The sweat equity investments of our members made our success possible to date.
The growth pattern over the last seven years or so has been characterized by periods of rapid growth, followed by plateaus. The longest plateau was the most recent, lasting for all of 2009, which saw an increase in producer sales of 7% over 2008, our lowest growth rate to date. But in 2010, we are moving into another major growth spurt. Producer sales for the first quarter were up 18% over the first quarter of 2009, and May 2010 was up 25% over May 2009.
Once again, our management team is running to keep up.
Without the help of the membership, it will be hard for the coop management to keep up with the growth. I would not be surprised if my the end of the year we are doing $100,000 in monthly producer sales, which will mean that we will finally cross the one million in annual sales goal post sometime in the upcoming year or so.
If we are going to keep the sweat equity model, then there must be a renewed commitment of the membership to sweat equity. While we don't have a volunteer requirement per se, we have a culture of volunteerism. As a cooperative, all members are responsible for the success of the cooperative, and thus even though I am no longer on the management team, I want to send out this call to encourage members to contact our management team at firstname.lastname@example.org and see what you can do to help.
Right now our existing volunteers are stretched to the limit. Every month we are expecting more from the same group of people. That is not sustainable, nor is it economically viable. I am not asking anyone to quit their day job to help with the coop, but I am asking everyone to make a renewed commitment to the sweat equity model that has made us so successful.
- Show up early, or stay late, to help set-up your pick-up site or take it down afterwards. Email your site manager before the delivery day to let him or her know you are available to help.
- Consider volunteering for a back office job, by contacting email@example.com .
- Once or twice a year, take a vacation day and volunteer for delivery day. Come early and stay late.
- Serve on a coop committee.
- Tip the volunteers by donating a dollar or two to the Volunteer Appreciation fund that feeds our delivery day volunteers.