Through a one hour consultation over the phone, USFWC provides a clear channel for members to easily access the wide-range of benefits available through our national network. This replaces the previous TA benefit of 4 hours of direct technical assistance per member per year.
What is a ‘Member Custom Consultation’?
A structured 1-hour meeting designed around understanding a member’s coop-specific business needs and providing informed recommendations for securing time-sensitive and ongoing business technical assistance support (think of us as your go-to for resources specific to democratic business management and governance). During the consultation, members are provided with a menu of support options available from the USFWC community.
What to expect from a ‘Member Custom Consultation’?
After an hour with a USFWC staffer, your workplace will have one or more of the following:
- A deeper understanding of the available USFWC resources specific to your workplace’s interests and needs (may include upcoming webinars or training programs, invitation to participate in a relevant peer network, workshop suggestions at the national conference, etc)
- Follow-up email with links to specific online resources, organizations able to offer additional support, and other useful connections (usually industry or geography-based)
- Introduction to other democratic workplaces able to offer advice on specific workplace challenges
- Referral to an expert advisor for one-on-one consulting – based on workplace’s available budget. This may include: DAWN Peer Advisors, cooperative developers in our referral network, or a staffer at the Democracy at Work Institute or USFWC. USFWC seeks to identify need-based free and low-cost TA for members whenever possible and we also work to negotiate discounted consulting prices with providers in our referral network. However, please note that one-on-one business consulting services are generally fee-based and paid for by the workplace.
How does a member reserve a ‘Custom Consultation’?
Please email your request, answering the following questions, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Consults are scheduled on a first come, first serve basis. Depending on staff availability, we will schedule your consult as soon as possible.
- Please describe the coop-specific business project or challenge that you are seeking support for through a custom consultation with the USFWC.
- Background information?
- Describe any efforts taken so far to work on this issue/project
- Describe any obstacles currently preventing you from solving your problem/challenge?
- What’s your time frame to complete your project?
- What resources are you prepared to allocate – labor/worker hours and money? Do you have an approved budget for one-on-one business technical assistance?
- How long have you been operating as a worker cooperative / democratic workplace?
- How many worker-owners/members are involved in your business / organization?
- Who is the primary contact person to followup with scheduling custom consult?
- Please indicate any language preference. Spanish-speaking staff are available for member consults.
Frequently Asked Questions
How should I prepare for our ‘Member Consultation’?
Depending on the details in your request, you may be asked to provide additional information via email before meeting. If needed, USFWC staff will send an email request at least 3 business days before your scheduled consultation and you are requested to provide a response within 12 hours of your consultation time.
Who conducts the ‘Member Consultations’?
You’ll be speaking with a USFWC staff member for your consultation. This staffer can provide additional referrals for deeper one-on-one technical assistance support as applicable.
Is there a limit to the number of ‘Member Consultations’ per workplace member per year?
During our pilot 2016/2017 year, each workplace is entitled to 1 consultation per year. As this is new benefit rolls out in 2016, we anticipate significant member interest and request that member workplaces reach out early to reserve a consultation, as slots fill up on a first-come first-serve basis.
Are ‘Member Consultations’ available in Spanish?
Yes! Please indicate language preference when you request your consultation.
How many worker-owners/members should participate in the ‘Member Consultation’?
It’s great to have at least two worker-owners/members participate in the phone call or meeting.
Questions? Please contact email@example.com
Background & Rationale
When the USFWC started in 2006, we quickly developed the tangible member benefit of four (4) free hours of personalized technical assistance per member workplace per year. This technical assistance was often provided by USFWC staff, DAWN peer advisors, other USFWC members, and experts within our network. For many years, there were few other options for worker cooperatives to secure affordable and relevant technical assistance and USFWC met the needs of our member to the best of our abilities through an informal process of technical assistance requests. As dues-paying members, workplaces accessed free services and technical assistance providers received fee-paying clients, because the USFWC paid providers, on behalf of our workplace members, for their expertise at a rate of $50/hour. While the USFWC continues to grow each year in terms of members and slightly increasing operating revenue each year, we do not have the financial capacity to fully cover this member benefit.