“Cooperatives Commit” is the theme for National Co-op Month, celebrated by cooperatives nationwide during the month of October. The theme can be used on its own, or extended with sub-themes, such as: Cooperatives Commit to Members; Cooperatives Commit to Communities; Cooperatives Commit to Jobs; Cooperatives Commit to Powering Rural America; or Cooperatives Commit to Agriculture.
“Cooperatives commit in countless ways to meeting the needs of their members and communities, so this theme can be customized to best reflect the mission and services provided by your co-op,” said Sara Schoenborn, co-chair of the National Co-op Month Planning Committee and Director of Communications for Cooperative Network. “We hope every co-op will plan some type of communications effort to help spread the word in October about why cooperatives are so important to your community, region and the nation,” Schoenborn added.
With support from participating cooperatives and funding from the CHS Foundation, the committee has created a Co-op Month Toolkit with a variety promotional and educational materials. The materials are now available at coopmonth.coop. The toolkit will include the new Co-op Month logo, posters, print and radio public service announcements, a sample press release, social media resources, co-op success stories, talking points and activity ideas, among others.
“Polls show that Americans like the idea of doing business with a cooperative, but many people still don’t understand what co-ops are,” said Sarah Crozier, Communication Manager at the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International and Co-op Month Committee co-chair. “That’s why we observe Co-op Month every October, with the goal of shining the spotlight on the many benefits of the producer-, worker- and user-owned business model, and letting people know that cooperatives are all around them.”
The same communications efforts that help educate the public can also serve as reminders for co-op members and employees about “the co-op difference.”
Activities can be as a simple as hanging posters, making classroom visits or hosting a field trip, holding an open house or tour of your co-op, issuing a press release to your local and/or statewide media, or holding a charity fundraising event.
The Co-op Month Planning committee was formed through the efforts of the Cooperative Communicators Association, NCBA CLUSA, Cooperative Network, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, National Cooperative Bank, USDA Rural Development – Cooperative Programs, Cooperatives for a Better World, National Co+op Grocers and communicators from a number of diverse cooperative businesses.