(2), pp. 309-328. Click Here
  • Conaty P., Bollier D. (a cura di) (2014), Toward an Open Co-operativism. A New Social Economy Based on Open Platforms, Co-operative Models, and Commons , A Report on a Commons Strategies Group Workshop, Berlin.
  • Birchall J. (2011), People-Centered Businesses – Co-operatives, Mutuals and the Idea of Membership, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.
  • Holyoake G.J. (1893), The History of the Rochdale Pioneers, Swan Sonnenschein & Co, Londra, (1st ed.1857).
  • International Labour Organization (ILO) (2002), “Recommendation Concerning the Promotion of Cooperatives”, Recommendation no. 193, Geneva.
Links to relevant websites

Cooperatives Europe
Click Here

I.C.A. - International Cooperative Alliance Click Here

Blueprint I.C.A.
Click Here

Stories Project, by Euricse and I.C.A.:
Click Here

Cooproute project – The European Route of cooperative culture:
Click Here

The University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives:
Click Here

The Italian documentation centre on cooperatives and social economy:
Click Here

Community Cooperative of Melpignano, in the south of Italy:
Click Here

The Italian project Coop startup:
Click Here
Click Here

Cecop - European Confederation of Industrial and Services Cooperatives
Click Here

2: Cooperative Formation - Module Exam

Please, test your knowledge of this module answering to the following YES-NO questions:
Yes No
The aim of a community cooperative is to gain the maximum from the economic investment made by citizens
Mutuality is the reciprocal support in order to optimize the results of efforts
To form a cooperative it is not necessary to have a precise business project
Cooperative should adopt organizational and managerial models that are centred on the active participation of all members
In cooperative all members have equal voting power
Cooperatives are not involved in providing education and training for their members
A cooperative enterprise should be economically sustainable in a long time
The team is a particular form of group, with a precise definition of tasks and activities, specific roles and high members commitment
Skills and attitudes of the members of a cooperative in the start-up phase is not related to the enterprise key-activities
In a community cooperative it is important to find between members the necessary technical expertise to carry out the specific activities the enterprise want to carry on

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Module 3 - Project Implementation

Skill Topic Area
Planning Phase
Risk Management
Change management process
Communication plan
Quality planning
Planning the Controlling Tools
Project Control Cycle
Meetings and workshops
Tools and analysis
Problem Solving
Situational scenarios
Further Reading
Module Exam

Skill Topic Area:

Project Management skills e.g. how to prepare a GANTT Chart, problem solving (how to handle difficult situations).


Project implementation (or project execution) is the phase, where visions and plans of the possible “community cooperative project“, become reality, where “project inputs are converted to project outputs”.

In general we could divide the project management process into 4 logical phases: Definition, Planning, Implementation and Closure.

Project definition phase is included in first Course Module. Anyway, do not forget that the finalized project goal(s) together with the requirements and specifications of the desired project result are the most important groundwork for further project planning. Project planning phase is extremely important for the successful implementation and closure of a project. In order to be in control of the project activities and results we need a plan - a "list" of actions and their required results. Project implementation phase simply means carrying out the activities described in your plan – so it is almost impossible to conduct and manage a project without one. Project closure phase comes when the real mission of the project is realized, but there are still some tasks to be accomplished – paper work, reporting etc.. We still continue to apply the basic project control cycle and implementation tools until LOP (list of open items) is closed.

Planning phase

What do we have to plan? Did you guess “just everything”? You were right. And the more detailed your plan is, the better. But of course that to plan everything is not real.

Planning the project schedule

Planning the project schedule comprises three steps: planning the milestones, creating a network diagram of all the work packages, and setting up the Gantt chart.

Milestones focus on major progress points that must be reached to achieve success. They are special and most important points of our project time line.

Network diagram is a graphical overview over the logical sequence of all the work packages that have to be done and the milestones that have to be accomplished. In the Implementation phase of the project management process it will enable us to control project implementation progress on the level of logical work sequence.

Gantt chart is a chart showing the timing of project activities-work packages using horizontal bars, it depicts the frequency of work packages and determines the period of time for implementation. The time is represented on the horizontal axis, and work packages on the vertical axis. Bars are entered to indicate the time period allocated for each activity-work package. Simply, we draw a graphic with all the work packages as bars, each one located with reference to a common time line, and with each one’s length corresponding to its duration.

Planning the project budget

Resource plan - are costs of human resources, tools and material cost integrated with the project schedule on work package level

We can close the core of the planning phase when we have all the plans we were writing about
  • PBS and WBS
  • milestone plan, network diagram, and Gantt chart
  • resource plan, accumulated cost plan, and payment plan

Project Risk Management

Real life is unpredictable. That’s why we need for our project not just plans for ideal circumstances, but also plans how to deal with problems. With these we are flexible enough to proceed the project successfully to end.

Project risk is defined by Project Management Institute as 'an uncertain event or condition that, if it occurs, has a positive or negative effect on a project’s objectives'. Project risk is the possibility that project events will not occur as planned or that unplanned events will occur that will have a negative impact on the project.

Known risks are events that can be identified before they occur, they could be analysed and advanced planning is possible. The other risks are unforeseen and unknown. Risk management process basically consists of identifying, evaluating and assessing the risks to the project and managing those risks to minimize or mitigate their impact on the project.

Unfortunately the risks could not be eliminated, there is an infinite number of events that can have a negative impact on our project. The objective of Risk Management is to predict those risks, assess their likelihood and impact, and to actively plan what should be done ahead of time to best deal with situations when they occur. Risk management could be, also depending on the size of the project, informal or very formal with defined processes and methods for identification and evaluation of the risks using tools as checklists, brainstorming, risk register, expert inputs or a risk breakdown structure (RBS) - following the work breakdown structure (WBS) to identify risk by activity.

The change management process

The risk management can take care of foreseeable eventualities. But there are also things that happen very often, which we cannot foresee. These events can lead to problems which are not covered by our plans. Then, it is very useful to have at least a generic procedure planned, how to deal with unforeseeable events and their impact, that is, how to manage project changes. So, following part of our planning should be to create Change management plan. Depending on the project specifics, this plan should include the process of the change – means „who, what, when, how to manage change on the project“, further also tools we want to use (SW, Templates,…) and change control activities, which are integrated throughout the whole project. These activities include review, analysing and approving change request promptly, managing the approved changes, maintaining baselines, coordinating changes across the project and documenting the whole impact of the change on the project.

Project Communication plan

For small projects, communication can be quite simple, but the bigger and more complicated the project is, the more complicated and more important communication becomes. In order to make all project communications successful we need to prepare a project communication plan.

The communication plan lists the audiences for the project, the information we plan to communicate, how we will compile the information, and the communication methods we plan to use. But the heart of the communication plan is a matrix that shows how we plan to communicate information to each project audience.

The matrix – includes following information: who (the audience), what (message, topic – usually some kind of report), from whom (Communicator), schedule or frequency (when / how often), delivery method (how).

Project Quality planning

Quality Planning is the process for “identifying which quality standards are relevant to the project and determining how to satisfy them”. Quality planning means planning how to fulfil process and product (deliverable) quality requirements. Managers should consider quality planning in conjunction with the rest of the project planning because it influences costs, scheduling and other factors. Without strong quality planning, a project carries an increased risk that the client won't be satisfied with the results. The Quality Management Plan defines the acceptable level of quality, which is typically defined by the customer, and describes how the project will ensure this level of quality in its deliverables and work processes. It helps the project manager determine if deliverables are being produced to an acceptable quality level and if the project processes used to manage and create the deliverables are effective and properly applied.

Planning the Controlling Tools

To show you the whole picture of planning, it is useful to plan also use of controlling tools in advance – so the metrics and procedures are unified and the data comparable. There is more information in a separate Course Module, but here you can see some examples of project management metrics, that can be tracked:
  • Comparison of actual with planned quantities (e.g. “76 of 105 windows installed”)
  • 0 – 50 % – 100 % method (work on work package not started – ongoing – finished)
  • Estimation of remaining effort and duration
  • "Simple" tools, like work breakdown structure (WBS), network diagram and Gantt chart
  • Milestone Trend Analysis
  • Earned Value Analysis (including schedule variance and cost variance)

Project Control Cycle

When all our planning is done – we have detailed plan for scope, schedule and budget, our plan also include the risk analysis and the flexibility for changes, we have also a quality and communication plan and we decided what kind of controlling tools we will use, the Implementation phase can start. In project implementation or project execution, we put it all together. We follow the basic project control cycle, we apply the controlling tools while comparing results of action with required results as shown in picture.

Project meetings and workshops

The face to face contact is always the most efficient tool for communication not only within the project team. That’ s why we use the meetings and workshops for comparing, analysing and deciding work progress, next steps and applying planned project controlling tools. The most common general types of meeting follow.

Picture by John Benson on flickr

A project Kick-off meeting is a planning event being held at the beginning of the project (or its specific phase) to ensure that every person involved in delivering the project clearly understands the objectives, procedures and plans. The main purpose is to present the project planning status to the stakeholders, especially to all our team members, and to officially start project implementation phase.

Regular project status review meetings are held throughout project implementation and closure phases, so we are able to control the achieved results. These meetings are organized on a regular basis to exchange and analyse information on current progress of the project and its performance. During such a meeting, the project manager distributes performance reports among the participants to allow the team and stakeholders to gain visibility into current performance levels and task progress.

Special project meetings – are held just in case of an event or arising problem in project implementation occurs and they focus only on that problem or event. In case of a serious problem (affecting the whole project or major parts) occurs we can hold also Problem solving workshops. Risk management workshops-should be held regularly throughout all the project management process

Reports (Project status report)

The basis for all the kinds of project meetings and workshops are Reports.

Well-structured and regular project management reports are indispensable for project controlling during the project implementation. Good reports also help to keep meetings and workshops short and efficient. The reports should follow your communication plan. There are many kinds of them and you can always use one of the templates available.

For successful project implementation we always need to know in what state the project activities are. We planned some controlling tools so now we need to collect the data and analyse and react on them.

Tools and analysis

Gantt chart as a tool for controlling the project schedule on work package level focuses on actual time used, compared with time planned, for each work package. Using the Gantt chart we created in our planning phase we have bars showing the time planned for each work package to be finished. During the implementation phase we use second colour or shading for each bar to indicate the state of progress at any particular point in time. Finished work packages we mark for example as checked.

Milestone trend analysis (MTA) enables us to visually check how we are doing about our milestones, and it tells us usually as first, if we are starting to have some delay or not.

The second type is the analysis of earned value vs. planned value (EVA), which is another important project controlling tool that helps to control schedule and also cost in larger projects. It is used as a tool for cost control as it is very helpful in determining how the project is going, in terms of cost, scope and time. That is, whether the cost is under control and if it will go over our planned budget or in how much time the project would be completed if we continue working at the same pace.

Thus Earned Value Analysis is helpful to plan and make changes in our plan depending on the current scenario and other internal and external factors which may influence the project later on. (Note that Earned Value Analysis calculations for any project can be done at any point of time, but if we are not using earned value management, we might not get accurate results.)

Problem Solving

In the life cycle of any project, there will almost always be unexpected problems and issues. There are many types of problems we can face like knowledge problems, troubleshooting problems, resource problems, social problems, design or mathematical and so on. But we should be always ready to deal with these problems or they could potentially affect the project’s outcome. Some problems are small and can be resolved quickly. Other problems are large and may require significant time and effort to solve. These larger problems are often tackled by turning them into formal projects.

Either the problem is small or large, it is always good to follow the Problem solving process to stay more effective. Process is the series of logical steps that followed to produce an optimum solution.

Situational scenarios

Now, test your knowledge answering to the issues proposed about the following situational scenarios.

Situational scenario

Imagine that you are part of project team that moves a leisure time children club to a better place. See the statements below and identify the right one:
  • The only milestones in the project are: start of the project, moving of the furniture to a new place, end of the project.
  • There is no need to put these activities in network diagram: finding new place for children club, packing the furniture, moving the furniture, preparing welcome party at the new place etc.
  • These activities are worth being in a network diagram: finding new place for children club, packing the furniture, moving the furniture, preparing welcome party at the new place etc.

(The answer can be found at the end of the Course)

Situational scenario 2

Imagine again, that you meet project team that moves a leisure time children club to better place.

See the stories below and identify, where the mistake is:

  • ‘We decided to find suitable place, because the place we have now is too small. We looked in newspaper and online for new places and visited some of them, first 2 weeks we could not find something big enough with good public transport connections so we were desperate and wanted to give up, … .’
  • ‘We decided to find suitable place, because the place, we have now, is too small. We, as the project team decided in advance on criteria for the new place and wrote them in a document. This document with requirements was sent to broader public so all friends could help us to find the place. All the possible candidates we kept in special chart with contact info and space for commentaries, with columns about visit, status of negotiation, etc., so all the members of the team can see results. In the plan we estimated, that 3 weeks are enough, but we did not find the place so early. That´s why we called special meeting where we discussed and put lower the requirements (according to offer on the market) and decided to add another 3 weeks’ time and shorten some of other phases of the project (for example packing and unpacking).’
(The answer can be found at the end of the Course)

Further Reading

1.1. - For more info about project scope go to: project scope, project scope definition, defining-the-project-scope-tips-amp-free-template
For more info about Effort and Duration Estimation go to: effort estimation or estimation, critical chain method, critical chain
For more info about Critical Path Method (CPM) of planning go to: critical path or see CPM video.)
For more info about resources go to: assigning resources, possibility of using SW tools
For more info about budget planning go to: project budget, 6-budget-planning-steps-to-professional-project-estimates, budget-planning-project-management

1.2.- For more info about Risk breakdown structure see RBS video, or go to: understanding-the-rbs, rbs
For more info about risk management you can also go to: risk management, risk analysis, risk management plan

1.3. - For more info about process of change management go for example here: project change management, Write-a-Change-Management-Plan, change management, how-to-make-changes-on-a-project.

1.4.- For more info about project communication go to : the-project-communication-plan, how-to-create-a-project-communication-plan

1.5.- For more info about project quality plan go to: quality-planning, quality-planning-important-project-management, project-quality

2.3 - For more info about budget status report go to: project cost management
For more info about project status analysis go to: milestone trend analysis, mta, MTA, earned value project management, value analysis

3 - For inspiration about generating problem solutions go to: fishbone-diagram, swot-analysis
For more info about problem solving go to : http://satheespractice.blogspot.cz/2012/05/problem-solving-skills.html
problem solving techniques

3: Project Implementation - Exam questions

Please, test your knowledge of this module answering to the following yes/no questions:

Yes No
Is it true that the work breakdown structure or the product breakdown structure show the "part-whole" relations - in contrast, the project network diagram shows the "before-after" relations?
A Gantt chart is a type of bar chart that illustrates the start and finish dates of the terminal elements and summary elements of a project.
The risk management can take care of unforeseen eventualities
Project status report contains primarily status of progress in quality and communication
A project Kick-off meeting is held at the beginning of the project and its main purpose is to explain the project to anybody involved
It is not necessary to achieve the project results within the triple constraint – scope, time and cost. In case we follow 2 of these 3 limitations we will be successful anyway
Lack of human or other valuable recourses is only hardly ever a reason for project failure
We do not need a plan or define specifications for applying the control cycle in implementation phase of the project management process

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Module 4 - Keeping your Project on Track

Skill Topic Area
Quality Assurance Plan
Evaluation Methods
Quantitative Evaluation methods
Qualitative Evaluation methods
Further Reading
Module Exam

Skill Topic Area:

Project Evaluation Skills e.g. project evaluation techniques; how to create/develop questionnaires).


How can one know if the project is going according to the plan?
How can one foresee potential risks and avoid them?
How can you measure the partner engagement and contribution within a project or common activity?
Who will tell if the project deliverables and outcomes are developed according to the standard, qualitative and efficient?

Project evaluation, quality assurance and management should help in this.

Before to start with Project Quality Assurance planning, short intro about the Evaluation and Monitoring could be helpful:

Youtube Source. STAND - Introduction to Monitoring & Evaluation

Project Quality Assurance Plan

How to start? First things first – you have to have a plan! In order to assure the quality of the project, the evaluation action plan including measuring techniques in necessary. The Project Quality Management and Assurance Plan.
Quality Assurance Plan includes steps that will be taken in order to ensure that the impact and quality of the project’s products are measured in a systematic way for assessment and improvement the developed product’s quality. It outlines the methods of formative evaluation that should be used throughout the project, outline the project partners’ vision of a quality culture and specify the indicators for monitoring of quality.

Purpose of the plan

Define, whether you need to reach a common agreement by all the partners to have a set of procedures for evaluation. Or that the tools for monitoring and progress overview is necessary. Or the evaluation of the received feedback, identify deficiencies and incorporate the improvements? Or maybe everything of it?

Indicate responsibilities for activities such as mentoring, auditing work products, processes, participating in project reviews, etc.

List the data elements and the quality measurement tools that will be used to measure project quality.

Quality Planning and assurance

Which quality standards are important to the project and how to meet them? Identify and define appropriate quality measures for project processes, product functionality, regulatory, project deliverables, project management performance, documentation, testing, etc.
  • What are the project output goals?
  • How can one say that they are achieved?
  • What level of satisfaction or response you want to achieve within this project or its deliverables?
Identify quality standards and expectations for customers, the project, organization and federal regulations, define customer and project goals, quality standards, critical success factors for which to measure success, and outline acceptance criteria for project deliverables and product performance.
Measure Project Quality
  • What evidence proves that the project organization is effective?
  • How and when one can say that the project is successful?
  • What will be the accepted criteria by all project groups that the project deliverables and product performance is satisfactory?

Youtube resource: „The seven secrets of good monitoring and evaluation”:

Analyze Project Quality

Analyze quality data, document opportunities for improvement and apply what was learned from quality analysis to eliminate gaps between current and desired levels of performance. Improve Project Quality
  • Identify ways of doing things better, cheaper, and/or faster. For projects, identify ways of eliminating unsatisfactory performance.
  • Identify those monitoring and controlling actions that will be conducted to control quality throughout the project’s life.
  • Define how it will be determined that quality standards comply with the defined standards outlined earlier in this document.

Evaluation Methods

For a better planning of the data collection and analysis, it is suggested to include a few key evaluation questions . These are high level questions that the evaluation is intended to answer (for example, "How effective was the programme?").There can be different types of options for different types of evaluation questions:

Quantitative Evaluation methods

Quantitative data collection methods counts the frequencies, rates or percentages or other statistics. They document the actual existence or absence of problems, behaviors or occurrences.

These methods usually are objective and require the use of standardized measures, such as:

  • Video tutorial: How to create a Survey on Google Drive

    Erica Douglass „Create a Free Online Survey Using Google Docs (Free Online Survey Tool)”: published 17.02.2010.

  • Video tutorial: How to create a Survey on Survey Monkey

    StemMacTech „Survey Monkey Tutorial”, published 04.09.2012.

  • Video tutorial: How to create questionnaire on Word

    Barton Poulson, „Creating a questionnaire in Word”, published 08.10.2009.

  • Video tutorial: How to create a questionnaire on Excel

    ExcelFun „Excel Magic Trick #111: Build a Questionnaire”, published on 08.10.2008.

  • Video tutorial: Qualitative analysis of interview data: a basic step-by-step guid

    Kent Lofgren, Sweden, „Qualitative analysis of interview data: a step-by-step guide”, published on 19.05.2013.

Qualitative Evaluation methods

Qualitative data collection methods help to describe the problem, behaviour or events, as well as describe the opinions, attitudes and beliefs, such as:

Focus groups
  • Video tutorial : Conducting a Focus Group

    The University of British Columbia Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology „Conducting a Focus Group”, published 19.11.2013.

  • Ohio State University, „Overview of the Process of Conducting Focus Groups”, published 08.11.2012.

  • Video tutorial: Analyzing data from a focus group

    The Ohio State University Office of Student Life , „Analyzing data from a focus group”, published 06.11.2013

Open-ended questions on a survey or a questionnaire
  • Video tutorial : Open-ended Question Data Analysis

    Jacqueline Clarke, „Open-ended Question Data Analysis”, published 21.03.2013.

Case studies/stories
  • Video tutorial: Planning a case study

    Graham R Gibbs „Case Study. Part 2 of 3 on Case studies”, published 16.06.2013.

  • Video tutorial: Case study analysis

    Sanjay Kumar, „How to analyze a case study”, published 16.06.2014.

Field studies and observations, etc.
  • Video tutorial: Observational meth

    Dr. Johnson’s PSY „05:Observational methods 1/2", published 1.10.2011.

  • Video tutorial: Naturalistic Observation

    Ash Lanquist „Research Methods: Naturalistic Observation”, published 14.08.2012

Further reading

4: Keeping your Project on Track - Module Exam

1. What is quality assurance?
  A. It guarantees the highest possible efficiency, relevance, impact and sustainability of the results and outcomes.
  B. The act of overseeing all activities and tasks needed to maintain a desired level of excellence.

2. Quality Assurance plan consists of these steps:
  A. Purpose of the plan
  B. Organization and responsibilities
  C. Tools and Environment
  D. All of mentioned above

3. What are the stages of continual project improvement?
  A. Plan, do, check, act
  B. Plan, check, do, check, act, check
  C. Plan, plan, plan and do.

4. What kind of evaluation methods are used for data collection?
  A. Qualitative, quantitative and the best available methods
  B. Only qualitative methods
  C. Qualitative and quantitative methods

5. What evaluation method should be more effective in each case?
To measure the percentage of target group users – female and male?
  A. Questionnaire
  B. Focus group
  C. Interview
To clarify the attitude of the target group regarding the effectiveness of this course?
  A. Focus group interviews or interviews
  B. Survey
  C. Case study
To bring and understanding of a complex issue or object and extend experience of what is already known through previous experience?
  A. Survey
  B. Case study
  C. Interview

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Module 5 - Effective Communication/Marketing

Skill Topic Area
“One to One”
Message Chunking
Group communication
Internal/external communication
Communication plan
Chairing a meeting
Recognizing body language
Report writing
Project website creation
Effective use of the media
Writing style and layout/design
Further Reading/Websites
Module Exam

Skill Topic Area

How to make external and internal, presentations, use of PowerPoint, Chairing meetings, recognizing body language, report writing, project website creation, effective use of media, print, radio, television.


As a CCF you will need to communicate with your cooperative members to come to decisions and to deal with administrative issues but you will also communicate with other external parties.

General ‘good to knows’ about communication

In everyday use communication is the process of transferring information from one entity to another.

It is important that there is a division between information and the medium to transfer it, very often it is considered one and the same – they are not. It is possible to distinguish between the information being sent and the medium used to send it.
  • Information can be: Words, gestures, drawings, paintings, songs, music.
  • The means can be: speeches, emails, blogs, forums, text, messages, voice messages, poems, essays, books, newspapers, ads, articles, and practically anything you can speak through, write on or draw on.

There are also different types of communication written communication, oral communication, non-verbal communication, active listening and there are different types of conversations. By understanding that there exist different types, you can improve your skills as a communicator.

If you are consciously about what you want as a communication outcome, and the kind of conversation that you want, you will be able to:
  • work intentionally to create what you want (with this conversation);
  • consider what the other person wants; and
  • and finally be a better communicator.

There exist different conversations types; debate, argument, and dialogue. So how you conduct yourself (meaning what you say, how you talk in terms of tone etc, should be differently depending on the type of communication you are involved in.)

“One to One”

One to one communication is an activity, in which an individual is communicating with another individual. Please note that individual in this context can be both an individual as in a person, but can also be a company, an organisation, etc. It simply just means that one entity is communicating with another and no third parties are involved in this communication action.

For instance when you send out a mail to a person to announce news or other relevant issues related to your project, this is one to one communication.
Some of the benefits of one to one communication are the following:
  • Higher impact than by using mass-communication
  • Being able to tailor your message to one specific person
  • Higher chances of receiving focused feedback
The difficult part of all communication is to get your message out there.

Message Chunking

The term ‘less is more’ is essential when trying to understand the meaning of message chunking.

Message chunking can be good, if for instance you are trying to explain your project, and project descriptions can often be quite long because you have objectives, aims, target groups, activities, results, cooperative members, etc., and when you are finished with your explanation, you realize that the receiver of this information is still considering the objectives of the project.

If you do message chunking, you will filter the information for your audience according to their interest and benefits. Then make sure that they understand this and ask if there are questions; then perhaps move forward to the next information, and so on. Try to give them the facts that are most interested for them first to keep them attracted to your contents!



Another interesting communication tool is the method ‘mirroring’. The main purpose of mirroring is to improve the relation with another person by simply imitating the other person’s physical positions and mannerisms and or imitating the other person’s verbal approach and style.

Physical mirroring is when the person mirroring reflects the body posture and non-verbals of the other person. On the other hand, in verbal mirroring the person doing the mirroring adopts the tone of voice, word use and communication style of the other person. Of course this method is mostly useful in one to one communication but you can also use it by answering questions in a bigger group.

Group communication

Good and effective group communication is a mixture of a variety of elements:
  • You need to know what your audience wants;
  • You need to prepare good, interesting and engaging content;
  • You also need to be confident when presenting the material;
  • You have to know how to manage your environment successfully, and;
  • Your message must have maximum impact.

Internal/external communication.

In communication there is to distinguish between internal and external communication, and which activities belong to either the internal or external category.

Internal communication is activities that are performed within a closed forum, for instance an organisation or a cooperation consortium. With regards to cooperatives, internal communication could be when all cooperative members need to discuss general issues, make decisions on common topics, and share information among them. You are often performing such activities internally without being really aware of it e.g. sending an email to your colleagues.

Make your choice! You get a new staff member in the cooperative administration. How to get him/her included in the overall communication procedures?
  • I tell everyone to update the colleague by sending him/her the relevant material.
Maybe this is not such a good idea as people might send the same things and consider different issues as important to share. The poor new colleague might get overloaded with emails and will have some troubles to get an overview.
  • I organize a meeting with the communication team and they introduce all material and communication procedures to the new colleague.
Perfect choice! In that way the communication team can explain the whole communication flow, the communication plan and material incl. branding that is to be used. During the meeting examples can be given and the new colleague can ask questions or at least knows the people to contact if there are some aspects to clarify at a later stage.
  • I include him/her in the general email list and assume that she/he will pick up the contents by getting familiar with material and continuous updates and information sent to the entire team.
It is definitely a good step to include the new colleague in the email list and also “learning by doing” will happen in the process. Still it would be easier for your colleague to get a short introduction first that he/she can understand the emails much easier.

External communication is considered to reach an audience beyond the inner circle - in other words, communication that is directed to someone outside of your cooperative consortium. External communication can be addressed to specific target groups, to the general public, to funding bodies, to other cooperatives or the communication with divers media… External communication is for instance, when you send a newsletter to identified stakeholders or target groups or if you release a press release to be published in the regional newspapers.

We give you here a list with examples of different communication and marketing instruments/options. Try to rank them from 1 to 28 according to your project/initiative. What is the most important for you to spread your message and to reach your target audiences? Which are the best available options for you? You will find out that big discussions will rise already within your team.

Communication plan

A communication plan can be a useful tool, to help you get the best out of your planned communication and marketing activities.

What should you consider when developing a communication plan?

Determine your goals: It is vital that even before you begin the actual development of the plan that you have decided, which goals and objectives you have you’re your communication plan.
Examples of goals can be:
  • increase product sales/success, for instance if you have a new product or service, you want to promote;
  • To increase awareness; and
  • To announce/promote a precise event, communal or political initiative.
Identify target audience: Each goal of the communication should address at least one relevant target audience. When you know your audience in advance, you can better develop and deliver the messages that you want.

Determine your resources: It is very important that you allocate the necessary and even more important the available resources:
  • Human resources/time
  • Material/financial resources
  • Technological expertise and technological means available
Identify key messages: Key messages are the concepts that you want your target group or audience to remember from your communication campaign. These messages should be carefully selected and incorporated into all of your communication (marketing and promotion) materials and activities.

Determine channels of communication: You can select different approaches, for instance the Internet, magazines, events, radio etc.

Prepare a budget: You need to realize your communication plan and thus prepare a budget. Please always remember to include 10% more of the final estimated budget to cover unforeseen changes or activities in the development of the plan.

Evaluation: Each communication activity should be evaluated to measure it against the pre-defined goals. You can measure this through indicators such as visits to the website, direct feedback/comments etc.

Allocate responsibilities: It is almost impossible to cover all communication issues with one person. Therefore, you should think of building a communication team within your cooperative members and allocate the responsibilities according to the expertise and skills of each of the team.
Example of a communication plan:


There are four key elements to a successful presentation:

The peculiar thing about presentations to groups, are that they are the judges, thus you might think yourself that you did a good job, but the responses from the group/audience might imply otherwise. Therefore, it is very important that even before you think about your presentation and what you should say that you think about who your audience is and what they want out of your presentation.

Here are some steps to act more confidently:

Practice to build confidence – If you just memorize your presentation, when you are performing, it will sound very rehearsed, however, you can practice the key elements and be familiar with the overall setting and content, so you feel comfortable about speaking, because you know that you KNOW the presentation.
Be flexible – This is much easier if you are comfortable with the material. This cannot be done with material that you saw for the first time the day before. You need to know your material well enough to answer questions and it is always much better, if you do not know the answer, to admit it and say that you will find the answer.

Welcome statements from the audience – This clearly states that the presenter knows what he or she is talking about. It builds audience relation and it is much more likely that the audience will like you and your presentation. An example of this could be that a person in the audience has another opinion or further knowledge than you, however it may be a bit intermediating as you cannot know in advance what the person will say/do, (i.e. you may not have the answer to the question etc.) but this can turn out to be a great interaction and drive more participation from the audience, which will only improve the situation.
Use slides and other visual aids – These items can help you to deliver a confident presentation. But note that there is a balance between providing visual information as a support to the audience, and at the same time not distract them from what you are actual saying.

How good are your presentation skills?

Take the Quiz at https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newCS_96.htm and get some nice hints and tips.

Chairing a meeting

Chairing a meeting does not only mean welcoming the participants. It is a very demanding and important task. Usually a meeting runs through different stages:

1) Introduction Examples for stage 1 could be:
  • Greeting of participants
  • Familiarization with the subject matter
  • Introduction of participants (if necessary)
With an attentive introduction, you make an important contribution to creating a positive discussion climate for the meeting. In general the introduction should be kept as brief as possible.

2) Clarification of topics, objectives and organizational matters Examples for stage 2 could be:
  • Clarification of the agenda and if necessary the roles of people in the meeting (e.g. speakers, experts…)
  • Clarification of organizational matters such as breaks, time schedule
  • Explaining methods if you use any for decision making procedures or the elaboration of outcomes in group works for example

3) Working on the topics
  • Stage 3 is the heart of each meeting as here objectives, problems, opportunities and risks are specified. Solutions must be sought, alternatives assessed and decisions made.
Examples for stage 3 could be:
  • Familiarize participants with specific topics (make sure that everyone has the same standard of knowledge)
  • Stay with a topic until a result has been reached that can realistically be achieved
  • If you have regular meetings you should start by reading the meeting minutes from the last meeting. Participants should share steps that have been implemented or measures taken since the previous meeting.

4) Compilation of the results
Examples for stage 4 could be:
  • Reviewing what has been accomplished and ensuring that results can move into implementation.
  • Checking if anything is missing.
  • Set up the time frame when and how meeting minutes will be accessible for participants.
  • Set up a new meeting date if necessary.

5) Conclusion Examples for stage 5 could be:
  • Summarise the results.
  • Expression of thank you to all participants.
  • If useful you could get the participants to briefly state what they liked and what could be improved in a short feedback round.
  • Bidding farewell to the participants.

Make your choice!
You are chairing a meeting and one participant does not stop talking during a discussion. What will you do?
  • I stop him/her after a while by interrupting him and move on to the next topic.
This works sometimes but you have the risk that the “speechmaker” feels devalued and begins to explain his conduct or even worse seeks a conflict with you as moderator.
  • I will simply allow it in order to not being impolite.
If you are unlucky you might invite the “speechmaker” to talk even more as there is no objection towards him/her. In this case you will lose the other participants and definitely minimize your authority as chairperson and moderator. If you are lucky the “speechmaker” has said everything after this speech so there is nothing left for him/her to express furthermore.
  • I will try to tactfully block him/her.
You should definitely intervene – this is your role as moderator. But by no means should you embarrass the overly enthusiastic speaker. Therefore tactful blocking is the way to go! For example you could say: “the participant has just raised some important aspects and that it makes sense to reflect on them with the entire group”. Then ask the group for comments and try to move slowly towards the next topic.

Recognizing body language

Body language impacts a great deal of how we communicate, and can reflect quite accurately what's going on inside us.

It includes body movements and gestures (legs, arms, hands, head and torso), posture, muscle tension, eye contact, skin coloring (flushed red), even people's breathing rate and perspiration. Additionally, the tone of voice, the rate of speech and the pitch of the voice all add to the words that are being used.

It is important to recognize that body language may vary between individuals, and between different cultures and nationalities. It is therefore essential to verify and confirm the signals that you are reading, by questioning the individual and getting to know the person. Still there are some attitudes that can help you to “read” your audience and use your own body language to improve your presentation and communication skills.

Get a full table with body language analysis here.

Some examples are also shown in the video about gestures and body language:

How you can use body language for your own confidence? – watch this video from TED Talks by Amy Cuddy and you will be surprised!

Make your choice!

You are having a presentation and you notice in the audience a person who has clearly checked out of your presentation. Everything is leaning away from you, glasses taken off, and notepad abandoned, staring into space… What should you do?
  • I try to somehow get in contact with this person.
Good decision! Don’t give up on him/her! Eye contact is the strongest connection you can build and keep trying hard. You can also try to slightly move towards the person by going on this side of stage or if no stage try to remove all kind of barriers between the audience and you e.g. step in front of the table or the speaker’s desk. Keep trying but be prepared that you could have lost this one for different (personal) reasons. Don’t let yourself down!
  • I will approach him directly by asking a question or for a statement.
You need to be sure to not scare the person by rushing directly to him/her and at any case try to avoid embarrassing him/her by giving the feeling “got you”! If you ask a question try for example “Did I cover everything that you needed to know?” In general this option is a bit risky and you need some experience to recognize if this is a good idea or not.
  • I will ignore this person.
Pretending that you haven’t noticed is also a method but be aware that this person might be “dangerous” for your presentation. The other audience could get aware of the attitude and you don’t know if your “troublemaker” isn’t someone in a leading position or carries a certain influence that impacts some role-model effect on the others. Sometimes the negative presence is enough to turn the dynamics in the room against you.

Report writing

Each meeting should be documented in form of a report or meeting minutes.
Therefore, it might be the easiest to prepare a general template. The main issues that should be included are:
  • Date and location
  • Participants
  • Topics/Agenda
  • Resolutions, to dos and assignments with responsible parties
  • Date and name of minute taker
  • For a better understanding you can include separate attachments such as presentations, list of participants, pictures of flipcharts etc…
If you chair the meeting it is highly recommended to nominate a meeting minute taker as you are busy with steering group dynamics and handling all topics on the agenda. This person must keep up with all train of thought within the meeting and accurately record the results. If resolutions are unclear it is important to immediately ask for clarifications.
Make your choice!
You are in the exceptional situation that you have to chair a meeting and there is no one to take minutes for the meeting report. You have to cover both jobs. What are you going to do?
  • I am chairing the meeting as usual and remember all what has been said and decided. When the meeting is over I immediately write the report so that I don’t forget any details.
This is an option if the meeting is not too long and everything runs well without controversial discussions or difficult group dynamics that take a lot of effort for you to solve and guide.
  • I manage to take some key words during the meeting and if necessary I announce it and take a moment to write them down.
Also an option assuming that the meeting does not challenge you too much in problem solving activities or steering group dynamics… If you choose this option it might be a good idea to use the flipchart and summarise the key points together with all participants at the end of the meeting.
  • I record the meeting and write the report afterwards when I have time.
What a good idea! In that case you will definitely not miss anything and you don’t need to work on the meeting minutes right after a meeting. However, please ask the agreement of all participants and check the recorder and batteries before using it!

Project website creation

Having a website is a most common tool today as nowadays it is very close to correct to say that EVERYBODY is using the Internet, and your project should definitely benefit from this.
The objective of a website is to have all relevant information about the project collected in one place so the target group can access it when and wherever they want to. The website also creates awareness in the general public and is a hit, when searching for selected key words from a search engine such as Google. It is cheap, easy, and reaches a large audience. Another thing that is great about having a website is that you can upload all interesting results so they are always available for the public. You can upload newsletters, brochure, reports, documents and other information. Before you start to develop the website and think about structure etc., it is important that you consider some practical aspects about having a project website.

Make your choice!

You would like to have some interaction with your website visitors. Therefore, you decide to…
  • … include a forum on your website.
Forums are mostly difficult to keep alive and need some moderation raising topics and questions. It is also likely that you need to take care of spam entries or promotion posts of others that you don’t want to have there. If you go for this option, be clear that you create some extra work for you and your staff.
  • … link your website to social media profiles.
This is the easiest option and you have many different opportunities to do it. You can include ‘like’ or ‘share’ buttons or even give a short preview of your social media profile. You can also read out twitter feeds or Facebook posts directly on your website. It works very well but you should keep in mind that ‘less is more’ and only choose a few social media profiles instead of having too many where your target audience is not even present.
  • … establish a newsletter system where people can subscribe on the website.
If you will send out regular newsletters it is recommended to include a ‘subscribe’ on your website. You can enlarge your contact list with this activity but you might not be successful in getting active interaction besides of the step that your customer clicks on ‘subscribe’.

Effective use of media, print, radio, television

Mass media aims to reach many people/a large market at the same time. The media industry is a very powerful tool, and greatly influences opinions and people. Therefore, mass media is a preferable channel for marketing and communication, but is normally associated with costs. In order to manage it also with low budget opportunities you just need to think a little creatively and use the resources available. Are there any local TV channels that might involve lower costs than national TV, or could any local networks be persuaded to perhaps produce and/or broadcast a short film, which would also benefit them if, for instance, your project is about a theme relevant to the local community.

Basically you can divide the mass media into three different types:
  • Print media - printed media can include newspapers, magazines, brochures, newsletters, books, leaflets and pamphlets. Additionally, visual media such as photography can also be included under this sub-heading of mass media.
  • Electronic media - electronic media includes television and radio as the main channels in this category, but also films, CDs, DVDs and other new innovative electronic gadgets are included here.
  • New-age media - this third category involves the new technologies such as the Internet. It is possible to enjoy the benefits of high technology mass media, which is not only faster than the old school mass media forms, but also has a greater range. Mobile phones, computers and the Internet are often referred to as the new-age media. Additionally, within the area of the Internet, new opportunities have arisen, such as email, websites, blogging, Internet TV, social media, mobile and web applications etc.

Make your choice!

You are organizing an event intended for participants in your community. In which newspaper will you publish the information?
  • I choose a regional newspaper.
People in your region will mostly not have a long way to come to your event and they might even be in your town or municipality at that day for other reasons. Go for it if you have the opportunity!
  • I approach the local newspapers.
This will be the most beneficial option as you can be sure that people in your local area will read your information. This would be the best medium to reach your target audience.
  • I try to find a newspaper at national level.
If you are interested in publishing a general notice about your project and the event, then ‘the more the merrier’ applies – if possible publish the general notice at national level.

How to develop text, writing style and layout/design

When you develop marketing material and other documents, it is necessary that the written text looks and reads the best it can. The first thing to do when you need to compose text (it can be text for a brochure, website, blog, report etc.) is to consider the following aspects:
  • Think about your audience – the readers of the text may not know anything about what you are about to tell them. What do you think they would like to know first?
  • Develop an outline – this is helpful when writing all types of texts, but is particularly useful if the text will be quite long.
  • Use empathy – put yourself in the reader’s place, and always focus on the audience’s needs. By doing so you will develop a text that is fully tailored towards your target group.
  • Identify your main theme – this is very important and your text should be built around this.
  • Use simple language – unless you are writing an academic article it is normally better to use simple and direct language. Do not use long words just to impress people, as this seldom works.  
A fundamental principle when developing text is to tailor the text towards the intended audience. If you do not write in a way that relates to your audience, then you risk boring them or even worse, they will not understand your message at all.
Make your choice!

You are producing a leaflet to display at different places and at a conference. There is not much time to develop it. Where do you put your focus on?
  • My biggest concern is on the text.

The content is important but if you imagine being at an event with a table full of brochures, flyers and other information material. Will you read all of them to decide which one to take with you?

  • I have a clear focus on the format.

Well, it might be a benefit to have an innovative format to stick out of many other information material and documents. But this usually takes some time to find a special format and it could also be more complicated in the production process. Keep it in mind as a task with your whole communication team when you take some time to find a good decision. Maybe you come up with a format that can even underline and support your messages or activities.

  • I concentrate on the layout.

The layout is the first thing that people notice when they look at a document. You may have composed the most brilliant text in history, but if you did not think about the layout or design of the document, it is most likely that the target group will not be interested and just move on to something else.

Further reading

  • C-E.N.T.E.R.  project (ed.): Toolkit – The easiest way to better dissemination, 2009
  • Jochem Kießling-Sonntag : Meetings and Moderation, 2007
  • Ron Hoff: I can see you naked, 1992
  • Alexander Hiam: Marketing for Dummies, 2012
  • Everett M. Rogers: Diffusion of Innovations, 2003 (fifth edition)
  • David Meerman Scott: The new rules of marketing and PR, 2010
  • Martin Lindstrom: Brandwashed, 2012
  • David Ogilvy: Ogilvy on Advertising, 2011
  • David Ogilvy: Confession of an advertising man, 1991
  • Philip Kotler, 10 deadly marketing sins, 2004
Links to relevant websites

Communication skills
What is "message chunking"?
How Good Are Your Presentation Skills?

Body language
Body language

Sales and marketing
The Future of Marketing is Extreme Complexity

Website creation
Web Design Principle

Mass media
What is Mass Media?

Press release
How to Write a Press Release

Writing styles
Resume Writing Styles

How to Make a Commercial for Radio

How to Make a Commercial

5: Effective Communication/Marketing – Module Exam

Please, test your knowledge of this module answering to the following yes/no questions:

Yes No
Joomla, Drupal, PowerPoint and Typo3 are content management system tools that I can use to maintain my website
One to one communication will raise my chances of receiving focused feedback
By writing a press release I need to take care of my language to address the journalists that I will send it to
Does the navigation affect the information architecture (layout) of your website?
Creating my own customized format for printing material will save me costs in the production
If I know the main signals of body language I am able to “read” everyone’s attitude
It is better to include the information from all presentations directly in the meeting minutes instead of sending separate attachments
Newsletters are a communication instrument both for internal and external communication
By preparing the budget for my communication plan it is important to get a final amount without considering any unexpected deviations
When I prepare my PowerPoint presentation I should write what I will say on the slides that it is easier for the audience to follow

Download Full Module

Module 6 - Effective Financial Management

Skill Topic Area
Business Model
Business Plan
Financial Management
Situational Scenarios
Further Reading/Websites
Module Exam

Skill Topic Area

Producing and using spreadsheets and accounting software, fundraising skills e.g. crowdfunding - use of social media, creating business plan.


in the recent past a lot of local development projects was financed by local authorities and governement. In the last years, the public authorities, at different levels, but first of all at local level, lost part of they financial resourses and reduced their ability to impress significantly on local development, financing innovative projects.

At the same time, they reduced their ability to provide services of public interest.

Working on the business model

The business model is the set of organizational and strategic solutions through which an enterprise acquires a competitive advantage. In other words, it is the way in which the company organizes itself and its offer to create the maximum of possible value. The business model describes the logic with which an organization is able to create, han out and catch the value (cit. A. Osterwalder).

When a company create value for its customers?
  • When it helps them to carry a task that is important for them;
  • when it solve a problem for them
The success or failure of a business depends on the ability to create this value.

In our case, the “customers” of a community cooperative are citizens, that are often members, and their interest is to create value for themselves and their community, answering to their needs. The first activity to be carried out to create a start up is to determine precisely what to do, how it must be done, and for what precise customers the company wants to create value. To set up the company business plan before discussing on the business model is often a mistake, because the business plan indicates what, how long and how much money is necessary to develop the business model, that is the real first step.

As regards a cooperative, in designing a business model is therefore essential to use a people-oriented approach, paying attention to solutions that offer the most value to people (or members, and community) perspectives. Maintain a standard of high quality and practice at the same time a final price accessible is, for example, one of the best ways to enhance the perceived value. Or creating a service that was no accessible to the largest part of people, in rural or remote areas because of logistic aspects or costs.

Watch the video:
Getting From Business Idea to Business Model

Watch the videos:
Business Model Canvas

Visualizing your Business Model

You can download here the tool and the instructions: Download Here

Watch the video:
Value Proposition Canvas Explained:

You can download here the tool and the instructions: Download Here

The Business Plan

The business plan is a document to support the decision to start a new "enterprise". So, it is used for the start-up of new companies, or to develop existing entrepreneurial project (developing a new product, innovating a service, etc.)

It is used to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of an entrepreneurial project.

The aim is to evaluate the profitability of a business project, and if this is convenient if you compare it to other investment opportunities. It helps to look at a multi-year perspective and to reduce the margins of uncertainty in the business decisions of investments. If the new enterprise is trying to accede to public or private grants, it is an indispensable proof of sustainability of your project, to obtain (public or private) investors’ money.

The structure generally is formed by:
  • A descriptive part (description of the idea and of the project);
  • Market analysis (description of the market, marketing strategy);
  • Technical feasibility;
  • Economical and financial data;
  • Possible Risks.

Watch the video:
How to write a Business Plan

Financial Management

Financial management is the asset of decisions and actions with the aim of looking for capital and using it. The capital is defined as the money required for start-up and running costs of the cooperative or another company. This function of financial management is important for the ordinary management and it is linked to the research of financial resources available and to the plan of investments.

An effective financial management is constituted by a strategic component (long term plan of investments and the opportunity to cover them), an operational component, for guidance to management and decisions in a short and long term.

In financial management, it is necessary to work for a financial structure that is:
  • homogeneous, When the company is choosing the funding sources, they should try to use capital comparable to those kind of needs to be covered. For example, if our company, operating in food and beverage, is buying a kitchen equipment they intended to use for 5-8 years, it would be better to use a financial resource to refund in a long period. Often enterprise do not use this criteria, because it is easier to obtain short term loans, even though their high costs.
  • flexible, This characteristic let the financial structure able to modify and change itself as the needs and requirements are changing (as regards amount and kind of resources). For example, a company can decide to improve the loans in order to reach a good economic advantage in the following months.
  • elastic: a financial structure is elastic if it is possible to use a great variety of solutions (from the point of view of quantity and quality), and to choose the resources, optimizing it. If a cooperative has a good own capital, there will be better opportunities to access to other sources of funding (i.e. bank).
  • economic, the access to capital, for a company, has not to be too expensive. Generally the possibility to choose between different kind of sources and capitals, is too expensive. An effective financial management has to consider the sustainability of the access to capital and financial resources. Asset must have an expected return on assets before interest and taxes.
The management has to reduce the expenses of the financial structure and the financial risk (the risk that the financial sources cannot be enough to pay the loans, or that they are not available when they occur).


Generally, who wants to fund a project or a business idea, asks to banks.

But often the traditional channels of finance are not so inclusive, and a lot of people (first of all young people, unemployed, or people without references), cannot realize their entrepreneurial idea asking money to the banks.

Crowdfunding represent a new and alternative way to finance project asking to people who are interested to support it. Generally, who is using crowdfunding uses an open internet platform. A project can succeed on a crowdfunding platform when the entrepreneur is able to activate interest, to create and maintain a community of interest. People who are financing want to see that their money goes to a good and value based entrepreneurial project, and that they can have a return (a product, simply the information of what will happen).

Generally using a web platform is possible to receive fund for a project by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people.

Crowdfunding platforms are generally sustained by a percentage on funded projects, to cover management costs.

Situational Scenarios

Now, test your knowledge answering to the issues proposed about the following situational scenario.

You are in a group of people who is going to establish a cooperative to provide social service in a small community where there are no public service. To start your project, you need a car, to visit people in need condition and to accompany old or sick people to the supermarket, the post office, etc. The cooperative would be able to manage a public space in the small village, producing local food.

You are working on a crowdfunding campaign, and you are looking for a web crowdfunding platform that can be useful for your needs. Worldwide there are over 450 crowdfunding platforms. Issue question: How can you start a successful campaign and chose the better platform, involving people?

Choose the best option a) or b):
  1. The best platform is the one that is able to create a local community of interest, because it will be able to engage local people, to give tangible examples of what members are going to do with that money (for the common development too). People should be informed, should feel involved, and practically see the effect of their money.

    [This is the best way to reach people. If you are able to create a community, probably you can convince them to invest money]

  2. The best platform is an international platform, more popular than local ones, used by people all over the world.
  3. [Probably you have to wonder…Why people all over the world can be interested? Or it would be easier to stimulate the interest of local people, with practical and direct interests in their local community?]

Further reading

  • Medei R. (2004), “Reading and analysis of social cooperative budget values: Theoretical reflections and empirical evidence”, Ekonomska Istrazivanja, 17(2), pp. 121-144.
  • Barton, David, Charles Mickelsen and Seleise Barrett. Financial Planning Project on Cooperative Finance and Equity Management for Central Valley Ag Cooperative (O’Neill, NE), ACCC, Dept of Ag Econ, KSU, November 6, 2006
  • Boland, M.A. and D. Barton. “How Well Have New Generation Cooperatives Performed?” Presented at and published in Proceedings of the Risk and Profit Conference, Dept of Ag. Econ., KSU, Manhattan, KS, August 16, 2001
  • Brigham, Eugene and Ehrhardt, Michael. Financial Management: Theory and Practice (11th Ed.). (New York: South-Western) 2007.
Links to relevant websites


6: Effective Financial Management - Module Exam

Please, test your knowledge of this module answering to the following YES-NO questions:

Yes No
A community cooperative management has not to work for a sustainability in a long time. It is not important for a cooperative
Every cooperative has improve and maintain the capacity to educate its worker-owners about financial management and income generation
A company create value for its customers when it solves a problem for them
The cost structure is the summary of all the costs that are necessary to product the value
A business plan is the plan of assets necessary to produce
The working capital is necessary to sustain the cycle of production and selling
The cash flow depends on capital needs of the company
In “all or nothing funding” crowdfunding model the project can take the funds collected, even though it has not reched the goal
Generally successful crowdfunding campaigns are based on not giving clear information to the funders, and carry the project without divulgate too much information about it
In “reward based crowdfunding”, funders receive a reward for their support

Download Full Module

Module 7: Effective Human Resources Management

Skill Topic Area
Project Management (as it relates to Human Resources)
Good Communications
Body Language
Conflict Resolution
Stress Management
Time Management
Further Reading/Websites
Module Exam

Skill Topic Area

Project task allocation, delegation, interviewing skills, staff management issues and resolving conflicts.


Human Resource Management (HRM) is the function within an organization or group that focuses on the recruitment of, management of, and providing direction for the people who work in an organization.

This Module covers the following:
  • Project Management (as it relates to HRM)
  • Delegation
  • Interviewing
  • Body Language
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Mediation
  • Stress Management
  • Time Management
HRM is also a strategic and comprehensive approach to managing people which can include workplace culture and environment. Effective HRM enables people to contribute effectively and productively to the organisations overall direction and the accomplishment of shared goals and objectives.

The handbook should contain some or all of the following:

About the Cooperative
Why it exists – its’ aims and objectives.

Hours of Operation/Work Schedules
When people are working together and what they are doing.

Attendance Policy and Sick Days
Who to contact if you can’t work on a day that has been previously agreed.

Equality Policy
A policy that states all volunteers will be treated, fairly and equitably and to ensure that policies and procedures do not discriminate directly or indirectly against any group or individual on any unjustifiable grounds.
For in depth information please view this resource.

Under what circumstances can a volunteer be told they are no longer required on a project.

Drug and Alcohol Policy

A clearly stated policy which leaves individuals in no doubt about the organisations stance on the use of drugs and alcohol during working hours.

More detail can be found as follows:

Health and Safety Policy
The Health and Safety Policy is one of the most important documents you will have, as it sets out what your organisation will do to ensure the safety of those who work for you and who may be affected by work activities. This policy should also include details on what is expected of individuals in order to ensure their own and others safety in the workplace.

Smoking Policy

Telephone and Computer Use Policy
If your volunteers will be using shared IT facilities then this site
http://www.twc.state.tx.us/news/efte/internetpolicy.html will allow you to formulate appropriate guidelines.

These are just some suggestions to enable you to let volunteers know the parameters in which they will operate. For the HRM practitioner they leave no areas of doubt or ambiguity by ensuring all people are treated equally.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT (as it relates to HRM)

The objective of project management is to assist each project's transition from chaos to sanity and ultimate completion.

Project managers are used in many organisations to manage tasks as diverse as budget, timeline and daily, weekly and monthly tasks.

You may not be a project manager – you may not have managed a project before but you will have managed tasks in your own life – for example decorating a room or booking a holiday.

Project management of larger tasks will mean you may need some simple ‘tools’ to help you create a realistic plan to enable you to see at a glance what stages of a project have been completed, what still remains to be done, time left, people engaged etc. etc.

Central to all of this is keeping the work organized and keeping people who are working with you informed and happy.

Good Communications

Remember that we’re all humans. Everyone communicates differently but there are some simple standard steps to make communication easier. For example

Status meetings – regroup on a regular basis to talk about progress.

Be open an honest about how the project is progressing in terms of timeline, money, personnel etc.

Status report – compile a short report (one page) on a one or two weekly basis that can either handed out to individuals or pinned I an area where it is visible to all.

Set and manage expectations of what the team will deliver. It’s good practice to sit down with your team at the beginning of a project to explain the overall scope and once again to get their input and buy in to the project. You may not have all the answers – but they need to know that you are comfortable with them and confident in their abilities.


Delegation can be viewed by the volunteer or employee who receives it as just more work to do.

Admittedly, any job has its share of mundane tasks that have to be completed.

However if you find yourself overwhelmed by your workload then effective delegation can be the answer.

INTERVIEWING Finding the ‘right’ volunteers can be time consuming, stressful and costly. Anyone who has had to hire employees knows the process can consume most of their working day.

Here are some simple steps to make the process easier and less time consuming.

Write a job description. Examples can be found here.
This document should NOT be a catch all. Be realistic about what you want the person in the role to achieve and the skills, knowledge and experience required to fulfil the job role.

Write a person specification. Examples can be found here.

Writing these two documents gives you your selection criteria and will dictate the questions you will ask candidates at interview and also if you need to test the applicants skills on the day of interview.

For example if the job requires good IT skills a short 5 minute test is in order.

There are many ways of advertising for volunteers. Formal ways are through paid advertisements e.g. local media (newspapers and radio), through recruitment organisations and also placing an advert on the Internet with organisations who specialise in recruiting volunteers like here and here.

One of the most important, yet time consuming aspects of recruitment of volunteers is sifting through all the CV`s and/or application forms put forward for the role.

The first step is to go back to your Job description and person specification and highlight the essential criteria and use these to ‘score’ each applicant. Take some time to review each candidate's details thoroughly to make sure the person has the skills, knowledge and experience you’re looking for. By doing this you should develop a short list of people you want to interview. Contact them as soon as possible to let them know


Preparation is the key to being a good interviewer.

Decide who will interview. It’s a good idea to have a colleague interviewing with you so that you get a balanced view of the interviewees. Make sure you plan ahead to work out who is going to ask which questions, who will collect candidates from the waiting room and so on. You want to give the impression of a smooth operation on the day, so ensure everyone knows their role. Remember it is a two-way process. Read CVs/application forms before the interview. Make sure you are familiar with candidates’ names as this will enable you to address them more confidently on the day and it avoids having to hastily try to work out someone’s background while they are sitting opposite you. Prepare your questions. In the interests of fairness and in order to keep to time all candidates should be asked the same questions.


What sort of environment do you enjoy working in?
What is your greatest strength and how does it help when you volunteer?
Are you involved in any other projects or organised activities?
What are your expectations of this volunteer position?
How much tome can you give this position?
Why are you volunteering?
Talk me through your work history.
How does your work history fit in with this volunteering position?
When working as a volunteer in the past have you ever felt your work went unappreciated?
Can you recall a time when you were a member of a group and 2 other people didn’t work well together? What did you do to resolve the situation?
What do you do in your free time?
Do you have any weaknesses? What are you doing to improve them?
How did you hear about this volunteering opportunity? Why do you want to help others?
What types of people do you enjoy working with?
Why does our organisation interest you?
What keeps you motivated?


Body language says a great deal of how we communicate, and reflects quite accurately what's going on inside us.

Body language includes body movements and gestures (legs, arms, hands, head and torso), posture, muscle tension, eye contact, skin colouring (flushed red), even people's breathing rate and perspiration. Additionally, the tone of voice, the rate of speech and the pitch of the voice all add to the words that are being used.


Conflict can be positive and healthy, as well as a learning and growing experience. In some instances conflict can be an exciting and inspiring experience.

Conflict often leads to a closer examination of issues and assessment of situations and can result in creative and new ways of interacting. Relationships can be established and strengthened or terminated in a satisfying way.

Conflict can be the root of personal and social change.

Conflict is competitive behaviour between people. Some view conflict as adversarial, with a winner take all mentality, while others think conflict is a problem that needs to be solved. Some question the premise that conflict needs to be viewed as a problem at all.


What is Mediation?

Mediation is the logical extension of negotiations when parties are at impasse or cannot move in a mutually satisfying direction within their dispute. In some cases parties employ a trained, neutral, and impartial person(s) to assist them in identifying issues and interests. This interest-based negotiation with the mediator identifies options and choices, which the parties may elect in satisfaction of their needs.

It is different from positional bargaining in that parties are asked to listen actively, not argue, focus on the problem, and satisfy each other's needs. The parties retain control of the process, although others can be invited to participate.



Don't React

Buy time to think and ask yourself what's behind this behaviour today.

Don't Argue

Ask if we can settle this dispute with negotiation.



Listen Actively

Ask questions and paraphrase to indicate you care and understand.

Acknowledge Their Point

Agree whenever you can and be prepared to offer an apology.

Acknowledge the Person

Show respect, try not to interrupt, and avoid using hostile words that inflame.




Ask for their advice and opinion. Ask, "Why do you want this?”; “Help me understand why.”; “Can I tell you why this is important to me?"

Ask Problem Solving Questions

Ask, "Why not this?"; "What makes that a fair outcome?”; Ask “what if” questions with sincerity.

Focus on the Problem

The other person is not the problem; identify the critical issues for all involved.

Involve the Other Side

Give them ownership in the resolution; don't sell your ideas but engage in joint problem solving.

Satisfy Interests

Ask what's important to them, agreement should be reached in dignity and respect for each person.



Use Reality to Educate

Try not to be threatening and aggressive but realistic and sincere.

Forge a Lasting Agreement

Force or misunderstanding will undo what you thought was done; aim for mutual satisfaction not total victory.


Stress is a part of life. Most of us feel stressed at one time or another. Whether we talk of job related pressures or any sort of tension induced by personal relationships and family problems, stress affects all of us. There are many day-to-day situations that can bring stress in our lives and each person is different in respect of what constitutes personal stress. Avoiding these situations may prove to be an impossible task. The solution, therefore, lies in knowing how to manage stress


Here are some tips for better time management:

Make a single list

A common time-management mistake is trying to remember too many details, leading to information overload. A better way to stay organised and take control of your projects and tasks is to use a to-do list to write things down. Keeping a list will help you work out your priorities and timings, so it can help you put off the non-urgent tasks.”

Work smarter, not harder

Good time management at work means doing high-quality work, not high quantity. Concentrate not on how busy you are but on results. Spending more time on something doesn’t necessarily achieve more and staying an extra hour at work at the end of the day may not be the most effective way to manage your time.” You may feel resentful about being in the office after hours. You’re also likely to be less productive and frustrated about how little you’re achieving, which will compound your stress.

Have a break

Many people work through their lunch break to gain an extra hour at work, but this can be counter-productive. As a general rule, taking at least 30 minutes away from your desk will help you to be more effective in the afternoon. A break is an opportunity to relax and think of something other than work. Planning your day with a midday break will also help you to break up your work into more manageable chunks.

Prioritise tasks

Tasks can be grouped in four categories:
  • urgent and important
  • not urgent but important
  • urgent but not important
  • neither urgent nor important
Answering telephone calls – although the constant ringing seems urgent and it is a natural reaction to answer is not necessarily important. It may be more important to continue with what you were doing rather than be distracted by a phone call. When it is appropriate, it may be more effective to let your voicemail pick up the message.”

Further reading

  • Human Resource Management by Derek Torrington, Laura Hall, Stephen Taylor & Carol Atkinson - Pearson; 9th edition (25 Feb. 2014)
  • Armstrong's Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice by Michael Armstrong & Stephen Taylor - Kogan Page; 13th edition (3 April 2014)
  • Human Resource Management at Work - by Michael Marchin - Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development; 5th edition (1 Mar. 2012)
  • Introduction to Human Resource Management: A Guide to HR in Practice by Charles Leatherbarrow & Janet Fletcher - Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development; 3rd edition (1 Sept. 2014)
  • Example of high level project management template can be found here
  • Gaining commitment and buy-in to the process: Click Here
  • Template of charter: Click Here
  • Organising your people:
    Produc Launch Team

Links to relevant websites
Diversity Policy and Guidance
Drugs Policy
Alcohol Policy
Tobacco Use in the Workplace - A Model Policy
Examples of Writing Job Descriptions
Person Specification
Volunteer Centre Finder

7: Effective Human Resources Management – Module Exam

Please, test your knowledge of this module by answering the following question

When delegating is it best to give someone all or part of a task
2 4
How many steps to a successful mediation?
Should Health and Safety policy be included as a separate section in a staff handbook?
When interviewing for volunteers is it best to maintain a paper trail of your decision making process?
Is the pitch and tone of your voice relevant when communicating your message?
Is conflict always adversarial?
Is helping others a way to reduce stress?
Can missing your lunch break be counterproductive?
In everyone’s body language the same?
Would you consider a job description essential when recruiting volunteers?

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