Cooperative Difference & Facts

Cooperative Difference & Facts

Cooperative Principles

Voluntary and Open Membership

Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, 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.

Democratic Member Control

Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions. The elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary cooperatives, members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and cooperatives at other levels are organized in a democratic manner.

Members’ Economic Participation

Members contribute equitably to, and democratically 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, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing the cooperative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.

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.

Education, Training, and Information

Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the general public, particularly young people and opinion leaders, about the nature and benefits of cooperation.

Cooperation Among Cooperatives

Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.

Concern for Community

While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.

The Electric Cooperative Story

“The Electric Cooperative Story”: The Story Behind The Video


What is a cooperative? What are cooperative principles? What makes a cooperative different? Cuivre River Electric Cooperative is proud to present “The Electric Cooperative Story” video. This incredible video is provided by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and features a fast-action hand-drawn guide to the history, structure, and purpose of rural electric cooperatives.


The NRECA is the national service organization for more than 900 not-for-profit rural electric cooperatives and public power districts providing retail electric service to more than 42 million consumers in 47 states. NRECA's members include consumer-owned local distribution systems and 66 generation and transmission cooperatives that supply wholesale power to their distribution cooperative owner-members and share an obligation to serve their members by providing safe, reliable and affordable electric service.


“The Electric Cooperative Story” video was produced by the award-winning creative studio Killer Minnow, whose exceptional work in the areas of conceptual design, motion graphics, animation, and visual effects were used in the video production.


What was the process behind the creation of the “The Electric Cooperative Story” video? The NRECA wanted to create a unique and engaging way to tell the rich history of electric cooperatives in America. As a solution, the Killer Minnow team focused on storytelling and utilized a hand-drawn illustration style that, when paired with voiceover and music, expressed the grassroots nature and history of this organization. They worked with NRECA to write a script that was refined and timed seamlessly with illustration builds and once approved, created a whiteboard set to film the real-time drawing process. In post-production, using After Effects, the video was sped up and the illustrator's hand was removed from shots and timed to match the voice over.


Here are some fun facts about “The Electric Cooperative Story” video. The Killer Minnow team spent more than 12 1/2 hours over the course of two days creating the hand-drawn illustrations. How many markers were used? Four black, three red and one green marker were used in the production.