“Cooperatives Build Trust; Cooperatives Build Communities; Cooperatives Build Jobs; Cooperatives Build a Better World” states the homepage of the 2016 National Cooperative Month website, coopmonth.coop. October is Co-op Month, and this year’s theme is “Cooperatives Build,” a universal theme that cooperatives can customize per their experience. Jenny Bernhardt, Chair of the Co-op Month Planning Committee, states, “The key thing is that your co-op plan some type of communications effort to help spread the word in October about why cooperatives are so important to your community, region and to the nation.” The Co-op Month website provides an abundant number of tools and resources to empower cooperators to share their cooperative’s story of positive impact. Through cooperation among cooperatives, Co-op Month is about sharing these stories; highlighting the importance of cooperatives in people’s lives, communities, and the economy; and ultimately how cooperatives everywhere are building a better world.
On the website, you’ll find a Co-op Month Tool Kit, which includes the following:
- The official 2016 Co-op Month logo,
- Printable and customizable posters,
- Print and radio public service announcements,
- Social media resources and official hashtags,
- Co-op success stories,
- Talking points,
- Activity ideas,
- A sample press release, and
- A sample Co-op Month proclamation, among many other resources.
The toolkit was compiled by the Co-op Month Planning Committee, which formed through the work of the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) and was championed by cooperative communicators from National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, National Cooperative Bank, USDA Cooperative Programs, Cooperatives for a Better World, the Minnesota Cooperative Education Foundation, and more cooperative communicators from around the country.
The site’s events page provides a list of events that are set to occur throughout October, in which cooperatives can participate. Cooperatives are encouraged to create their own activities or events, as small or as large as they wish, and for members, employees, or the public. These activities, ranging from hanging up Co-op Month Posters, to holding an open house, to performing a community service project, will give the opportunity for people to learn more about cooperative businesses, remind members that their contributions are highly valued, and communicate that cooperatives are proud of their unique business model.
There is also a videos page that houses informational and uplifting videos of the cooperative business model. On this page, there is an option to schedule a screening of the new PBS Visionaries Series documentary that highlights the power of cooperatives to affect positive change in the US and internationally. Schedule your screening during Co-op Month by visiting the videos page!
By utilizing the tools and resources on this website, your cooperative can have a great impact on the success of Co-op Month. Studies show that most people do not understand what cooperatives are; but once they understand, they are more likely to visit/shop at a cooperative over a conventional business model. The more stories shared, hashtags used, questions answered, and information provided, the more aware everyone will become of the positive self-help effects cooperatives have every day. Why not share your story of how your Cooperative Builds… Trust…Community…Jobs…a Better World? Check out the Co-op Month website and begin planning today! coopmonth.coop