In general, a cooperative is a private business organization that is owned and controlled by the people who use its products, supplies, or services. Although cooperatives vary in type and membership size, all were formed to meet the specific objectives of members and are structured to adapt to member’s changing needs. At Craw-Kan, our cooperative area expands throughout our telephone exchange boundaries. If you live outside of these boundaries, you are classified a non-member. The reason for this divide is due to the fact that our telephone lines only extend to certain areas. Consequently, if you live in our certificated telephone exchange boundaries and subscribe to services, you are classified a cooperative member of Craw-Kan Telephone Cooperative Incorporated.
The following are 5 principles of a cooperative
1. Member Owned
Craw-Kan is an independent organization owned by our members, who have a voice in setting policies and making decisions. Members are represented by elected members (Board of Directors) whom are accountable to the membership. In most cooperatives, members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and is organized in a democratic manner.
2. Members’ Economic Participation
Members contribute equitably to, and fairly control, the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the cooperative. Members usually receive limited compensation, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing the cooperative, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their connections with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
3. Autonomy and Independence
Craw-Kan is an autonomous organization overseen by a Board of Directors elected from the cooperative membership who are members themselves. If the cooperative enters into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, we do so on terms that ensures the continued independent control and autonomy of Craw-Kan.
4. Education, Training, and Information
Craw-Kan provides education and training for our members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so we can contribute effectively to the development of the cooperative. We also inform the general public, particularly young people and opinion leaders, about the nature and benefits of cooperation. Some methods Craw-Kan might use to spread information is through newsletters sent to our cooperative members twice a year, website content, and a strong social media presence.
5. Concern for Community
While focusing on member needs, Craw-Kan also works for the sustainable development of our communities through contributions of time, resources and monetary support, as well as community involvement that inspires growth for the cooperative.