This October, your Neighboring Food Co-ops here in the Northeast are joining over 40,000 co-ops and credit unions across the United States in celebrating Co-op Month. For 2018, the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA) has identified “Co-ops See the Future” as the theme for the month, inviting co-operatives and their members to dream big! As we look to the future, how can we work together to build a more sustainable and inclusive economy for everyone?
For more information on how your Neighboring Food Co-ops are celebrating , visit http://nfca.coop/co-op-month-2018/. And for ideas on how your co-op can spread the word, see below. The NFCA will be sending resources to Member Co-ops and organizing a special Co-op Month Contest!
Below are some ideas on how your food co-op can celebrate Co-op Month and promote the difference that food co-ops make every day. By working together with other co-ops and credit unions in your community, we can communicate the impact of the co-operative business model across the food system and economy. However you decide to celebrate, let us know so we can spread the word!
CORE MESSAGING & MATERIALS
- Use the Theme. Every year, NCBA CLUSA chooses a theme to unite co-ops and credit unions in celebrating Co-op Month. Use the theme “Co-operatives See the Future” in your promotions and social media communications to help spread the word.
- Tell Our Story. Download our customizable Co-op Month Press Release / Newsletter Story for use in your food co-op’s newsletter, website or blog post, or as a press release promoting the shared impact of our food co-ops in the Northeast. Check out these examples from Member Co-op newsletters:
- Co-op Month Images. Include the NFCA’s Co-op Month Logo in your co-op’s advertising, newsletters, flyers and other materials during October.
- Organize a Co-op Month Ad in Your Community. Invite other co-ops and credit unions in your community to pitch in on a shared ad in your local newspaper. For an example from the Valley Co-operative Business Association, click HERE.
- Social Media. Use the hashtag #CoopMonth in social media posts. Follow them with themes such as #community, #local, #sustainability, #goodjobs, and #fairtrade as you promote the #coopdifference.
IN THE STORE
- Display the NFCA’s “Go Co-op” Rack Cards. Use the NFCA’s “Go Co-op” rack cards to promote Co-op Month to members and shoppers in your food co-op and at special events. NFCA member co-ops receive a bundle of cards in September in preparation for Co-op Month, or you can request a bundle by e-mailing email@example.com.
- Use “Go Co-op” Shelf Tags to Promote Co-op Products. Use the NFCA’s “Go Co-op” Shelf Talkers (photo above) to promote co-op suppliers in your food co-op. Every September NFCA member co-ops receive printed copies to update their shelves. You can also download templates here to print on pre-perforated channel tag paper: Bulk, Grocery, Refrigerated & Wellness items, and Cheese & Dairy items.
- Co-op Month Buttons for Staff, Board Members and Volunteers doing outreach. We will be mailing a set of buttons to member co-ops in time for Co-op Month. Let us know if you want to request a certain number.
- Co-op Month Sales. Set up an end cap or special Co-op Month Specials on products from co-op suppliers. Visit www.nfca.coop/co-opproducts for a list of co-op suppliers.
- Demo Co-op Products. Invite area co-ops to share their products with shoppers at your food co-op. Some co-ops in our region that you may want to reach out to include:
- Artisan Beverage Co-op. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Cabot Creamery Co-op. Contact Clay Whitney at email@example.com.
- Equal Exchange. Contact Andrew Driscoll at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Organic Valley. Contact Karen Innis at email@example.com.
- Invite Other Co-ops to Table at Your Food Co-op or Event. Invite local farmer co-ops, worker co-ops, energy co-ops, credit unions, etc., to share information at a busy shopping day at your food co-op or at a speical Co-op Month event. For a map of co-ops in our region, visit www.nfca.coop/co-opeconomy.
- Fundraise for Co-op Development during Co-op Month. Set aside a day, week or the whole month to invite shoppers to round up at the register to raise funds for the Howard Bowers Fund (www.cdf.coop/howard-bowers-day/), the Cooperative Fund of New England (www.coopfund.coop), Food Co-op Initiative (www.fci.coop)or NFCA start-up members that are seeking donations for development such as Amherst Community Co-op (MA) and Assabet Village Food Co-op (MA).
ENGAGING MEMBERS & STAFF
- Co-op Month Membership Drive. Co-op Month is a great time to build your food co-op or start-up membership! Use this opportunity to help potential members understand what makes your co-op different and why they should join.
- Co-op Month Talking Points. Your staff and members are your best ambassadors for your food co-op. Provide them with talking points on Co-op Month and how your food co-ops builds community every day. It could be as simple as:
“Did you know that October is National Co-op Month? We’re celebrating the many ways that our co-op is committed to our community, including [share any special events or promotions that your co-op has planned].”
Or more detailed:
“We’re excited to celebrate how our food co-op is committed to our community. Did you know that we’re locally owned by over ____ members, provide good jobs to ____ people, and purchase more that $____ from local producers every year?”
“And we’re not alone! The Neighboring Food Co-op Association includes more than 35 food co-ops and start-ups that are locally owned by more than 130,000 people across the Northeast, providing good jobs to 2,000 people, and purchasing more than $60 million from local producers every year.”
- Share the What is a Co-op? Our Co-op and the Wider Co-operative Movement presentation with your co-op’s staff, board, and/or members. Email us for a version you can customize or invite NFCA staff to do a presentation: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Help Your Members Share Your Co-op:
– “Bring a Friend to Your Co-op Day.” Offer some incentive for every member who brings in a friend who has never shopped in their Co-op or who brings in a friend to join, or…
– “Bring Your Co-op to Work Day.” Create basic materials for how members can share about their Co-op at work (in staff meetings, bulletin board) or in community groups (book club, sports, etc.).
IN THE COMMUNITY
- Co-op Month Proclamation. E-mail us for a template “Co-op Month Proclamation” to adapt and submit to your city or town for approval. Contact your local city or town government for information on how to submit a proclamation and remember to plan ahead as local governments may need time to consider your request. (Note that the NFCA is already filing proclamations with state governments in our region.)
- Organize a Co-op Month Event. Work with other co-ops and credit unions in the community to organize a Co-op Month Cookout with information tables, or a Film Showing and discussion forum with a video that includes information on co-ops such as:
– The Visionaries PBS program (2016) celebrates NCBA CLUSA’s 100th anniversary and will be ready for release this fall — your food co-op can sign up to host a screening for Co-op Month!
– “Food for Change” (2014) is an 82-minute documentary film focusing on food co-ops as a force for dynamic social and economic change in American culture.
– “Shift Change” features Spain’s Mondragón co-ops and worker co-ops here in the US.
- Reach Out to Your Local School or Community Organization. Use the New England Farmers Union Curriculum, “Co-operatives: The Business of Teamwork” in education & outreach programs at your co-op, or share it with local schools and community organizations that do educational programs. Curriculum includes content for grades 1 to adult. Download a copy HERE or e-mail email@example.com for more information on printed copies.
- Start a Co-op Month Book Group on for members at your food co-op. Some recent titles include:
– “Building Co-operative Power,” is the story of worker co-ops in western New England and the potential for cross sector collaboration in growing the Co-operative Economy.
– “Humanizing the Economy: Co-operatives in the Age of Capital,” by John Restakis. Available at your local bookstore or from New Society Press, www.newsociety.com.
– “The Cooperative Solution,” by E.G. Nadeau. This short book (109 pp) makes the case that co-ops across sectors are the solution to many of the major economic, social, and environmental problems in the United States today.
For more titles, visit www.nfca.coop/GO.
Don’t forget to tell us what your co-op is doing to celebrate Co-op Month. Send your ideas and copies of your co-op’s ads, press releases, promotions, and newsletter articles to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can share them with other co-ops in our community.