Awards for effective communications were recently presented to Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation by The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and Council of Rural Electric Communicators (CREC).
The cooperative was recognized with a top award of excellence for its newsletter, Membership Matters, which includes a monthly cover wrap the cooperative sends to members through the statewide magazine Carolina Country published for electric cooperative members.
Blue Ridge Electric also received awards of merit for: its New Member Guide, an engaging, informational piece sent to every new member as they join the cooperative; an informational blog created and updated for the cooperative's Community Leaders Council (CLC); and a patriotic photograph of a line truck taken during power restoration work after Hurricane Sandy knocked out power to 6,000 Blue Ridge members last fall.
“We're honored to receive these awards because they represent our sincere desire and efforts to serve our members through keeping them well informed in addition to providing great reliability and member service,” said Renee Whitener, director of public relations for Blue Ridge Electric. Assisting with the winning pieces were: G&T Communications of Boone and Gotham Images of Hickory for cover wraps; Paragon Design Group of Lenoir for the New Member Guide; Nick Greene for the CLC blog; and Grey Scheer for the photograph.
The annual Spotlight on Excellence competition recognizes the top-rated communication and marketing efforts by electric cooperatives and related organizations across the country. Electric cooperative communicators submitted more than 740 entries this year. Faculty members from the University of Missouri – Columbia, University of South Carolina and Ohio University Scripps-Howard School of Journalism judged the entries.
“The judges noted that electric cooperatives are being challenged to communicate to the people they serve in more ways than ever before,” said Carol Crabtree, administrator of Spotlight on Excellence. “Newsletters, news releases, websites, social media, videos, and other ways we communicate are more important than ever to keep members updated.”
CREC was organized in 1982 to advance the recognition, education, and professionalism of electric cooperative communicators and affiliated organizations. It is a volunteer association working on behalf of more than 4,000 electric cooperative communicators across the United States.
NRECA, which is the service organization representing the national interests of cooperative electric utilities, coordinates the Council’s activities. Other national organizations supporting the work of the Council are the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation, the National Cooperative Services Corporation, and Federated Rural Electric Insurance Exchange.
Blue Ridge Electric is a member-owned electric cooperative serving some 74,000 consumers in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Wilkes, Avery and Alexander counties.