Fall is a time when farms take stock of the past season and celebrate the harvest. In much the same way, it’s a great time for cooperators to look back on the year, to celebrate the cooperative businesses in our region, and to use the season as a springboard for cooperative development.
Here in the Philadelphia area we have an impressive array of cooperative enterprises. Whether they’re food co-ops, workers co-ops, credit unions or energy co-ops, the Philadelphia cooperative scene is alive and thriving.
Below you’ll find a variety of strategies that will help highlight cooperative businesses in our region.
- Post signs around your co-op about Co-op Month and promote it in your co-op’s communications. The National Cooperative Business Association created excellent graphics in a variety of sizes and colors.
- Display the cooperative principles prominently in your co-op and on your co-op’s website. Here are some free posters representing the cooperative principles: Here’s a set of materials about the cooperative principles made specifically for credit unions.
- Create a press release to highlight your co-op’s plans for October’s Co-op Month.
- Use the hashtag #coopmonth on Facebook and Twitter.
- Invite co-ops and credit unions in the area to do a shared ad for Co-op Month.
- Help spread the word about PACA and our mission by including our logo (click here to download it) and our website in newsletters, on your website and in social media.
Practice Principle 6: Cooperation Among Cooperatives:
- Find ways to collaborate with other co-ops within your sector. Get more involved in regional co-op associations such as the Mid-Atlantic Food Co-op Alliance, the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association, and the Delaware Valley Cooperative Housing Association. Speak up at meetings of these associations about the need to build bridges to other co-op sectors.
- Reach out to other co-op sectors. Invite co-ops from other sectors to share information at your co-op or at a co-op event.
- Think co-op first to meet your co-op’s needs: Use a local credit union for your co-op’s banking. Purchase food for your co-op from Philly area food co-ops. Encourage your members to explore living in a housing cooperative. Switch to The Energy Co-op if your co-op hasn’t already done so. And then…make a big announcement whenever you make a switch to buying from a co-op!
- Invest in co-ops. Set aside a little of your resources to invest in new co-ops in the area. Check out this recent article by Esteban Kelly about co-op to co-op direct investment in Philly. There are lots of new co-ops currently being organized in the Philadelphia area.
- Fundraise for co-ops. Partner with a local co-operative to raise funds for co-operative development. Possible organizations to partner with include PACA or Weavers Way Community Programs.
Practice Principle 5: Education, Training, and Information:
- PACA has developed a Co-ops 101 presentation specifically for the Philadelphia region. Invite PACA to come present it to your co-op’s members, board, and staff! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Start a book group at your co-op. Mariposa Food Co-op, for example, has a monthly Food Co-ops and Social Justice book club. A PACA volunteer, Rick Joers, is starting a book club near King of Prussia to read Gar Alperovitz’s new book, What Then Must We Do? Email Rick at email@example.com for more information. Other possible books to read include Humanizing the Economy: Co-operatives in the Age of Capital by John Restakis and The Cooperative Solution by E.G. Nadeau.
If your co-op is a food co-op:
- Look for co-op products to offer on your shelves. Visit www.nfca.coop/co-opproducts for a list of co-op suppliers.
- Offer monthly specials on cooperatively made goods and include a brief description as to why it’s discounted.
- Invite co-ops to demo their products in your store.
Share your co-op’s ideas and Co-op Month events with PACA!
We are your cross-sector cooperative alliance, and our role is to help build connections among the co-ops in the Philadelphia area. We can help you get in touch with other co-ops. If your co-op is celebrating Co-op Month, tell us about it! The best place to do it is our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/PhillyCoops.
Post by Jesse Mostoller, adapted from this post by our friends at the Neighboring Food Co-op Association.