The theme for the 2018 National Cooperative Month in October is “Cooperatives - See the Future,” which cooperatives can use in their communications and outreach activities. The theme can be used on its own, or extended with sub-themes. How does your co-op see the future?
2018 Co-op Month Press Release
Official 2017 Co-op Month Declaration
(USDA will officially announce 2018 Co-op Month in October)
Here are some key messages to relate in interviews and press releases that have been found to resonate with the media and the public. They help achieve the goals of Co-op Month, which are to raise public awareness of cooperatives and celebrate their accomplishments.
• There are more than 40,000 cooperative businesses in the United States with 350 million members (many people belong to more than one co-op). These cooperatives generate $514 billion in revenue and more than $25 billion in wages, according to a study conducted by the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, with support from USDA Rural Development (http://reic.uwcc.wisc.edu/default.htm).
• Cooperatives represent a strong business model and greatly contribute to both the national and local economies.
• Studies show that consumers want to do business with companies that share their values, making today’s environment ideal for cooperatives and their commitment to the communities in which their members live and work.
• Co-ops don’t have to answer to outside shareholders; they care about meeting their members’ needs.
• Co-ops represent democracy in action, with control exercised by a board of directors elected from the ranks of members; the board hires and directs management and is ultimately responsible to the members;
• Cooperatives generate jobs in their communities, keep profits local and pay local taxes to help support community services. Cooperatives often take part in community improvement programs, ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to benefit from the cooperative experience.
To better “bring home” these messages, gather additional data about the role and power of co-ops in your state, region or community.
CO-OP MONTH FUN FACTS
Minnesota was the first state to declare an official Co-op Month proclamation in 1948.
Co-op Month has been a nationally recognized celebration since 1964, when U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman, a former Minnesota governor, proclaimed October Co-op Month.
The first national theme in 1964 was “Cooperatives: USDA Helps Build a Better America.”
The U.S. Government sponsored Co-op Month from 1964-70.
Since 1971, cooperatives, statewide associations, and the National Cooperative Business Association have fueled their own events and promotions.