The value of membership
By Mitchell Styles, Ozarks Electric
When I joined CCA more than 12 years ago, I had no idea what was in store for me. I thought, “Great. I’ll get out of the office for a few days, meet some new people and hopefully learn a thing or two.” Little did I know that this organization, and the benefits that come along with being a member, would have such a huge impact on me professionally.
I think Chellie Phillips sums it up best, saying, “One of the things I’ve always found valuable is stepping away from the electric world and learning how other types of cooperatives handle the same issues we deal with (capital credits, member engagement, etc.). We get used to looking at things one way, when we can learn a lot from other organizations.”
I believe this statement rings true for all of us. We might not all work for the same type of cooperative, but in the end we are all trying to reach the same goals and better serve our members.
Count your CCA benefits
Besides the great networking opportunities available through CCA, other benefits include:
- Professional Development Workshops
- Co-op 101 online training
- Communications contest and feedback
- Master Cooperative Communicator designation program
- Shirley K. Sullivan education grants
Now, I know you are probably familiar with those, but did you know that there are a lot of other benefits that are available to only CCA members? For instance:
- Member newsletter
- Private Facebook group that keeps the membership at your fingertips
- Free CCA webinars
- Access to the “Members Only” section of CCA’s website
- Participation in a members’ online mailing list
- Discounted fees to attend the CCA Institute and Professional Development Workshops
- Discounted fees to enter the CCA Communications Contest and online samples of winning entries and critiques in the Communications Contest Showcase
New membership category
Another huge benefit that is new to CCA is the cost of membership itself. Several members expressed interest in an organizational-style membership. After a lot of research and discussion, your CCA Board approved the addition of an organizational membership category. This structure will allow some of our larger cooperative members to consider increasing the number of people who participate in CCA and attend events like our Institute and Professional Development Workshops. It will also allow for additional participation in the free webinars and other CCA activities.
This style of membership will also assist with member retention. When members retire or change positions, CCA often gets lost in the shuffle. With an organizational membership category, the membership stays with the organization — not the individual. No matter who fills the role of communicator, the information will still be sent to the cooperative.
I hope you are taking advantage of these amazing benefits. CCA offers so many opportunities to learn and grow professionally, and they are all available to you because you are a member.
Warren Buffett said, “Price is what you pay, value is what you get.” I think we all would agree that the value of a CCA membership is well worth the price.