As we head into our new financial year and our elections get underway with nominations now open for our Board of Directors and Member & Community Councils (MCCs), we wanted to highlight the importance of having your say as a Member.
Last year we undertook a significant research project, to hear from our Members, colleagues and customers to understand what the future of Membership could look like, and to unlock what it means to deliver meaningful Membership. With the objective of creating our Membership proposition, designed by Members for Members.
This process began with a series of focus groups, hearing from people of all ages and life stages, from across our trading regions. We worked with research experts from Trinity McQueen, during this project.
We then developed a survey building on what we’d heard in the focus groups, offering all Members the opportunity to take part and share your thoughts. We were thrilled that over 4,000 Members had their say. The survey was a great way for you to exercise Principle 2, which is all about Members democratically engaging to help shape how we do business as a Co-op – you are, after all, owners of our Society!
The survey closed in September, and since then we’ve been working through what you told us. Working with our Board of Directors and Member & Community Councils (MCCs) to understand how we can bring to life what matters most to you.
You told us that:
- Instant rewards are really important – we’ve seen so many of you make the most of Member prices in store, benefitting from those immediate savings. But, you also want to be empowered and in control of the rewards you’re earning. With many of you sharing that rewards take too long to earn right now, and it’s not clear how you earn them. We’re looking into how we can create a solution that balances instant savings, with earnings over time that you control.
- You’re all generous, giving people! Unsurprisingly, the community spirit was strong in the feedback, with huge numbers of Members suggesting the idea that an option to pay-it-forward was important to you. That may be in the form of donating what you’ve earned to charity, or to someone you know who’s in need or helping to fund a community project or initiative. Having the choice and empowerment to choose what to do with what you’ve earned by shopping with us was loud and clear.
- Being able to access community funding is a benefit we know so many of our Members value right now, and we’re always so pleased to see the impact these grants have had in the local community. You told us that this is still really important, but you’d like a bigger say in how the funding is distributed. We’re looking at how we can give you greater visibility and local democratic control over this, so stay tuned for more on this.
- You gave us lots of ideas about activities that would be meaningful to you, from community gardens and allotments, to before/after school clubs. We have a whole host of activities across our trading regions facilitated by our Member & Community Councils, and we’re looking at how we can align these activities to your feedback moving forward. You can find out more about local events, groups and classes by checking out the Membership Matters blog.
We are so grateful to everyone who took part in the research last year. Membership is at the heart of everything we do as a Society. Giving you a greater say in what we do moving forward is so important to us and is important in helping us to think about new and innovative forms of democratic participation.
Later this year, we’ll be launching a new engagement survey, alongside voting in our Board and Member & Community Council elections and promotion of our Annual Members’ Meeting. As a Member you really do have the power to shape the future of our business, in a way that works for you. By having your say, sharing your opinions and casting your vote towards who represents you. If you’ve got the time, get involved in your local MCC or stand for a seat on our Board of Directors.
May will see our Annual Members’ Meeting take place, with more details on that to come very soon.
Thank you again to all Members who participated in the research, we’ll keep you updated as we trial new initiatives to get towards the most meaningful Membership.