National public purchasing cooperatives are nothing new. Aggregating spend to provide state and local agencies with better pricing, terms and conditions for commonly procured commodities and services have become commonplace over the last two decades.
The organizations that pioneered cooperative purchasing were all founded on public-focused initiatives – such as associations with national organizations representing public sector agencies, public oversight, involvement of true public agency owned contracts and a nonprofit status. These foundational standards and norms were what agencies looked for to identify credible resources and providers in the realm of public purchasing.
Looking back at these pioneering public purchasing cooperatives, it’s clear to us how much cooperative purchasing has moved away from these core values.
How do public agencies view today’s public-sector market?
It seems the market has gone through significant changes. Twenty years in, these benefit-focused initiatives play an ever-diminishing role in identifying a credible cooperative in today’s market.
For most public agencies, there is nothing inherently wrong with using contracts that are managed by a for-profit cooperative. However, it is impossible to overlook that the primary function of these businesses is to generate a profit for their owners or shareholders rather than to benefit the public agencies they work with.
A True, Not-for-profit Purchasing Cooperative
GOVMVMT, a program of the nonprofit organization IGSA, is different. Launched in 2020, GOVMVMT is a nonprofit group purchasing cooperative run exclusively for the benefit of public agencies. In offering agencies a powerful procurement tool designed specifically to meet their needs, this program is making every effort to move the market focus back to its original roots and focus on the value for public agencies.
Guided by an Advisory Council that holds public benefit at the forefront of every decision we make, each contract that GOVMVMT offers is carefully considered by this group of seasoned public procurement professionals before a lead agency and evaluation team is chosen to solicit, award and manage the contract. Our completely transparent procurement process is designed to bring top-tier suppliers offering best-in-class products and services at the lowest possible price to state and local governments, K-12 education, public universities and nonprofit organizations.
In addition to bringing their combined decades of cooperative purchasing experience to bear, our Advisory Council members also ensure that everything we do complies with the highest public procurement standards while centering the needs of public agencies.
Operating as a nonprofit allows GOVMVMT to keep supplier fees low, which ultimately reduces costs to public agencies using our contracts. Additionally, we offer higher fees to agencies that lead solicitations to help offset the cost of soliciting and managing contracts. After covering program costs, all revenue generated by the program is returned to public agencies through grants that support participating agencies and the communities they serve.
At GOVMVMT, we aim to always put public agencies first and deliver true public benefit to the communities in which we live and work.
Innovative Government Services Association (IGSA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing and launching programs and services that support state, local, K12, public universities and other public and nonprofit agencies. Formed to develop and launch programs that offer opportunities for public agencies to pool their resources to lower costs, increase buying power and safeguard taxpayer dollars, the mission of IGSA is to empower the business of government.