A global study of the digital engagement of co-operatives has been launched.
The Digital Cooperative project – a joint Co-operative News initiative with French researcher Olivier Frey – will be the first look at how co-operatives are connecting with stakeholders, from members to customers.
Findings from the study will be unveiled at the International Summit of Cooperatives in Quebec in October, and it has already been classed by organisers as one of 12 groundbreaking studies into fostering the growth and sustainability of co-operatives.
Those involved in digital engagements in co-operatives are encouraged to take part in the initial five-minute poll to help map the level of engagement from around the sector. (Click here to contribute)
The purpose of the project is to understand how effective co-operatives and mutuals are at using digital tools to engage a range of stakeholders, including employees, members, the public and relevant opinion-formers/decision-makers.
“Digital communications tools are an increasingly important means for co-operatives and mutuals to engage with their stakeholders,” said Prof Frey, associate professor at the University of Sherbrooke, Canada.
Giles Simon, who is leading on the research for Co-operative News, added: “While many co-operative and mutuals around the world are using digital tools – from simple websites to social media and apps – there has been no systematic attempt to map what they are doing, what is working, where there are gaps, and where digital engagement offers a co-operative the opportunity to demonstrate its co-operative difference.”
Sponsored by Credit Cooperatif Foundation in France, the Canadian credit union Coast Capital Savings, and global management consultants Accenture, it will look across the global co-operative movement at a sample of large, medium and small co-operatives to identify the state of the movement’s use of digital communication tools for engaging with stakeholders.
A range of case studies in the final research, which will be published as an interactive report, will highlight best-practice examples of digital engagement in co-operatives and mutuals. It will also look at opportunities for co-operatives and mutuals to use digital engagement to demonstrate their co-operative difference and ways for digital engagement to boost member participation, employee engagement, customer loyalty and advocacy. A roundtable event made up of thought-leaders from across the sector will discuss the findings at the Quebec event on 6 October.
• Take part in the poll before 31 July. All participants will receive an advanced copy of the report and an invitation to participate in the round table. (Round table attendees must already be registered as a delegate for the Quebec Summit).