.coop domain eligibility requirements

We’ve talked about the idea of snowdrift.coop conceptually as a think tank, with crowdmatching as one of our projects, and the related idea of rebranding the crowdmatching site to e.g. crowdmatch.org.

One concern if we did that is— I’d like if we can keep the snowdrift.coop domain name, even if snowdrift isn’t a registered corporation. So I went looking at the procedure for verification of .coop eligibility.

From that page, the definition of a coop is:

(COOP) The organization is a democratically controlled member owned cooperative, consistent with the International 7 Cooperative Principles

And the eligibility requirements are (my emphasis)

  • Proof of membership as a “cooperative” in a national or sectoral apex or other secondary or tertiary organization for cooperatives; or
  • Governance documents, such as bylaws, which show the organization operates as a democratically-controlled, member-owned entity; or
  • Corporate filings showing the organization was formed as a cooperative under applicable local law.

To my eye, that looks like it’s not necessary to be incorporated as a coop, as long as you are actually operating as a coop and have bylaws to show it. In which case Snowdrift— as a not-incorporated by still democratically/cooperatively run think tank —would still be eligible.


The other option is an "organization supporting cooperatives", but I think it's a worse fit.

Its definition:

(CS) Is an Entity with an operation or practice area principally dedicated to serving Cooperatives.

And verification requirements:

  • Examples of qualifications and work carried out with cooperative organizations, shown on a dedicated page of your website
  • A reference from a cooperative with whom the organization has worked with, stating that the registrant organization works for the benefit of the cooperative movement

I think we could meet those requirements, but Snowdrift’s primary purpose is / would be about solving collective action problems (especially education), which includes cooperatives but is not limited to them. Ironically, Snowdrift-as-a-think-tank is probably a good fit for a 501(c)(4) non-profit.