If you are a member of a co-operative, chances are, your co-op would LOVE to have you become more involved as a member. Contact your co-op to talk with them about what options they offer, and check out the ideas below.
And if you’re working at or you are already an elected official of a co-op, chances are you are wishing that more members would get involved. Discuss with your colleagues what kind of opportunities you can offer members and let them know how they can get more involved. The list for co-operatives below provides some initial ideas to get you started.
Ideas for members - how to get more involved in a co-operative
If you’re already a member of a co-op, there are lots of ways to get involved!
One way, of course, is to attend your co-operative’s Annual General Meeting. While you’re there, you can vote on resolutions, elect directors, approve bylaw changes, question the board about their actions and plans, and provide feedback to your board of directors.
But what about after the AGM??
There are many options to stay involved in your co-operative year round! Here’s a few examples:
- Volunteer your time for a co-op activity
- Submit resolutions for the AGM
- Put your name forward to be elected to the board (or as a delegate, if your co-op has a delegate structure), or to sit on a committee
- Make use of member perks, benefits, and other incentives
- Attend member meetings and events
- Provide feedback and product or service ideas to YOUR co-op
- Get other people involved! (e.g. young members can invite other young people to join and get involved)
- Attend learning events your co-op offers
- And most of all: shop at/use the services of your co-op!!
Another way to get more involved in co-operatives is to start your own co-op!
There may be other ways to get involved in your co-operative. Ask them what opportunities there are, you may be surprised at your options!
Ideas for co-operatives – how to involve members more
There are many ways to involve your members beyond the AGM. And chances are, it will be easier to get people to attend your AGM if they feel more connected to and engaged in the co-op. Here’s a few ideas of how you could engage with your members aside from the AGM:
- Offer education opportunities – this provides value for your members, as well as providing a way for your co-op to build a stronger relationship with them. Here are a few topic ideas:
- Education about co-ops in general. What are co-ops? How do they work? Why are they so awesome?
- Inform your members about your co-op’s services or products. If you have an app, hold an education session about how to use the app. If you have new products or services, let them know and show them how to use the stuff! Put a flyer in their shopping bag or tell them at your checkout area/front desk/etc., on your website and social media – get the word out about the educational opportunities you’re providing.
- Technical education – if you’re a credit union, you could provide your members with an education session about financial literacy. If you’re an insurance co-op, you could provide a free education session to help people better assess their insurance needs. Your co-op has tons of technical knowledge about your products or services, this is a great way to help your members get to know more about how your co-op can help them meet their needs!
- Offer member meet ups
- Tell members how they can get involved
- Delegate structure and committees - involve members
- Organize a volunteer opportunity they can get involved in
- Invite member feedback and ideas - focus groups, general feedback
- Actively recruit new board members, committee members, etc.
- Assign responsibility for member engagement to a staff person, and track progress in your balanced scorecard
Hopefully these ideas for members and co-operatives have given you some useful ideas of how to increase member involvement in co-operatives!
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