The Cooperative Paperclip Project works by having people trade items of nominal value, like a paperclip, for something bigger and better. Eventually, the final items make their way to Basin Electric’s Annual Meeting, where attendees bid on them via a silent auction.
The best part? All the money goes to local charities. This year, the project raised more than $1,300.
Wes Engbrecht, Capital Electric Cooperative communications director, was inspired by the project last year and tried his hand at charitable trading leading up to this year’s Annual Meeting.
For Engbrecht, it started with a Capital Electric baseball cap.
After posting a photo of the cap via social media, Engbrecht saw multiple responses to the Cooperative Paperclip Project within a day. What surprised him most was, during trading, people often gave him more than one item.
He eventually ended up with a golf bag, putter, camping tent, air mattress and backpack.
“All I could think throughout this process was, I wish I had more time to invest in it,” Engbrecht says. “At the end of the day it helps community. That’s what cooperatives are all about.”