Like any other aspect of a credit union’s operation, financial education initiatives must be effective, efficient and support the goals of the organization. Very real costs in the form of personnel, materials, planning and marketing can cause these vital services to flounder, especially in times of rising delinquency, NCUA assessments and economic uncertainty.
To help credit unions maximize the effectiveness of education programs, we asked for advice from leaders in the financial literacy field:
Dawn Ambuehl-Sadek, Community Education Director, A+ FCU: “What you really need to do is look at 1) Who are my existing members? and 2) Who are the members that I want? Then, what is it specifically in financial education or personal finance that they need or want? Start one at a time. I started with seminars, built that program, then moved into the online, social media channel. It is a long process. There is more we can do, but you have to start with one thing, perfect it, then move on to the next.”
Leo MacNeil, SVP of Community Relations, HarborOne CU: “During these challenging economic times, collaboration is essential to effective community outreach and success. While this has always been so, this painful recession has forced most community-based organizations to find synergy through collaboration and reduce the cost of redundancies in services. HarborOne Credit Union, through its MultiCultural Banking Center and other initiatives, has been a leader in bringing agencies together for a creative and effective discourse on the benefits of collaboration. They, we, and most importantly the members of the communities we serve, have benefited.”
Morgan Vandagriff, co-founder of Banzai financial literacy tool: “Build a marketing campaign around your program. Strengthen your brand by letting the world know about your new program! Consider adding a new section to your website, include fliers with statement mailings and make a local media buy. Your initiative will almost certainly be of interest to area newspapers and television stations. Send a press release to area business editors.”
“There is a ‘halo effect’ surrounding education programs, which you can use to strengthen your brand and attract new members throughout the community. If you aren’t comfortable organizing an advertising and PR campaign of this scope, consider retaining the services of a marketing firm specializing in working with credit unions.”