For 100 years, NCBA CLUSA has served as a CONNECTION, a COMMUNITY builder and a RESOURCE to our members. There are now an estimated 40,000 cooperative businesses in the U.S., each contributing to a stronger economy by investing in people and their communities. NCBA CLUSA is proud to represent you, your cooperative and this movement at the national level.

Your membership is critical to the success and scope of our work. It helps us create awareness of and connections among co-op sectors across the U.S. and worldwide. As a member of the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International, you or your organization actively join our ongoing work to advance, promote and defend cooperative businesses that build a better world.



Click on each area below to learn how NCBA CLUSA membership directly benefits you and your organization.

NCBA CLUSA connects its members to news and information through the CBJOnline, a weekly roundup of stories and events that feature co-ops large and small and raise awareness of cooperative priorities and trends both nationwide and internationally.

Our members tap into a unified voice advocating for cooperative interests on Capitol Hill. Membership with NCBA CLUSA gives you a direct and powerful connection to key thought leaders and policymakers. Through the Congressional Cooperative Business Caucus and the Interagency Working Group on Cooperative Development, NCBA CLUSA puts your interests in front of federal legislators and the Administration.

As the U.S. representative to the International Co-operative Alliance, NCBA CLUSA connects you to the global cooperative movement. We participate in all ICA meetings on behalf of U.S. cooperators like you.

NCBA CLUSA works to make Cooperative Principle #6—cooperation among cooperatives—a reality. Our members gain access and contribute to a global community of cooperators who share the same values and goals. Whether you attend an NCBA CLUSA-hosted conference, engage with our network of co-op professionals who serve the unique legal and accounting needs of co-ops, or simply integrate another co-op’s product or service into your day-to-day operations, you become an active part of and benefit from this community.

NCBA CLUSA is committed to meeting the needs of our members. Whether connecting you with a cooperative development center or booking top speakers at our events, we are your best connection to the latest resources and information. Members enjoy significant discounts on our annual conferences, webinars and other learning events.

NCBA CLUSA’s Associate Member program is designed to provide key business services and educational resources exclusively to our members. Our members thrive in a competitive marketplace by taking advantage of products and services from companies that understand and prioritize the unique business needs of co-ops.

As an NCBA CLUSA member, you’re eligible to apply for a .coop domain—the best way to differentiate yourself from a traditional business online. New members receive one free year of .coop. Join now and start owning your cooperative identity!

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7 Cooperative Principles

Cooperatives around the world generally operate according to the same core principles and values, adopted by the International Co-operative Alliance in 1995. Cooperatives trace the roots of these principles to the first modern cooperative founded in Rochdale, England in 1844.

1. Voluntary and Open Membership

Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all people able to use its services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.

2. Democratic Member Control

Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members—those who buy the goods or use the services of the cooperative—who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions.

3. Members' Economic Participation

Members contribute equally to, and democratically control, the capital of the cooperative. This benefits members in proportion to the business they conduct with the cooperative rather than on the capital invested.

4. Autonomy and Independence

Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If the co-op enters into agreements with other organizations or raises capital from external sources, it is done so based on terms that ensure democratic control by the members and maintains the cooperative's autonomy.

5. Education, Training and Information

Cooperatives provide education and training for members, elected representatives, managers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperative. Members also inform the general public about the nature and benefits of cooperatives.

6. Cooperation among Cooperatives

Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.

7. Concern for Community

While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of communities through policies and programs accepted by the members.

About Us


Our mission is to develop, advance, and protect cooperative enterprise.

Our work highlights the impact that cooperatives have in the economic success of communities around the world. Internationally, we seek to alleviate poverty through economic and social empowerment.


See a full timeline of our history.

Founded in 1916, the National Cooperative Business Association, CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA) began as the Cooperative League of America until it was renamed the Cooperative League of the USA (CLUSA) in 1922, and then rebranded as NCBA in 1985. Today, now known as NCBA CLUSA, we are the oldest not-for-profit cooperative development and trade association in the United States, fostering cooperative and international economic and social development in the United States and abroad.

As a U.S. trade association, NCBA CLUSA provides cross-sector education, support, and advocacy that helps domestic cooperatives thrive. U.S. membership includes leading primary cooperatives and national associations active in a broad range of cooperative sectors including agriculture, telecommunications, electricity, banking and finance, insurance, housing, health care, consumer goods, purchasing, student services, and worker-owned enterprises.

In 1944, CLUSA formed the Freedom Fund to help cooperatives recover in war-torn Europe. The following year, we played an integral role in creating the Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe, now known as CARE, and CLUSA’s President, Murray Lincoln, was CARE’s first president. In 1953, CLUSA continued its international work by helping India’s farmers build an agricultural cooperative infrastructure that created a strong, integrated agricultural sector and helped India become one of the world’s largest producers of milk and dairy products. NCBA CLUSA helped start the Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative Limited (IFFCO), now the largest fertilizer business in Asia, and the Indian dairy cooperative, Anand Milk Union Limited (AMUL).

Since that time, NCBA CLUSA has helped create and strengthen many influential cooperative organizations, including the National Cooperative Bank (NCB), Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance (VOCA), and Cooperative Business International (CBI), a global trading company that sells cooperatively grown products valued at over $100 million annually to coffee and spice companies, including Starbucks, Green Mountain Coffee, and McCormicks, among others. We have also helped launch numerous local organizations in Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia that are still operating today providing business financing and development services, extension services, training and community capacity-building in a range of sectors.

NCBA CLUSA continues to be the intersection for the cooperative sectors in the U.S., promoting cross-sector collaboration, and promoting and protecting cooperative businesses and principles. Internationally, we will continue to provide innovative, market-based cooperative business solutions to smallholder farmers, youth, women, and local organizations and communities, working with local and national counterparts to empower individuals and families to achieve economic security and a better, longer and healthier quality of life.

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