One of the questions we are commonly asked is, “Who owns NPAworldwide?” The short answer is: our members do. In today’s post, I’d like to discuss three common ownership structures for a split placement network.
Ownership by an individual or a business entity
The owner of a split placement network can be one or more individuals, or a business entity. This is generally a for-profit structure. Members of the network may pay dues or other fees as a condition of membership. The owner of the network receives all the profit. The network owner may offer products and services if doing so will increase overall profits. While many private networks do have a formalized set of operating policies, enforcement of the rules can vary. Dispute resolution can be an organized process, or members may have no redress for grievances.
No ownership (loose affiliations, online groups, etc.)
There are many informal “networks” that really have no ownership. Typically, a passionate volunteer offers to develop a group where like-minded individuals can work together. Membership criteria can be broad or specific. Most informal networks do not require the payment of dues, and also offer little in the way of infrastructure such as common rules, technology, tools, or other services. It is rare to have a formal process for dispute resolution.
NPAworldwide is a member-owned cooperative. The International Co-operative Alliance defines a cooperative as, “A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.” In this type of split placement network, the members of the network are also the owners. Members pool their resources and work cooperatively to achieve common goals. Each member is also a part-owner of the network. Cooperatives are run in a democratic manner, with members having control over the rules. Profits can be reinvested into the network or distributed to the member-owners. Products, services, education, training, and other benefits are provided when it is in the best interest of the membership, not because there is a financial benefit to a single stakeholder.
If you’re considering joining a split placement network, it’s important to know who owns it. All of these ownership structures have pros and cons; ultimately, you have to make a decision based on what’s most aligned with your own business style.