Monday, 01 March 2010 09:51
By Alexis Alexander,
Ahh March!! That cherished month of the Spring Equinox, when the dark days of winter magically relinquish themselves to the ever-increasing light and, if we’re really lucky, warmth. It is a time of renewal and initiation, of seeing the first glimpse of rejuvenation in our woods and gardens, and of planting new seeds, including the internal seeds that sprout our hopes and dreams.
As I reflect on where we are in the Membership Department, the time of year feels quite appropriate. Renewal and initiation are all around us. Renewal where our current members are concerned, and initiation of new members into our co-op.
As I write this article on a wonderfully sunny February day, we are still in the midst of “Renewal Season.” In January, I shared with you that we were working to improve our membership processing. I’m thrilled to report that we have been quite successful. In January alone, we processed 1,172 renewals with relatively few problems (OK, trivia buffs, this is a number you just might want to keep in mind…not that we are going to sponsor a Membership trivia contest later this spring or anything).
Of course, we couldn’t have a successful renewal season without the efforts of a dedicated Customer Service staff. I would like to pay tribute to all our cashiers and customer service staff and management, who so willingly embraced the mission of the renewal season, right on the heels of a very busy holiday season, and who have worked extremely conscientiously (and some rather competitively!) to process so many renewals in such an expedient and accurate fashion.
What’s really surprised me during this period is the number of new member-owners who have joined GreenStar — 142 just in January! This substantial figure reflects the growing strength of the worldwide cooperative movement as discussed at our Fall Member Meeting by Adam Schwartz of the National Cooperative Business Association. It also reminds me of the responsibility we have as a co-op to ensure that we are doing our best to educate our customers and member-owners on GreenStar’s cooperative mission and values. That’s why two important initiatives of the Membership Department for this year are the development of a comprehensive Membership orientation program for member-owners and a Membership training program for all staff that focuses on what cooperatives are all about; the benefits and responsibilities of being a member-owner, and GreenStar’s role in the greater cooperative movement. We will also create an updated New Member-Owner brochure and other membership materials, and expand Co-op tours for the local colleges. I’m excited to announce that Jen Wholey, a Cornell student who served as an intern for GreenLeaf last semester, is joining the Membership Department as a superworker to help us develop these programs and materials.
As the Membership Department plants its seeds this Spring, our dream is to sprout an ever more vibrant future, where the cooperative mission and values blossom even more fully within our eight walls (two locations!), within the hearts and souls of our members, and within everyone that GreenStar touches in our community and beyond. Happy Spring Equinox to you all!
By Laura Buttenbaum,
What is a co-op? This seemingly straightforward question can elicit a wide range of responses, from visceral and intrinsic to completely organizational and economic. According to the International Cooperative Association, "A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons unite...