October is National Cooperative Month. So what? Why do I care? What does this mean to me? These are all VERY easy questions to answer. Chances are at least one Cooperative provides you with services necessary for daily living and business. Traditional, Cooperatives have provided us with electricity and fuel. It may surprise you just how many of the services, products and jobs are associated with a Coop.
According to the Southern Minnesota Energy Cooperative:
Any margin (profit) made by the cooperative is reinvested in the organization, used to pay down debts, and returned to its member-owners as patronage capital. Electric cooperatives provide reliable and technologically advanced service to 42 million Americans while maintaining a unique consumer-focused approach to business.
…that includes Broadband Internet Access!
Minnesota is literally the ‘home’ of the Cooperative. Benco Electric reminds us:
Minnesota was one of the first states to enact a law authorizing cooperatives and was the first to officially declare October Co-op Month in 1948. Today, Minnesota is home to the largest number of co-ops in the nation, including three Fortune 500 companies, and the two largest cooperatives in the United States. – Benco
Cooperative Month was recognized Nationally in 1964. Check out the USDA’s blog on Cooperative Month for examples of National Cooperatives.
What sets a Cooperative apart from other service providers? The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association shares with us the 7 core Principles.
These principles, along with the cooperative purpose of improving quality of life for their members, make (service) cooperatives different from other (service) utilities. – NRECA
The Mcleod Cooperative Power Monthly Newsletter does a great job of summarizing the 7 Principles:
The Cooperative Difference
- Locally owned & operated – Owned and operated by member-owners (customers) and focuses on their needs and local priorities.
- Member-owners are first – Members know they can trust their cooperative, because it was created not to make a profit, but simply to provide reliable electricity and service and affordable rates.
- Responsive to local needs – Coops work hard to achieve a better quality of life and higher level of service for member-owners.
And our Cooperatives continue to evolve, using social media to better communicate with their members. Does your Coop have a FB or Twitter page?
Looking back to the ice storms of April, 2013, it was our local Cooperatives that jumped into action, quickly restoring services. …working together for the good of all.
As a nonprofit, member-owned corporation made up of members/stockholders, MVTV Wireless would like to THANK our members for their patronage, our board for their guidance and our fellow Cooperatives for the services they provide to the state of Minnesota.MVTV Wireless Your Broadband Internet Provider ‘Connecting Rural Minnesota’ @ruraltechnology