Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: excitement

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.

Are You Recharging Your Services?

Originally published on

My office recently purchased some upgraded devices to replace aging computer technology. One of those which drew the short straw was an original iPad. Yes, the big heavy one made in 2010. Or, for kids today, “the iPad that doesn’t take selfies.” It still works as well as it did on release day, but it’s unable to keep up with the needs of our office. In essence, the world got faster, but it stayed the same.

During its later days, the iPad was hardly even being used. I had to leave it plugged in for 24 hours before it had enough charge to boot. Frankly, I’m surprised it even came back on. But, it did, and after restoring it as new, it is now waiting for me to figure out how to best embrace its capabilities. A digital picture frame? Perhaps. A mobile streaming music player? Maybe.

While it sat, the charge slowly diminished. The battery stayed strong for a while, then as dis-use took its toll, began to fall flat. By the time it had reached 0%, it was so ignored that no one even noticed. We never even saw the numerous low battery warnings.

Since you’re a regular reader of the Credit Union Geek, you know where this is going. Yes, to the credit unions!

Let’s imagine a new service or offering as this iPad when we first got it. When your staff is engaging with it, talking to members, and otherwise “recharging” the service, you find success. Members flock to the concept, management is happy, and the figurative charge remains strong. After some time, the novelty wears off, and it sits idle more often than not. MSRs don’t “charge” (talk about) the service, and the battery (performance) diminishes. What attracted 500 members a month now catches the eye of barely 100. “Is this service worth our continued effort?” the department vice president asks. Yes! If you plug it in and get re-engaged.

You don’t let your essential electronics sit in idle, wasting away valuable battery. You plug them in to recharge. It’s the same with your credit union’s services. If the staff isn’t regularly “plugging it in”, results will suffer and interest will wane. It’s how you go from a knockout campaign to a lackluster afterthought.

What’s the percent charge on your credit union’s services?

Disclosure: My company offers services to credit union clients. If our clients “recharge” the excitement on programs we have with them, I stand to gain a financial benefit. But isn’t that quite a stretch in conflict of interest?

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Are You Creating Members…or Experiences?

Mickey Mouse called. He insisted I return to the parks where I spent so much time as a younger geek. Especially Epcot. Of course, this time, he’s requesting that I run a 10K while there. Through World Showcase? Alright Mickey, I’m game.

It’s easier to stay on resort property for transportation and other logistics, so that’s been booked. What arrived as confirmation was beyond my expectations, but, then, upon thought, exactly what Disney would do.

A fabric jewelry box arrived in the mail, with the telltale embossed Mickey ears. “Guess Disney sent something out…ok, that’s cool.” Upon opening it, an even more prominent not-so-Hidden Mickey. A filler guide fit for a piece of fine art explains I will find a MyMagic+ flash drive as well as my own vacation details. Good thing, because my memory is entirely dependent on outside resources.

Disney Welcome Box USBWait a minute, that’s my family name on the booklet! Custom covers are worth a smile, but certainly they wouldn’t go further. I’m sure it’s the same booklet everyone gets when their trip is near…

Nearly every page is tailored to my hotel reservations, the exact dates I’ll be there, and even what the website will look like with my name on it upon logging in. You cannot help but be excited, eagerly awaiting the moment you get to pass under the Mickey-eared gates.

All they did was create a customized booklet, but by doing so, they created an emotional connection, an experience that leaves you wanting for more. Sure, their solution has high costs, but what can you do to produce the same feelings in your members?

To me, the best part of this package was that it arrived unannounced. Since I wasn’t expecting anything, I was giddy to unbox it, read through the booklet, and connect the Mickey ears USB drive included. There’s no question I am even more excited than before about my visit. In fact, the box is still sitting on my desk, since I’m so impressed with it. You can bet it will be saved as part of a memory collection for the trip!

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