October is Co-op Month (insert fanfare).
This blog is all co-ops, all the time, so it would be nothing special for me to promote co-ops. Instead, to commemorate this special occasion, I’m going to step aside for a moment and turn it over to the official Co-op Month Web site:
Each October, cooperatives all across America celebrate the role, accomplishments and contributions of our nation’s cooperatives.
The annual celebrations play a key role in promoting cooperatives to our members, the public and policy makers. Through a combination of media outreach, member education, and interaction with policy makers, co-op month events help raise the visibility of your cooperative, and improve public understanding of cooperatives.
Research shows that when consumers know a business is a cooperative, they are more likely to do business with it. And with consumer trust in co-ops topping investor-owned companies, promoting your business as a cooperative is a win-win proposition.
Though each cooperative chooses how to celebrate and promote its work during October, each year a planning committee of national cooperative associations representing cooperatives of all types develops a national, unified theme and provides supporting materials that help individual co-ops celebrate their accomplishments. Reflecting the diversity of the cooperative sector, and the community-wide nature of Cooperative Month, the committee works together to fund, develop and implement Co-op Month activities.
I encourage all co-op members to take some time this month to learn more about any other co-ops in your area, do business with them whenever you can, and generally get more involved with the movement. You might also make an extra effort to patronize your cooperative – for example, by transferring savings from a bank to a credit union, which is generally a safer place for it anyway. Write letters to the editor about how you have benefitted from co-op membership. Encourage your members of Congress to include cooperatives in health care reform (that is, if you happen to support the idea; if not, please browse the last few months of this blog for many reasons why you might reconsider).
Co-ops depend on member participation, and during a year in which capitalist business has shown its weaknesses, We have an opportunity and and responsibility to step up and show he world what we can do.
Please visit the Co-op Month Web site, explore some of the links, and familiarize yourself with what the planning committee has put together. And have a great Co-op Month.