Innovative engagement with our members
Building on the fundamental cooperative principle of making a significant and positive impact in the communities MTE serves.
While the primary mission of the electric cooperative is to deliver reliable and affordable power, its secondary mission has always been to make a difference in the communities it serves.
In the 1930s it was going from community to community teaching farmers and homeowners how to use electrical appliances. In the 1960s we began working with local high schools in the Washington Youth Tour program. In the 1970s it was developing energy conservation programs.
The cooperative has focused attention on the largest community-impact effort it has ever undertaken with the formation of SharingChange which has now donated more than $10 million to local non-profits. SharingChange is also the avenue through which the cooperative assists worthy community causes and families in emergency situations.
We serve to make life better for our members through positive community impact. To learn more about how we are engaging our community, contact Jay Sanders for more information.
The Electric Griddle by MTE is a mobile food trailer designed to serve grilled cheese sandwiches and provide an opportunity to engage families in their regular activities.
Our presence at community events like football tailgates and food festivals allows us to have one-on-one conversations about new programs and initiatives while gaining vital feedback about members’ needs.
The first event was last July. Since then, the Electric Griddle has been to more than 10 events and served grilled cheese sandwiches to about 2,000 members. The sandwiches are delicious, but the contact we have with MTE members is the best part.
Our positive interactions with members create opportunities to discuss cooperative programs like the myMTEMC mobile app. It also opens the door for members to ask questions and offer suggestions. In fact, this idea came from a member’s suggestion in the Co-op Community Forum, an online forum where MTE members provide feedback and discuss a variety of topics.
The Electric Griddle is manned by MTE employees who volunteer their time. They are usually residents of the community we are engaging. Many times, members see a neighbor, friend, or relative behind the grill. This brings our communities even closer together. Just consider it another form of social media, because these conversations are genuine and beneficial to the member and MTE. If you see us in your community, please stop by, grab a free sandwich, and learn more about the programs your electric cooperative offers.
To learn more about the Electric Griddle or to provide feedback about your experience with the Electric Griddle, give us a call or send our community relations coordinator an email.
At Middle Tennessee Electric, you are not a customer but a member and owner of your local not-for-profit electric co-op. This membership provides opportunities to offer feedback to board members, leadership, and employees. One important feedback tool is the Co-op Community Forum (CCF), which involves a weeklong online conversation once a quarter with members on a variety of topics. Their participation lets us ask specific questions and learn about how we can better serve you.
Member input through the CCF has been important in guiding MTE’s improvement efforts. From the board room to our charitable foundation, you can see positive results of initiatives that were originally suggested by members. The Electric Griddle, which provides food items at community events, and the Tennessee Magazine Online are two examples of ideas proposed by members through the CCF.
The CCF is part of our commitment to improving member satisfaction and engagement. The forum consists of 75 randomly selected members that include people of different geographic locations, ages, incomes, and length of cooperative membership. Each forum member participates for one year before a new random group is selected.
The CCF is proving to be an excellent example of community engagement, allowing us to gather member insights, attitudes, and opinions through organic conversations in a moderated setting. In effect, CCF gives members the opportunity to partner with MTE in efforts to improve co-op services, programs, products, and future initiatives by giving direct input into the development of these initiatives.
The CCF is not the only avenue open for communication between MTE and co-op members. Feel free to give our community relations coordinator a call or send an email. You can even visit one of our seven local office locations to talk with our member support team. For any idea, big or small, we are all ears.
SharingChange is MTE’s charitable foundation whose sole purpose is to give back to the communities we serve. Members like you donate funds, with 100% of the donations going to local charities and organizations such as Empower Me Day Camp in Lebanon and Project Healing Waters. Since 2003, Middle Tennessee Electric’s charitable foundation has distributed more than $10 million to more than 550 local organizations.
As former Board Chairman Gordon Bone has put it, "It fits perfectly with the principles of our cooperative - to pool a small number of our individual resources to make a big difference for the community as a whole. So not only is it easy, it’s impactful.”
Grant funds have been used for things such as firefighting equipment for volunteer fire departments; life-saving equipment for ambulance or rescue squads; hospice programs; youth programs; food shelves; clothing, shelter, emotional support, and medical services. And this is just a sampling of the community programs we have supported.
In addition to the grants provided to local organizations, SharingChange also awards scholarships each year to local students. These scholarships are provided to members and their family members to help with the cost of tuition as they pursue higher education.