By Erin Campbell, CCC, Communications Manager, Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives

There are several worthy communications organizations for electric cooperative communicators to consider, including a plethora of national, regional and local options. I urge you to take a close look at the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) for the networking and professional development resources they offer to their members. CCA is made up of 350 professional communicators who are affiliated in some way with cooperatives from all industries, including agribusiness, electric utilities, credit unions, food and grocery co-ops, and more. Founded more than 55 years ago, CCA recognizes the cooperative difference in the marketplace and in the audiences we must reach. Committed to the development of professional communicators who have a vested interest in cooperative values and principles, CCA helps members excel by promoting personal and professional growth, providing education and information to improve skills in all aspects of communications, and offering networking opportunities with fellow communicators who share common needs and interests.

Several Certified Cooperative Communicators are also CCA members, and it’s easy to see why. With a $160 annual membership, you can gain access to valuable resources, including:

  • 10 issues of the CCA Communique newsletter delivered in an interactive PDF
  • Access to the “Members Only” section of CCA’s website
  • Discounted fees to attend the CCA Institute, regional workshops, and webinars
  • Discounted fees to enter the CCA Communications Contest and online samples of winning entries and critiques in Communications Showcase
  • Contacts to fellow members through our comprehensive Peer Resource Directory
  • Access to CCA's job postings
  • CCA LinkedIn group
  • Raymond Crouch Fellowship to assist with expenses to attend workshops
  • Leadership development opportunities through involvement in CCA committees, event planning, and board of directors

If CCA membership isn’t in your budget, you can still access many valuable resources, often for a higher non-member cost, including the CCA Annual Institute in June, regional workshops, webinars, online training courses, and the annual CCA Communications Contest.

Personally, I’ve been a CCA member for over three years and I find value in the monthly newsletter, which includes perspectives and developments from all cooperative industries. I’m exposed to new ideas and resources that I wouldn’t have found otherwise. As a recipient of four CCA Communications Awards, I take pride in my winning entries, knowing that my work competed with a wide range of candidates and messages. (As an added bonus, the crystal awards look pretty sharp in my office!)

While I haven’t been able to attend the annual CCA Institute in June, I’ve heard from those who did attend that the sessions were valuable and the networking was phenomenal. CCA members are deeply committed to the success of the cooperative purpose and we know that as communicators, we’re all in this together for a common goal.

For those who are interested, CCA also offers a Master Cooperative Communicator Program. Communicators earn their Master Cooperative Communicator certificate of achievement by earning points for attending seminars, workshops and training programs, earning contest awards, and submitting a portfolio of work.

To learn more about CCA, visit Follow CCA on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated on contest deadlines and Institute developments.