Comradery is a digital platform where creators can receive monthly payments from supporters, and optionally give those supporters exclusive access to posts and media.
What makes Comradery different is we are a worker cooperative democratically owned and controlled equally by all the creators in our organization (that means you!). Our philosophy is ‘one worker, one vote’, where each creator owns a non sellable share of the cooperative, participates in democratic decision making, governance, and day-to-day operation tasks.
Comradery’s structure is inspired by the democratic organization of rank-and-file led unions. Our goal is to be a resource and leadership opportunity to any creators, activists, and cooperative organizations who share our mission.
Comradery rejects the “hypergrowth” paradigm of the tech industry. Instead, we focus on sustainable growth that is guided by our community principles. Below are details on how our organization works. These details explore how you can be a part of Comradery as a creator and member-owner of our organization.
Our goal is for anyone to easily become a supporter to any creator on Comradery. It’s fast and easy to make an account and supporters can pledge monthly subscriptions for $1 or more, and many creators have tiers with special exclusive rewards.
Supporters are an important part of Comradery, but supporters are not member-owners, they are customers. Each creator is primarily responsible for the supporter experience they want to create for their project, and the Comradery Dev Team is responsible for working to make the platform accessible to supporters all over the world.
Supporters must be at least 13 years of age to use Comradery, and at least 18 years of age to support or view projects containing adult content.
Comradery has a basic application and approval process involving a few steps. All creators are asked to participate in running the organization, so these steps are about meeting person-to-person, building great communication networks, and giving new members an opportunity to participate.
There are three phases that each serve an important purpose and help you better understand the community and how you can contribute, and how the platform can work for you:
Step 1 - Create a Supporter account
Create a Supporter account and submit an application to become a Creator. This lets us know your basic info, what your goals for the platform are, and a few accessibility questions that help us connect you with another member for the next step. Volunteer Moderators will verify your contact information and confirm that your organization and goals fit with our platform rules.
Step 2 - The Onboarding Call
You as an applicant will have a roughly 30-minute voice or video chat conversation with two Creators who are already on Comradery. The purpose of this call is to answer your questions, talk about your next steps, and to build your network of support with other members of the organization.
In addition to answering your questions, we can suggest ideas, and help guide you into the voting and community processes that will help you be a part of the community. The purpose of this call is not to test you, but to introduce you into the community and guide you.
Step 3 - Become a Creator
After the Onboarding Call, you will be given access to your Creator Dashboard where you can build out your project page and tiers. You’ll gain access to our growing documentation about best practices and tips for success, and you will be invited to the Creator Forum and other communication channels. Once you’re ready to go live, we will review your project page and guide you through the launch process!
On Comradery, Supporters pledge money and see posts on creator-run pages we call ‘Projects’. Creators can work on many projects, and many Creators can work together on one project, and any combination of those.
At launch, Comradery will allow you to create a dedicated project page with a domain extension (ex: comradery.co/yourproject), which you can share with your followers and gain supporters.
One creator can run a project independently
One creator can join and manage multiple projects
Multiple creators can manage the same project
Projects can receive non-taxable donations or create tiers offering exclusive access to posts or media. Sales tax for tiers is automatically calculated and collected.
There is no obligation to offer rewards to supporters or make your page in any way transactional, many Creators simply want to collect donations for work done outside of Comradery. However, you want to offer perks and bonuses to your supporters to thank them for subscribing, that’s ok too! Our goal at Comradery is to support all accounts, whether they are large or small, or if they offer perks or are donation-based.
We currently don’t offer the ability to mail Supporters physical rewards. This has a different legal and tax classification, and might be something Comradery can offer in the future. You can also see what other kinds of rewards are allowed and not allowed.
Supporters complete payment on Comradery, and your payment details, bank information, and bank transfers are handled through Stripe.
During the onboarding process, creators set up a Connected Account on Stripe to handle financial details and transfer funds to creator bank accounts. Supporters will have their accounts charged on the 1st of each month for all of their subscriptions. Minimum subscription costs for donations are $1, and tier costs can be set per-project and per-tier by creators.
Creator Stripe Connect accounts can be configured to pay out to bank accounts as often as every day.
As a Creator, you will be a voting member and co-owner of Comradery. This is the most important and exciting part of the organization! As a worker co-op, we are governed by a democratic set of bylaws, guided by our charter and mission. Here are some broad strokes on what participation in the co-op looks like.
Comradery does not have a paid staff. Like a rank-and-file union or mutual aid organization, Comradery is almost entirely run on volunteer labor by Creators. It is essential for all Creators to contribute by completing tasks and working with a mentor to grow leadership skills. Most Creators ask what kind of time commitment this requires, and while it’s fluid depending on ability and need, we estimate about 4 hours per month or one hour per week spent in completing tasks.
Voting and Democracy
Members vote on proposals, amendments, and elections that affect everything from site roadmap to day-to-day operations. While all member decisions must follow our mission goals and good-and-welfare practices, the large part of our self determination is via direct democracy.
For example: Members may decide that Comradery should offer a new feature, such as file hosting. The Tech and Design Committee might advise that this will require an increase in operation funds. Members could propose a motion to increase operation funds by changing the amount of dues or using surplus, and the general membership would decide if the feature is worth the change, discuss it, and vote on the proposal over a window of time.
Workers, aka Creators, are the best people to decide what features and operations the site should perform, so Creators propose and vote on how Comradery will work. In the above example, the Tech and Design Committee would be responsible for implementing the feature change and would advise and help pass such a change, so expertise is always heavily considered along with popular demand.
General and Committee meetings are open to all worker-owners (aka Creators) and are held remotely over voice and video chat. Day-to-day votes are also held during meetings, major votes are held over an email survey over a longer timespan to allow all members to participate. The meetings are structured using Rusty’s Rules of Order, a simplified parliamentary procedure with a focus on making sure every member’s ideas are heard and listened to. The Good and Welfare Committee is responsible for ensuring members adhere to good conduct during meetings and that they are held equitably.
Committees are made up of volunteer members to help with specific areas of focus. Anyone can volunteer to be on a committee, and the committee chair is elected to help with facilitation and leadership of tasks. After taking the time to build your project and take on some tasks for the organization, eventually joining a Committee is highly encouraged. It is important to actively give everyone leadership practice so members can take on more leadership roles autonomously and proactively.
At launch, there are five committees at Comradery:
The Good and Welfare Committee - this committee is in charge of developing the code and conduct and to promote
inclusion and a positive environment.
The Steering Committee - this committee helps develop a future vision for Comradery by planning the roadmap and making proposals for community goals.
The Outreach Committee - this committee handles press interaction, messaging for new members, and developing the wording, copy and documentation on Comradery
The Tech and Design Committee - this committee is responsible for developing, implementing and deploying all the technology for the site
The Treasury Committee - this committee handles finances, addresses any issues with site funding and longevity, and works with tax professionals for managing the taxes for the site