Rufus Olins: recruiting for Member Pioneers and paying £9 million to local causes


Rufus: Hello, I’m Rufus and I’m doing the weekly update this week because Mike’s away. I want to talk to you a bit about Membership and community, because this is a landmark week for us. There are 2 big things that are happening that I’m going to tell you about.

The first is we’ve started recruiting for Member Pioneers. We launched on Friday, a big campaign so that we’ve got 50 pioneers at the Co-op in time for the AGM, and we’re building to 1,500 pioneers.

That is a huge moment for us as we reinvent our concept of pioneers from what they were in 1844 to a 21st century version, where we have someone connecting people in every community in the UK, and improving people’s lives.

So, we got off to a great start and we’ve already had, on the first day, 40 applications or expressions of interest in the role. And that’s just the beginning. The applications are open until April 10th and we want a really high calibre of committed people that have got an appetite to make their communities better. So if you know anybody, or would like to do it yourself, please don’t hesitate to go online and fill out the form. It’s a really easy process.

The second initiative I want to talk to you about is the pay out that we’re giving to local causes. On April 19th we’re going to be paying out £9 million to 4,000 local causes. It’s a huge milestone event for the Co-op and signifies a moment where the world can see that we’re moving from being about financial transactions, which are important, to really participating and supporting those causes in our local communities.

We’re doing a social media campaign, there’s going to be celebrations in every store throughout the UK, and we’ve highlighted 46 beacon stores which are really special and will be great examples of what the best really looks like. If you can go and support your local store and get a taste of what’s going on and develop a relationship with the local cause, that’s what we’d like to see so please look out for it on April 19th and do what you can to take part.

Rufus Olins
Chief Membership Officer

Members, have you chosen a local cause?

This Saturday, 8 April, is the deadline for Co-op members to choose which local cause their 1% will go to. If you haven’t chosen already, sign in online and you’ll be prompted to choose one. You’ll see this: 

screen shot of what the page looks like in a member's account who hasn't chosen a local cause yet.

From this date we’ll have a new set of projects in your community for you to choose from.

How it all works

Each time members buy a Co-op branded product and swipe their membership card, they earn 5% for themselves to spend at the Co-op and 1% for their community. They can choose which local cause their 1% goes towards.

And things are going well. At the time of posting, Co-op members have raised over £4 million for local causes. Co-op supports up to 3 local causes in over 1,500 communities across the UK. You can learn more about how we’re getting on on our local community fund page.

We talk about the 5% and 1% stuff regularly on the blog but we haven’t spoken in much detail about how everything works behind the scenes. So here’s what happens next.

Paying out after 6 months

We let the funds from the 1% build up for 6 months, so in this case it’s from September when we launched the new Membership, to now.  

At the end of each day a member’s 1% balance is checked and one of 2 things happen. If a member has selected a cause, the 1% earned goes into that pot. If they haven’t, the funds stay put in an unallocated pot.

At the end of the 6-month cycle we’ll do the number crunching. Then we’ll split the 1% balances for anyone who didn’t choose a cause equally between the causes in their community. We’ll then send the sums over to the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) and they’ll process the payment so each local cause gets what they’re due.

See where your money’s going

Very soon we’ll have a new page on the Membership website where you can see your giving history. The page will show a list of the causes that you’ve supported. From here you’ll be able to see how much you’ve contributed as well as revisit the profile pages of the local causes to see how much they raised.

A new set of projects from local causes

If you’re a member you’ll carry on supporting the cause you chose until 8 April or until you choose a different one. On 9 April however, we’ll have a new set of projects from local causes for you to choose to give your 1% to. Between November and January, local causes applied to be part of the new round of funding. Since then we’ve checked the applications are eligible and have given our colleagues a say in which local causes they want to be part of the Local Community Fund.

You can become a Co-op member online or pick up a temporary card in store.

You can see the latest data on the 5% and 1% rewards on our Membership data page.

Liam Cross
Agile business analyst

Mike Bracken: advisers, our local community fund and 30k new members

Mike: Hello, welcome to the weekly update. Week 3, big week back for us, the Digital team. Firstly 2 big meetings.

Board meeting for the whole group, they’ve seen our preparation, our presentation for the year, very happy with that, lots of good challenge.

For us as a team we have a digital advisers group, and our Digital Advisory Board met this Wednesday, we have 4 advisers, Jonathan Luff, who is helping us with our horizon scanning and vendor market place review; Jeni Tennison from the Open Data Institute and Andrew Eland from Google Deep Mind, those 2 are really helping us with our data services and our open data principles and standards work. And Sophie Fenwick-Paul who’s helping us with our communities and our futures work, particularly helping Rufus around membership and community.

Those 4 constitute our Advisory Board and I’m delighted they are helping us. We are also looking for at least one other person to help us with our e-commerce development around our electrical business, so if you know anybody please let us know.

And just a couple of stats this week to wrap up. I’m delighted that at the end of the period of our community cause programme, we’ve had over 6000 applications from causes, charities, social programmes all over the country who want to participate in the 1% programme. And we’ll be putting money into these causes over the next few years.

We’ve now got some sifting work to do because we were very, very much oversubscribed, but we should have causes in every part of our country and in every one of our 1500 communities, so that’s a great achievement.

And finally membership continues to grow. The Join Us campaign is starting to make an impact and last week we had over 30,000 new members join the Co-op. So that’s some great stats, I hope to give you some more next week, but until then, join us.

Mike Bracken
Chief Digital Officer

Local Community Fund

You may have heard about the changes to our Membership that Richard announced last week. If not then Alyson’s blog post tells you all you need to know. We’ve made a short video too.

Members will be able to choose a local charity to donate to. To make that work we’ve built a new service which went live on Friday.

http://www.coop.co.uk/localcommunityfund

Screen Shot from Co-op Local Community Fund

We built the service with our partners at ThoughtWorksBJSS and others.

ThoughtWorks have been leading our product delivery teams. We have co-located a multi-disciplinary team of product owners, designers, analysts, tech leads and software engineers who have iteratively built the product over recent months. We showcase every week and we’ll continue to develop the service over the summer, shipping often.

BJSS have built our continuous development platform, developer tooling and a number of Service API’s that connect our new digital services to existing Co-op ones.

We’re releasing the membership services in beta to our colleagues in the Support Centre in 1 Angel Square shortly and then a few weeks later to our 70,000 colleagues across the UK. This will allow us to test and learn with our colleagues, try some new things and then launch to our members in the Autumn.

We’ll keep blogging about what we’ve done and what we’ve learned. Let us know what you think.

Dave Johnson

For current digital engineering vacancies visit our careers site