THE CO-OP DATA CLUB
In addition to enabling co-ops to promote each other on their email newsletters, we are also building an email newsletter that is co-owned by its readers and the co-ops that are members of the club. The newsletter will promote cooperatives and not any other businesses. It taps into an advantage co-ops have in marketing:
People like cooperatives but are indifferent or hostile towards capitalist firms.
Surveys across the world show that most consumers would prefer to spend more of their money in cooperatives.
An email newsletter for people who want to spend more money on co-ops will not attract everyone, but a newsletter based on promoting firms on the basis that they are conventional capitalist firms would not attract anyone.
CREATING CO-OP COMMONS
The shared email list is an extremely simple and cheap, with a potential to be a powerful asset for the movement as a whole.
It is almost like a costless side-product co-ops can generate from the massive flows of emails they are sending anyway
Many co-ops could direct a small portion of their members to enrich a shared resource, a community of people organized into a co-owned email list.
It creates a shared resource that can be utilized without depletion to generate compounding returns for the cooperative ecosystem as a whole
Helping future co-ops to reach a receptive and growing audience with ever decreasing effort and costs.
WHAT COULD THIS
LOOK LIKE IN PRACTISE?
In addition to the Coop Data Club facilitating, for example, a credit union to mention a local food co-op in its newsletter, both the food co-op and the credit union could mention the Coop Data Club email newsletter.
The expectation would not be for all their members to find it interesting enough to subscribe. The goal would be for many co-ops to connect a small portion of their members with the strongest preference for co-ops to join the Coop Data Club email newsletter that promotes co-ops regularly to them. It would not require much effort to participate. For example, lets say a credit union sends a monthly newsletter to its members. During October it might choose to send it on the international credit union day and tell about their cooperative difference. This credit union day email could simply have a brief mention with a link to the Coop Data Club co-owned email list, in case some members might be interested in joining to receive offers from other cooperatives.
The effort required by the credit union would be only a few additional clicks to copy-paste a paragraph to a newsletter they are sending anyway. It would not need to attract a large portion of the members to join to be worth the effort. Perhaps only 1% of credit unions in the US would decide to inform their members about the Coop Data Club shared email list, and as a result only 1% of their members would decide to join it. Because there are 5000 credit unions with over 120 million people, that would organize 10,000 people into an email list that could provide substantial tangible help to countless co-ops over time.