At our co-op, we’re often asked why we run radio ads or spend resources on mailing out a member newsletter each month.
Proactive communication is essential in any industry or business, and it’s especially important for us to communicate often with our members who own the co-op. In fact, the core principles of our cooperative business model include concern for community and keeping our members informed and educated.
We use a variety of communications methods to “cut through the clutter” and make sure we reach our members with our messages. Our monthly newsletter, radio advertisements and announcements, bill stuffers, billboards, emails and website serve as effective ways for us to quickly communicate important information with you regarding safety, energy efficiency, cooperative business and regulatory notices.
Let’s break these categories down one by one:
1. Safety Awareness
As your electric cooperative, we have a duty to keep you safe from the dangers of electricity. Preventative safety messages are a top priority in our public communications efforts. For example, we remind farmers to watch out for electric lines and poles during planting and harvest seasons. We encourage members to call 8-1-1 before digging so underground utilities can be properly located. During the holidays, we promote safety in the kitchen because the incidence of home fires increases dramatically during that time. Throughout the year, we tell members to “look up and live” as they use ladders and tall equipment around the house, garage or barn.
2. Energy Efficiency
We’re committed to helping our members use energy wisely. We provide multiple resources to help you find ways to reduce that electricity bill and become more energy efficient, but we need to promote those resources so you know about them. For example, we often post energy-efficiency tips on our website and within the pages of our member newsletter. We communicate through print and radio ads to let you know about rebates and incentives for energy-efficient products.
3. Cooperative Business
As an owner of the electric cooperative, you need to know important information about the financial condition of the business and when to elect directors of the board. We publish an annual report which includes important information about the co-op and sometimes we’ll post notices in the local paper to make sure you’re aware of upcoming events.
4. Regulatory Notices
We are required to communicate with our co-op members regarding specific state and federal regulations. For example, you may notice the grain bin clearance notice we publish every year in the member newsletter and articles informing members about financial aid available through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
Communicating frequently with our members is an important business function that helps our co-op achieve our mission of powering lives and empowering communities.
Source: Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives