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impact 2018: The Cooperative Economy

Grow. Participate. Connect.

The National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA CLUSA) is seeking proposals for conference sessions and panels through March 5, 2018. Please read this Call for Proposals carefully before submitting. We look forward to seeing your proposals!

2018 THEME: The Cooperative Economy

Cooperatives are formed to address market failures where neither the private sector nor the government provide a needed service, help small players compete with large investor-owned competitors, or give consumers a real choice in the marketplace to better meet their common needs and aspirations. Regardless of the reason, the very structure of a cooperative requires that it be responsive to its member-owners, and in turn to the local community.

The nature of cooperatives is inherently both locally-based and participatory, embodying a direct connection between member needs and the services provided. Because of this, co-ops contribute directly to community vitality and stability, modeling equitable and inclusive economic practices while fostering an overall culture of community health in ways that other business forms simply cannot. This essential aspect of cooperatives impacts community through the support of stable, community-based institutions and the nurturing and development of authentic local leaders and informed and empowered members.


Impact 2018 is an annual three-day gathering of about 300 cooperative leaders and policy makers, including board members and managers from all cooperative sectors, cooperative developers and professional advisors, academics, and policy makers.


The Impact conference includes plenary sessions in various formats: keynote, panel, interactive workshop.


The cooperative economy has far-reaching impact on community well-being.  Cooperatives create and retain jobs for workers, develop markets for producers, and provide needed services and purchasing power for members.   As place-based, democratically controlled businesses, cooperatives contribute to communities in ways beyond traditional economic metrics.

We are looking for your recommendations on illustrative examples, compelling research, speakers, panels, particularly as they relate to:

Participation:  How does the participatory nature of cooperative governance enhance the cooperative’s responsiveness to members and customers, expand business opportunities, provide a competitive advantage, and improve transparency and trust with members and stakeholders? How do these participatory experiences impact other aspects of community life, shape expectation for community leaders and elected officials, and empower members to take an active role in their future?  What are best practices for participation in both large and small cooperatives?

Growth:  How do cooperatives contribute to expand economic opportunity and create and retain jobs, particularly in rural and low-income communities? What factors are necessary for cooperative success that leads to growth?  How do cooperatives measure and communicate their economic impact to members, their communities, and policymakers?

Connection: How cooperative networks and organizations sustain small business and local economies by pooling capital and other resources?  What is the proper role of government, philanthropy and universities in supporting cooperative development? How can advances in technology promote cooperation? How do cooperatives connect with other sectors and how do these connections lead to better outcomes for members and communities?


All proposals for Impact 2018 must be submitted electronically via the form below. Proposals are due by 11:59 pm Eastern time on March 5, 2018.

If selected, participant photos, biographies, presentation titles, session descriptions and learning objectives will be made available on the Impact conference website. Conference attendees will receive your presentation in PDF format through the conference website.


To ensure full and fair consideration, proposals will be evaluated and selected by the NCBA CLUSA according to criteria that include:

  • Relevance – directly addresses the conference theme and program focus.
  • Clarity – offers a clear description of the proposed session and learning objectives.
  • Innovation – displays innovations or originality.
  • Application – participants will be able to learn practical tools or lessons.
  • Format – co-op case studies and interactive workshops will be given preference.
  • Program balance – NCBA CLUSA strives to create a balanced program covering a wide range of topics with diverse presenters.

Applicants will be notified of selection decisions no later than April 5, 2018.


  • March 5, 2018: Proposals are due. All proposals must be submitted electronically.
  •  April 5, 2018: NCBA CLUSA will notify all applicants of their application status via email.


Please contact Greg Irving, NCBA CLUSA, by email at  or by phone at 202-383-5462. We look forward to receiving your proposal.

submit a session - form

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Please include name, title, organization, email, phone number and mailing address (if possible) for each proposed session panelist or participant
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