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Why Purchasing Through Cooperative Contracts is Simply Smarter
Erica Calise /
/ Categories: Blog, Cooperative Contracts

Why Purchasing Through Cooperative Contracts is Simply Smarter


Today’s government marketplace has changed.  Budgets are constrained and staffing is reduced.  To fill this void, government, education, and nonprofit organizations are turning to cooperative purchasing to obtain the goods and services they need without the hassle and aggravation of sending projects out for bid. 

What is Cooperative Purchasing?

Cooperative contracts are competitively bid, evaluated and awarded on behalf of the cooperative’s members or participating users. Cooperatives employ staff to streamline the procurement process by developing requests for proposals (RFPs) and invitation to bids (IFBs) for national, competitive solicitations that meet local requirements. Their aim is to continually refine the process to best meet the needs of participating agencies. Additionally, the use of cooperative contracts reduces the cost of goods and services by aggregating the collective buying power of organizations.

By allowing the Cooperative to “do the work for you,” members can overcome purchasing challenges, including budget constraints and staff reductions, and purchase goods and services at negotiated pricing and terms through an established contract without going to bid. This saves time, is legally compliant and is ultimately more efficient, especially when buying large quantities of items that are needed right away, such as printers and laptops during a pandemic.  

This benefit of faster, streamlined purchasing is a key reason why procurement through public bids and RFPs has taken a big hit during the pandemic, according to an EdWeek Market Brief.  During the second quarter of 2020, the education sector saw a 31-percent drop in purchasing using public bidding methods compared to the same period in 2019. Even before the pandemic, the growing level of participation in cooperatives was due primarily to a greater degree of adoption and utilization, as cooperative choices continued to expand into new offerings for technology, services and construction. In fact, nearly 87% of governments were using cooperatives with increasing growth by the end of 2018.

How to work with a cooperative

Once an organization has identified its purchasing needs, all it has to do is identify cooperative contracts that have goods and services that meet those needs.

In particular, using a contract from a nationally recognized cooperative such as Sourcewell for business products, such as printers, professional displays or whiteboards, can help organizations streamline the buying process by meeting all state and local competitive-bidding requirements on large purchases without having to put these items out to cumbersome bids.

Instead of seeking quotes, bids, or proposals, organizations can simply choose products and services from the cooperative contract’s service catalog. These services have been pre-selected by the agency behind the cooperative through its own competitive-bidding process. In essence, the cooperative has done this work for the organization already, and so buyers are complying with all local, state, and national procurement laws when they make purchases through a co-op.

The future is clear

Procurement for the future is here to stay. Today’s cooperative purchasing opportunities bring buyers and sellers together efficiently and successfully and is a great way to purchase business supplies and equipment, including office equipment, such as copiers, interactive white boards, laptops and displays. To learn more at about cooperative purchasing visit us at:


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