Honest Weight’s E-mail Communications: 101


Ever receive e-mailed information from the Co-op and wonder what the purpose of the e-mail is for the Co-op or how or why you began receiving those e-mails? This article provides an overview of the various ways the Co-op communicates with people via e-mail, and some of the other means the Co-op uses to communicate with Member-Owners, other shoppers, and the general public. Based on information provided by Janet Sorell, Honest Weight Food Co-op’s (HWFC’s) Member-Owner Coordinator, and Jeff Marden, HWFC’s Director of Digital Marketing, we’ll explore the fast, efficient, and financially and environmentally economical ways the Co-op electronically communicates with us.

More than half of HWFC’s approximately 12,000 Shareholders and Member-Owners currently receive email notifications from the Co-op. The various Co-op communications provided via e-mail are summarized below, with information on the purpose of each type of communication, who can subscribe to them and how to go about doing so.

Email Distribution Program→Constant Contact
(one distribution list is used; currently, it is not possible to receive only some of these emails; subscribers get all of these email notifications; an unsubscribe to any of these emails results in unsubscribing from all of these)
Mail Chimp
(although HWFC Marketing Staff and The Voice staff begin with the same distribution list, their lists are managed separately so subscribing or unsubscribing from one has no impact on the other)
Email Contents→
(including links to HWFC’s website)
Co-op Connections
(membership newsletter)
Inside ScoopMeeting Notices & Miscellaneous Announcements Great Deals Sales FlyerCoop ScoopCo-op Voice (independent, member-generated online newsletter)
From→Member-Owner Coordinator
Janet Sorell
HWFC Board of DirectorsMember-Owner Coordinator
Janet Sorell
HWFC Marketing Staff
(often HWFC’s Education Coordinator, Georgia Julius)
The Co-op Voice Team of Member-Owners
Frequency of E-mails→MonthlyPeriodically, at the Board’s discretionPeriodically, based on eventsTwice/monthBimonthlyMonthly
(including potential audience)
HWFC Shareholders; membership required;
online documentation is password protected *
Any interested parties worldwide; membership NOT required

* When membership is required, a password must be used to access content on the HWFC website. Member-Owners can obtain the password by contacting the Customer Service Desk (in person or at 518-482-2667) or Member-Owner Coordinator Janet Sorell (memberservices AT hwfc.coop).

Honest Weight’s E-mailed Information for Shareholders

There are three types of Co-op e-mail communications sent only to Co-op Shareholders. They are: Co-op Connections, the Inside Scoop, and e-mails of Meeting Notices & Miscellaneous Announcements.

CO-OP CONNECTIONS is the Co-op’s membership newsletter that is sent out monthly by Member-Owner Coordinator, Janet Sorell. It is only available to Shareholders and, as of this writing, it is only available via e-mail subscription (i.e., not in paper form).

The INSIDE SCOOP is an electronic publication of the HWFC Board of Directors. Only HWFC Shareholders receive this e-mail. Links to further documentation is sometimes provided in the Inside Scoop, and when they are they will be password protected*. The Inside Scoop contains news from the HWFC Board of Directors, including:

  • information and scheduled voting dates for items being presented for a vote by the membership;
  • membership meeting vote results;
  • HWFC Board vote results;
  • Introductions of structural changes for the Co-op;
  • HWFC financial news; and
  • Anything and everything the Board wants to communicate to shareholders.

Inside Scoop issues dated March 2013 to the present are posted on the HWFC website.

MEETING NOTICES & MISCELLANEOUS ANNOUNCEMENTS. These e-mails are sent to Shareholders and include: notification of general membership meetings (quarterly); notifications of special events (sent periodically based on event scheduling; for example, the Standing Up for Standing Rock Documentary shown recently at The Linda); requests for member help at the store (as recently announced with the increased need for help around the holidays); By-laws Panel Reports; and other miscellaneous announcements.

Shareholders who want to subscribe to any of the Shareholder-directed e-mails referenced above must opt-in to receiving them by contacting the Co-op’s Member-Owner Coordinator, Janet Sorell (memberservices AT hwfc.coop) or by filling out a postcard form available at the Co-op’s Customer Service Desk (in person or by phone, at 518-482-2667). Please note that the systems for distributing these e-mails are currently linked, so opting in to receive any of these will result in you receiving all three (i.e., Co-op Connections, the Inside Scoop, and e-mails of Meeting Notices & Miscellaneous Announcements). Conversely, if you unsubscribe from any of these three e-mail streams, you will by default be unsubscribed from all three of them. The Co-op is working on separating the distribution channels for these three streams of Shareholder e-mails so that Shareholders who wish to can pick and choose which of these three types of e-mails they will receive. Any Shareholder who elects not to receive the Shareholder-directed e-mails will begin receiving hard copies of shareholder meeting announcements, as these notifications are required by law. If you or any other member-worker or member-owner has the programming chops to help us disentangle the distribution streams and refine the opt-in and opt-outs, let us know!

Honest Weight’s E-mailed Information for Everyone

Three additional types of Co-op e-mails are available for anyone who is interested in subscribing to them (i.e., not just Shareholders). They are: Great Deals Sales Flyer e-mails, the Coop Scoop, and the Co-op Voice member-run newsletter.

The GREAT DEALS SALES FLYER e-mail notification includes information on sale items (“Great Deals” and “Fresh Deals” sales flyers), sent out twice per month. Also included are invitations to participate in different aspects of the Co-op community (recent examples include the announcement of pre-orders being taken for Thanksgiving turkeys; how to submit a recipe for the Co-op’s “Naughty or Nice Cookie Challenge”; and how to sign up for one of the Co-op’s free monthly classes, including cooking lessons held in the Co-op’s teaching kitchen).

On the HWFC website, a sign up link can be found in the lower right corner of every page—“Sign up here to receive our Sales & News e-Newsletter.” Each Great Deals Sales Flyer e-mail also includes a handy “Subscribe Me” link in the top right corner of the e-mail, so that you can share these e-mails with others you know who also want to subscribe. When you sign up for the sales flyers, you’ll automatically receive the Coop Scoop via e-mail as well.

The COOP SCOOP is a bimonthly educational, outreach and marketing newsletter that has appeal to all constituents of the Co-op community, as well as the general public and potential future Shareholders. Formerly a newsletter run by Members, it is now compiled by Education and Marketing Staff at the Co-op. The current issue of the Coop Scoop is available in hard copy at select local libraries, businesses, schools and non-profit agencies, as well as electronically on the HWFC website. For a fun trip down memory lane (or some interesting history on the Co-op’s evolution), explore the archives of the Coop Scoop (1976 to the present) on the website. Reading early editions of the Coop Scoop is a bit like opening a time capsule—some really interesting, entertaining and informative stuff on our Co-op’s formative first 40-years.

Anyone can subscribe to the Coop Scoop by filling out a postcard form available at the Customer Service Desk (in person or by phone, at 518-482-2667). Each Coop Scoop e-mail also includes the “Subscribe Me” link in the top right corner of the e-mail, so that you can share these e-mails with others you know who also want to subscribe.

The CO-OP VOICE is a relatively new, monthly online newsletter written and assembled by a team of HWFC Member-Owners. Its purpose is to report on news, views and issues of interest to the Co-op Community by giving voice to those who wish to participate. You do not have to be a member of the Co-op to subscribe. Its contents have ranged from articles like this, to recipes, shopping tips and meeting reports. You can subscribe directly on the coopvoice.com website or by filling out a postcard subscription form available at the Customer Service Desk (in person or by phone, at 518-482-2667). Browse through the offerings in our latest and archived issues, at www.coopvoice.com.

Since the Great Deals Sales Flyer, Coop Scoop, and Co-op Voice e-mails are intended for anyone and everyone who wishes to read them, the Co-op encourages sharing these e-mails with others. If you do share any of them, a note of caution is warranted because of inadvertent unsubscribing that can happen following a shared e-mail. Here’s the scenario: (1) Someone receives a Great Deals Sales Flyer, Coop Scoop, or Co-op Voice email from the Co-op and forwards their email to someone else; (2) the third-party recipient chooses to unsubscribe using the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of the email; and (3) the e-mail system automatically unsubscribes both e-mail addresses (both the original and the forwarded recipients of the e-mail). Re-subscribing, as noted above, is easy enough; however, because these e-mails are intended for distribution and are distributed on behalf of the Co-op by the third-party MailChimp platform, there is little the Co-op can do to avoid the potential for someone being unsubscribed as a result of another party choosing to unsubscribe via the forwarded e-mail. It is an unfortunate glitch that the Co-op hopes MailChimp can soon fix.

Where else can information about Honest Weight be found?

Some things that aren’t included in e-mail notifications can be found on the HWFC website, honestweight.coop. For instance, a schedule of HWFC’s classes, lectures and workshops is included on the website. Some meeting information, including HWFC Board meetings and Governance Review Council (GRC) meetings can also be found on the HWFC website. Reports from committees and workgroups are located within the Board of Director Minutes. To access the Minutes, visit the Board Meeting Minutes page and click on the link labeled “attachments” to the right of each meeting’s date; this information is password restricted and available to Member-Owners only*. Other meeting information, including upcoming committee and workgroup meetings, can be found only in hard copy on the bulletin board located near the Co-op’s exit.

Thanks to the HWFC Board of Directors, Janet Sorell, HWFC’s marketing staff, Georgia Julius and the Coop Scoop, and the Co-op Voice for their great and ongoing efforts to keep us well informed!

*Member-Owners can obtain the password by contacting the Customer Service Desk (in person or at 518-482-2667) or Member-Owner Coordinator Janet Sorell (memberservices AT hwfc.coop).

Stephanie Conde has been a Shareholder of the Co-op for about a decade and a Member for about a year. She fulfills her member hours as a cashier on Wednesday mornings and as a staff writer for “The Voice.” Stephanie also works as an independent consultant, providing research, writing and editing services to educational institutions and others.