The Seven Cooperative Principles

1. Voluntary and open membership. Because cooperatives are voluntary organizations, membership is open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.

2. Democratic member control. FMCS members have equal voting rights. It doesn't matter how much electricity a member consumes. When it comes to electing directors, each member has one vote.

3. Member economic participation. Members contribute equitably to the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the cooperative.

4. Autonomy and independence. Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations, controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their cooperative autonomy.

5. Education, training and information. New challenges and new technologies affect your cooperative and the entire utility industry. Ensuring our continuing effectiveness can only be accomplished by providing information and training to the members and public, our employees, staff and directors.

6. Cooperation among cooperatives. We are "working together, working for you," on many levels. Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-op movement by participating in local, state, regional, national and international cooperative organizations.

7. Concern for community. This principle focuses on members' needs and prompts cooperatives to work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.

You've Got Power, And It's Not Just Electricity!

Cooperatives are examples of democracy in action. Cooperatives succeed because of the power of people working together. As a member of a cooperative, you join the one out of every four Americans who belong to these member-owned organizations. A cooperative is formed by joining together to accomplish a goal that cannot be done as well individually.

At Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services (FMCS), you are not "just a customer." Instead, you are a member-owner of this private, nonprofit business. Unlike customers of investor-owned utilities, you, as a cooperative member, have a say in determining the leadership of the cooperative, how it will operate and which services it will provide.

The members, customers like you, elect fellow members to serve as directors of the cooperative. The directors set policy and oversee the general operation of the cooperative. They also hire the President & CEO, who implements the policies and is responsible for the daily operation of the cooperative through the actions of its employees. The employees provide service to the members, thus completing the "circle of cooperation."

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