Peter Couchman, Plunkett Foundation
The time has come to stop seeing membership as an on/off switch and to see it as a journey. It is a journey that begins long before a person becomes a member and is far richer than whether they go on to serve on a Board. The new Plunkett Foundation for guidance on membership in community owned enterprises sees membership as a journey from outside the store to the committee room. A journey in which each stage has to inspire people of the power of co-operation.
The time has come for the Co-operative Movement to work together to inspire a new generation of thinking on how membership works in the modern world.
Journey thinking unlocks creative uses of all forms of contact from our connected world, whilst still seeing a role for word-of-mouth and traditional thinking. Our traditional 19th century approaches simply do not work in today’s world. Individual co-operatives can try and develop this, but we would be so much stronger if we explored this together.
The first step towards improving membership participation would be forming a network for swapping knowledge between all forms of co-operatives, celebrating success and identifying what works in the modern world.