The Greenback Incentive Plan

What is the Greenback Incentive Plan?

It is a unique scheme that encourages members to participate in their co-op community, while at the same time rewarding members for their participation.


Even though Shamrock Co-op has always had a very high member partcipation rate, the Board of Directors was concerned that some members were not motivated enough to actively participate in the affairs of the co-op. In addition, there was no real consequence for non-participation and there was no mechanism in place to measure member participation.

In 1999, the Board of Directors decided to try an innovative method to boost member participation. The co-op's Community Development Committee, the Board and Staff worked together to put the Greenback Incentive Plan in place.

Criteria for participation and consequences for non-participation were developed as a first step.

After a lengthy process of consultation which involved various committees and members, the draft plan was sent to the Annual Members Meeting where it was debated and approved.

How The Greenback Plan works

The Co-op has defined member participation to include 3 different categories:
1. Attendance at Members' meetings
2. Consistent and active participation on a committee through contribution of time and effort in planning and decision making, and
3. Engaging in physical type work around the co-op on a regular basis.

A list of Co-op tasks was compiled with the Greenback value attached to each task. A Greenback is monopoly type money in different denominations printed and issued by the Co-op. Below are a few examples of tasks and their Greenback value:
- Attending a committee meeting is 10 Greenbacks
- Cleaning the laundry room is 10 Greenback for every hour
- Inspecting units are 5 Greenbacks per unit.

Upon completion of a task, the co-op pays the member the value attached to that particular task in Greenbacks. Each member is then required to return 10 Greenbacks to the co-op office at the end of each month to demonstrate active member participation during that month. This Greenback is kept in trust and is returned to the member at the end of the year to be used in the annual auction.

At the Annual Auction, members use their accumulated Greenbacks to bid for items provided by the co-op. The co-op provides these items from the revenue generated from a soft drink vending machine in the main lobby of the apartment complex. In the year 2000 auction, items bought included VCRs, a Camera, cordless phones, watches, and blenders. In all about 68 items were auctioned off.

What The Plan has Accomplished so far