Recap: Our First Year of Dividends

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The last day to receive your dividends is May 2nd.

May 3rd dividends will no longer be available. Be sure to come in store and use any balance you may have remaining!

Ok, so how did dividends go this year?

This being our first year offering patronage, we have learned a lot! From improving internal processes to external communications, we now know some areas that could use some improvement.

The basics of Dividend communication is to be clear about:

1. Who is eligible for dividends?
Active Members who shopped within the fiscal year and meet the minimum purchases needed to receive a dividend. Must be the primary account owner with proper state ID. Active Members do not include staff or volunteers.

2. How are dividends are dispersed?
Patronage is redeemable through the register as store credit.

3. How much will my dividend be?
This is a tough question because it varies each year based on our profits. We would love to provide a formula that everyone could use, but as it based on our ever-changing profits, we must wait for the determination from our CPA and the Board. Profits are determined based on our fiscal year; these totals are taken from September 1st – August 31st.

4. How long do I have to redeem my dividend?
This will be a 90-day period following the finalization of the CPA and the Board’s determination of patronage.

5. What happens if I don’t use my dividend before the end of the redeemable period?
After the 90-day period is over, unclaimed dividends will be redirected at the discretion of Sno-Isle Food Co-op’s Board of Trustees.

Some issues we ran into and hope to resolve next year:

While we attempt in good faith, to notify each owner of their dividend. Sometimes we are limited to one contact method, which may be out of date. This a big concern as this means we have no way to notify an owner about patronage or any future concerns with their account. We urge each owner to ensure they update their information annually, or when information changes, and to provide at minimum two methods of contact.

Our current system for ownership, lists one person as the primary owner. This is the only person able to receive the dividend. It is required that we check a valid state ID when crediting a purchase with dividends. While it easy to think of this like a gift card, it is similar to interest from a bank account. And as such, we have a legal obligation to ensure that the owner of the account receives the funds.

Total purchases for the prior calendar year have no influence on patronage. We take the total purchases from the fiscal year, September 1st- August 31st. This can be confusing and cause miscommunication. We do include this information on our FAQ and other Patronage Dividend communication materials. We will continue to communicate this through communications in store and online.

We do not send a Notice of Allocation out to all owners, only owners receiving a dividend. This is for several reasons; 1) in following our mission and principles - we aspire to operate in an eco-friendly and sustainable manner, 2) to reduce unnecessary financial burdens, and 3) to prioritize staff time to maximize benefits to the Co-op, owners, and the community.

Internally, due to pushing department contributions back to back - and immediately following an owner update reminder in store – we were pressed for time and had to rush the print shop. This created stress for departments and our vendor.

What are we going to do in the future?

We will increase our reminders for co-op owners to update information.
This had been done annually. We will increase reminders to quarterly and are looking for ways to pair it with fun incentives!

This being our first year, we all had to learn the ropes together. We appreciate all our owners adapting to the legal requirements to redeem dividends (being the primary owner and presenting state ID). We will continue to include this information on our print and online materials next year.

We will continue to mail out Notice of Allocation to owners receiving redeemable dividends.
Due to the reasons listed above, we believe this is still the best option for next year. If you would like your fiscal year report, we are happy to provide that information to you. We humbly request an email contact for this request, if possible.


Internally, we are now better prepared for next year – with timelines and fun excel sheets! We have included time allotted for revisions for our; data, notice of allocation, and print/online FAQ’s. Not to mention the frequent owner updates will greatly increase our efficiency with this process.

Thank you for learning this process with us! Sno-Isle Food Co-op owners Brocc!

We want next year to be as smooth as a pancake! We would love your feedback and suggestions, please email

How did you hear about Dividends?
We would love to know what communication methods worked. Where did you see Patronage Dividend information?
Leah Scates