October and cooperatives
October is designated
Cooperative Month and it is a good time to talk about member-owned cooperatives
and the need to communicate effectively.
A cooperative is established
to provide services needed by its members. The board of directors, which
members elect, and the manager they hire have a responsibility to communicate
with the members on a frequent basis. Cooperative members have a right
to know what’s going on in the business that they own.
The electric cooperatives
began publishing Rural Missouri 55 years ago as a statewide communications
vehicle to electric cooperative members. While some of the cooperatives
have their own member newsletter, most of them use the local pages of
Rural Missouri to inform members of their cooperative business.
The original publishers
of Rural Missouri made a commitment which still stands today.
That commitment was to publish a high-quality publication which would
result in high readership. After all, they said, if we have a responsibility
to communicate with our cooperative members, we should take it seriously
and do it right.
The commitment by
Rural Missouri’s founders to produce a quality publication
is felt even stronger by electric cooperatives today. Each year this publication
is submitted to a panel of experts in journalism for professional review.
Each year it receives high marks in all categories when competing with
similar publications. The staff is also given individual recognition and
awarded honors in all categories. At the same time, we are given suggestions
on how to improve in areas where we do not achieve the highest rankings.
Month the special niche cooperatives fill in our free enterprise system
is emphasized. Within cooperatives, we emphasize the unique and special
obligation we have to communicate with our member-owners in a responsible
and effective way.
When you pick up your
Rural Missouri each month, think of it as your publication. It
is designed to keep you informed about the cooperative business you own.
If you think of it that way, you will keep writing to let us know how
we can do our jobs better. We both like and need that communication from
Have a great fall
and keep those cards, letters and e-mails coming.
Stork was executive
vice president of the Association of Missouri
Electric Cooperatives and a member of Three Rivers Electric Co-op.