Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: community (page 1 of 3)

Giving Back Has ROI, Too

Originally published on

Does your credit union give back? That’s a silly question. But does your community support program intricately tie in with member engagement?

A friend of mine used to work for the local chapter of the American Heart Association. After a few years there, she started her own company. It brings non-profits together with companies whose mission aligned with theirs. Essentially, she is a charity to corporate matchmaker.

At first glance, this seems pretty simple. Find company with money (usually through a foundation), bring together with non-profit which needs money. Now pay me a small consultant fee. Not so fast. It turns out, companies started looking at their give back campaigns differently. Instead of just “doing a good thing”, they wanted said good thing to do more. If we’re spending money, the thought process goes, why not have it improve employee satisfaction? Or serve as cause-based marketing to our current and prospective clientele? And charities began to have the same thoughts.

Just as two random single people are not necessarily a good match, the same goes between companies and charities. My friend learns about the core mission and motivations of every client before recommending a pairing. That way, everyone is more engaged, supportive, and excited about the alignment.

Take your credit union. Say you offer a need-based mortgage assistance program. Partnering with a pet rescue charity is fine. Woof. Meow. But imagine if you aligned with a non-profit which helps place struggling and displaced families into low-cost and subsidized housing? Their mission and that of your credit union are the same. You’re a match. And it shows with staff who are excited to volunteer and talk about it to their members (who are then encouraged to help where they can). Heck, some of those members might even be beneficiaries of the charity. Think of the legen-wait for it-dary social media campaign you could set up. So much good can be done for so many, and your credit union can grow in the process. I think it’s safe to say all the families helped by the charity would become members of your credit union. And based on how you treat them like family, they’re not likely to leave. In fact, they’ll probably tell their friends and family about you.

When you get out of the daily grind and remember why you exist, these types of alliances seem so obvious. And it can give your entire team the motivation to serve at their peak abilities. Giving back really does have an ROI.

Since this post is already too long, a future one will dive into some stories of credit unions following this path. Spoiler: Their staff and members love it. So does the bottom line.

April Fool’s – The Most Elaborate Hoax…Or Is It?

“With low rates, minimal fees, and a focus on the community, it has to be a joke, right?”

And thus begins the most intriguing post of the year.

Conveniently shared on April 1st, known world-wide as April Fool’s Day, an unnamed blogger drew all the wrong conclusions. Here’s a piece:

“…planning went deep, as one study found there to be thousands of these institutions across just the United States alone. Estimates put their total member base at 100 million, meaning that one in three Americans are a part of this intricate plot. Imagine the time it took to put this together! Not only that, but all these “credit unions”, as they call themselves, appear to work together. Through something called Shared Branches, a person can walk into a credit union they’ve never met and deposit or withdraw money…from their own account! And you thought Google went overboard with their April Fool’s jokes. A moon base? That’s nothing compared to a nationwide agreement of shared banking.”

They continued in this manner for another few paragraphs before reaching this gem:

“Oh, and there are no additional fees to do this. Tell me that isn’t the most unbelievable gag you’ve ever heard!”

This blogger proceeded to analyze how credit unions are not-for-profit entities, serving their community rather than a room of stockholders:

“Typical banking involves fees. It has to. How else can an institution make any money? With interest rates where they are, fee-structures are essential to maintaining a profitable outlook. But here they claim to be something called ‘not-for-profit’, meaning that all money made after expenses goes back to the members [emphasis original]. They call them dividends. I call it an elaborate prank.”

As you know, this blogger got it all wrong, and credit unions do, in fact, exist. Contrary to that perspective, they do work on a not-for-profit basis, and have at their core the best interests of their membership. It would appear that the unbelievability of these truths were too much for them.

Or, they were right, and the entire thing has been one enormous practical joke. Are you in on it? And, if so, can I make a withdrawal? As the blogger concluded:

“If, by some wild miracle, I am incorrect in these analyses, and credit unions are actually a crucial part of our society, then it is high time for me to find one which I can join. Only then will I be able to learn if the credit union idea is an intricate joke. Or, perhaps, the joke has been on me and the time and money I’ve spent in endless battles with my current financial institution.”

Happy April Fool’s Day, unnamed blogger. And take a look at A Smarter Choice to find a credit union for you. Also, watch out for those pranksters…it seems as if they’ll do anything to pull one over on everyone nowadays!

Happy ICU Day!

Today is International Credit Union Day.  First celebrated in 1960, it…oh, what am I doing?  You know all this already!  But were you aware CUNA has made available loads of resources to best embrace the spirit (and publicity) of the day?  Simply visit CUNA’s ICU Day site for sample social media posts, history, beautiful banners and quotes, along with links to charitable efforts and much more.  Below is a poster which sums it all up.

ICU Day Poster 2015 22x28

Of course, knowing you’re part of something greater can inspire an emotional connection.  Unlike baseball’s World Series, this International celebration really does span the whole planet.

Belize quote

Veteran credit union staff and members may remember when the first ICU Day was celebrated.  Talk to them to empower yourself and others with the true spirit of the effort.
Eisenhower quote

At the end of the day, you can bank anywhere.  Why should a person become a member of your credit union?  Sometimes, going back to your roots and looking to the past for inspiration can create a brighter future.  Happy International Credit Union Day!  I’ll be engaging with credit unions throughout the day on Twitter.  Join the conversation with #ICUDay or directly at @CUNA (their official account) and @JoeCUGeek (that’s me).

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