What are proposals?

Learn about the basics of proposals, and how communities use them to make decisions on NATION.

The Basics

When it comes to cooperatives and organizations that vote together, proposals are the lifeblood of decision-making. They represent ideas, plans, and initiatives that members bring forward to be considered and acted upon. Drawing parallels to how bills are passed in governments, we will explore the intricacies of proposals, voting, voting strategies, and proposal time in the world of cooperative democracy.

Understanding Proposals: The Birth of an Idea

A proposal, much like a bill in traditional government, is an idea or suggestion presented for the consideration or discussion of the group. It can address anything from organizational changes to financial decisions, and it typically undergoes scrutiny and debate before a vote is held.

Voting: The Heartbeat of Cooperative Democracy

Voting is the process by which members of a cooperative express their preference for or against a particular proposal. This collective decision-making mechanism is akin to the legislative process in governments. Each member's vote carries equal weight, reflecting the democratic principle of "one member, one vote."

Voting Strategies: Navigating the Ocean of Choices

In cooperative organizations, different voting strategies can be employed to ensure fair decision-making. Here are a few examples:

  • Simple majority: Similar to passing a bill in a legislature, this strategy requires more than 50% of the votes in favor of a proposal for it to pass.
  • Supermajority: This method demands a higher percentage of votes in favor (e.g., two-thirds or three-quarters) to pass a proposal, ensuring broader consensus among members.
  • Ranked-choice voting: Members rank proposals in order of preference, allowing for a more nuanced expression of opinion and the possibility of compromise.
  • Consensus decision-making: This approach seeks the agreement of all members, fostering a collaborative environment and reinforcing the cooperative spirit.

Proposal Time: The Clockwork of Progress

The proposal time in cooperatives is the period during which ideas are brought forward, discussed, and voted upon. Timelines can vary, but it is essential to strike a balance between allowing ample time for deliberation and maintaining momentum for progress. In the world of government, this is similar to the legislative calendar, where bills have a specific timeframe for debate and voting.

Just as bills undergo readings, committees, and debates before becoming law, proposals in cooperatives must be carefully considered before reaching a final decision. Ensuring transparency and open communication throughout the process is vital for building trust among members and fostering a sense of collective ownership.


Proposals, voting, voting strategies, and proposal time all contribute to the harmonious functioning of cooperatives and other organizations that vote together. By drawing on the best practices from traditional government systems, these entities can create a vibrant, collaborative environment