Co-op grassroots, app style

2016-0506-Co-op-grassroots
The phrase “cooperation among cooperatives” might bring up thoughts of co-ops helping each other in times of need, like repairing downed power lines after a devastating winter storm. But in today’s digital world, Montana Electric Cooperatives’ Association (MECA) and South Dakota Rural Electric Association (SDREA) have benefited in another way.

Both organizations leveraged cooperation among cooperatives to develop apps of their popular legislative and association/member directories.

“We looked at who’s doing this, who’s doing it well, and asked what they liked and didn’t like about their app,” says Brenda Kleinjan, SDREA director of communication and member relations.

SDREA modified Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives’ app and MECA turned to Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association (TECA), which had already developed a similar app, and modified TECA’s app to suit its needs.

Ryan Hall, MECA communications director, says the MECA Legislative Guide is designed as a non-partisan tool for anyone’s use.

“We want it to be universally accepted. It’s not a communication tool in terms of what any of our strategies are,” he says. “We don’t highlight bills on it or feature ‘vote yes’ or ‘vote no’ messages. It’s just a guide and a tool for everyone’s use.”

Relevant and current information combined with convenience have made both states’ apps a hit. The popularity is especially noticed the day after election when Hall and Kleinjan both receive calls for the updated legislative apps.

“The apps help us provide an additional service, and we’re meeting our members where they tell us they want to be,” Kleinjan says.

Read more about SDREA’s and MECA’s apps in the May-June issue of Basin Today.

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