Demonstrating the Value of Co-operatives

Developing a Performance Snapshot Template for Co-operatives


Co-operatives create multifaceted value for their members and communities.  They are often formed to respond to specific economic challenges, and create complex economic and social value that is not adequately presented through standard accounting tools.   In response to this challenge, Vancity Community Foundation, in conjunction with the Demonstrating Value Initiative, is launching a project to develop a Performance Snapshot template that responds to the specific management and stakeholder engagement needs of  co-operatives.  The Performance Snapshot is a management tool that creates an integrated picture of an organization’s performance and that can be used directly in operational decision-making, planning and stakeholder engagement.  


In developing a Performance Snapshot template that is specific to the needs of co-operatives, we will be:


  1. Conducting research into indicators and tools that relate to measuring the business performance, mission impact and organizational sustainability of co-operatives.
  2. Asking co-operatives what they want to be able to measure, specifically around the value they create for their members and community, as well as measures that can be useful to guide operational decisions and planning.
  3. Designing one or more performance snapshot templates.

We will further refine the templates based on feedback from co-operatives that apply it.

The final templates and a research report that summarizes their development will be made available on the Demonstrating Value website 

The research will take place between September 2014 and April 2015.

How to become involved

We are looking for co-operatives to participate in a short survey (5-10 minutes) that asks for your input about what you'd like to be able to show to your members, community, and policy makers about the value of your co-operative. This can be accessed at:

If you would like to develop your own Performance Snapshot based on the template when it becomes available, please contact us directly using the contact form on the Demonstrating Value Website.


Who is involved

Bryn Sadownik will be leading this research at Vancity Community Foundation, which is a community foundation associated with Vancity Credit Union.  The Foundation’s activities includes leading research projects  that are developed in partnership with other community organizations.

Bryn has been with Vancity Community Foundation  since 2006. She works with community-based organizations to build their capacity in performance and impact measurement, and leads research to advance the state of measurement methods, tools and practices.  In 2011 Bryn attended the Emilia Romagna Cooperative Study Program.   Prior to joining Vancity, Bryn worked as a consultant and researcher at Simon Fraser University, leading numerous projects for government, private sector and non-profit organizations in impact assessment and cost-effectiveness analysis.  Bryn received the Canadian Policy Research Award for Outstanding Research Contribution in 2002 from the Policy Research Initiative, Government of Canada. 

This research is made possible through a grant from the Centre of Excellence in Accounting and Reporting for Co-operatives (CEARC) at St. Mary’s University.

More about Demonstrating Value

The Demonstrating Value Initiative is a collaborative initiative that seeks to  advance performance and impact measurement practices (  Its mission is to empower community-based organizations to use  data as a management and learning tool, and to share data with others working in the same area so that the effectiveness of community initiatives can be enhanced.  A variety of tools and resources are available on the Demonstrating Value website for this purpose.  Workshops and one-on-one support are also available through Vancity Community Foundation, as well as Demonstrating Value’s other community partners.  

The Demonstrating Value Initiative was initially developed for and by social enterprise practitioners and investors through a collaborative research project based at Vancity Community Foundation.  For more information see:  and/or  Chapter 6 “The Demonstrating Value Initiative: Social Accounting For Social Enterprises” in   Accounting for Social Value (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013).