It has been so wonderful to connect with Owners in our recent Zoom calls and I wanted to share something I’ve learned.
We often hear Owners say things like:
“…one of the things I love about this organization is that you're using a historic building for a grocery store…”
While it is true that the Board leads the organization and we take on a lot of the workload, we really want Owners to remember that you OWN it. This is your store, both financially as well as psychologically. We want you to come to the place where this sentence is more natural for you:
“…one of the things I love about our organization is that we’re using a historic building for a grocery store…”
Ok, Grant, fine, but don’t you we have more important things to be working on right now than correcting our pronouns?
Well, not really. Remember that we’re building something much bigger and more lasting and important than a physical grocery store. We are true to our vision of a better food community – local, sustainable, connected. And we can measure our connectedness through things like the use of pronouns that show ownership on the part of the person speaking. “My/our Co-op”, “my/our store”, “my/our plans” are proof that we’re all in this together and feel connected.
We’re in an assessment phase right now looking at three capacity areas – operational - can we put a store in that space; financial - can we raise the money needed; and organizational - do we have the volunteers and the Board members to do the work, and the willingness among our community to contribute financially? Measuring this organizational capacity is difficult, but I can tell you that if all our Owners shifted to the personal possessive pronouns when talking about their Co-op, we’d be well on our way!
If you’re “just not feeling it”, I have some tips:
Attend Board meetings to see your organization’s democracy in action.
Join the Owner-only Facebook group and participate in conversations with your fellow Owners – ask for bread-baking tips or gardening advice; share what you know.
Shop Local – your Co-op built this web page just for you because Owners asked for it, so be sure to use it.
Put up a yard sign!
Email us with your thoughts. The Board always loves to hear from Owners.
Get involved, if even just in a small way, and you’ll feel more connected.
Someone marveled in our recent Zoom call at the fact that OshKosh Co-op just completed their $1.6M capital campaign and around 50% of that was donations. How did they raise so much money? I think the answer is simple – they are a connected community working together. I’m pretty sure they use the personal possessive pronouns. :-)