News & Insights

Reaching Young Adult Members: New Data from Touchstone Energy® Survey

Touchstone Energy® recently partnered with Cooperative Insights to take a deep dive into expectations and perceptions of young adult members. This growing segment of cooperative members has historically provided lower satisfaction and engagement scores than other groups, and the study provides new insights for connecting with them in meaningful ways.

This qualitative online focus group study asked the opinions of members ages 18-45 from three electric cooperatives in Oregon, Kansas and Arizona. So, what did we find out? Here’s a glimpse at young members’ preferences for communication, community involvement and social media platforms.

Community Involvement
Community involvement is important to young adult members with the group ranking “commitment to community” as the most important cooperative principle. When asked how co-ops should be involved in the community, 61% of respondents said their co-ops should offer energy efficiency programs to demonstrate involvement. This answer took the top spot, followed closely by providing natural disaster preparation and response, offering youth development programming, and supporting education and local schools.

Only 3% of respondents said their co-op should not be involved in the community.

Communications preferences
Preferred communication channels varied depending on the topic and urgency of the message. Text messages were most popular for outage, high bill, and storm preparation communication, while email is preferred for general co-op news, information about programs and services and energy-savings tips. When asked how they want to receive information about rate changes, young adult members noted email, text message and direct mail as their top three channels.

Social media
Facebook is the most used social media outlet among young adult respondents, at 78%, followed by Instagram (53%), YouTube (47%), Snapchat (36%) and TikTok (32%). Despite the popularity of social media among members, six in 10 members are not connected with their cooperative on a social media platform. These data illustrate an opportunity for co-ops to connect with young adult members by being visible, active, relevant and engaging on the social media outlets they use.

To learn more about the survey’s findings – including information about knowledge and interest in co-op services, using an app to communicate, capital credits and annual meeting preferences, perspectives on the cooperative principles and the meaning of “membership,” Touchstone Energy® members can view the full report here.