The Cochrane Dollar Project

Promotional - Items | Town of Cochrane

To create a very unique and inexpensive promotional item to replace other more expensive and problematic items (fridge magnets, postcards, brochures, lapel pins, even mugs and t-shirts) that are often thrown away, are the wrong size, simply collect dust, are too generic and therefore pointless, and that are not cost-effective in promoting our community and our local businesses.

By making the Cochrane Dollars attractive, we anticipated they were not likely to be thrown away but would change hands until they eventually returned to the cash registers of local businesses, pulling other (Canadian) dollars with them. Furthermore, the spreading of the bills would happen through individuals (both tourists and residents), businesses and other organizations, rather than solely at the expense of Cochrane Economic Development.
Effectiveness During the 12 months since the Cochrane Dollars began circulating, more than $26,000 worth has been put into circulation in the local community, in neighbouring communities and internationally. This amount is increasing by approximately $750 – $1,500 each month. Of this total amount, Cochrane Economic Development has sponsored approximately $3,000 and the remaining $23,000 has been purchased and spread by local businesses, organizations, residents and tourists. The page announces participating businesses & promotions.

In the past 12 months, the website has received nearly 10,000 page views, primarily from Canada, but also from the USA and from around the world. We regularly receive requests from around the world to purchase our Cochrane Dollars and our online store on the website is expected to be operating in the summer of 2018.

Media coverage of this promotional item project and the businesses in our community has been valuable. Examples of this coverage can be seen on the website at

Challenges and Changes Made
1. We have created an attractive online directory of participating businesses where Cochrane Dollars are accepted and, we expected this to be sufficient for most users. We have, however, found that there is a demand/need for a small print version of the directory that can be easily carried. We have started to print and distribute a very small number of paper directories from time to time.

2. We have found that the bills are very well received by residents and visitors, however, a larger number of the bills than expected are being held as souvenirs and in collections, simply because they are attractive. The board of directors of the Cochrane Monetary Foundation has started to look at ways to encourage more people to put their bills into circulation.

Target Audience
With this promotional item, we have primarily targeted consumers residing in Cochrane and in the immediately surrounding area within a 45-minute drive of our community. Secondarily, we are targeting tourists who are in the area visiting Calgary, Canmore and Banff and who may otherwise not stop in Cochrane. We hope to encourage them to stop in Cochrane for the first or second time by putting our local currency in their hands.

Project Sustainability
Rather than producing other generic promotional items that are often discarded, our Cochrane Dollars are expected to keep circulating and are printed on plastic for extended life. Furthermore, now that this project has been established, there are minimal ongoing costs, aside from website maintenance and whatever promotion is budgeted for annually.

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