Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: business

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.

LinkedIn & the Real World

It all began with an update.

While checking on my LinkedIn presence, I noticed an important oversight. Though I’ve officially been President of cuZOOM, business cards and all, for a few years, I hadn’t included it in my profile. “No big deal,” I thought. “I’ll just get that added.” Title: President. Description: Blah, blah, blah. (I promise you we’re more interesting than that, but this isn’t a place for marketing.) How long? About 2 years.

“Congratulations!” “Congrats!” “congrats” These notifications greet me throughout the day on all my devices. What in the world? I don’t mind the recognition, but what have I done to deserve it? Besides being my general strapping self…yes, I know. Looking back, I saw the reason. Ignoring the time spent at company field, LinkedIn decided to notify all of my connections that I had a new position. Not only that, they encouraged each user to congratulate me. (Takes a bow. Thank you, thank you! No really, it’s too much. Thank you!)

These people are my connections, my dear connections. Didn’t they know I’ve been with cuZOOM for a while? Or is it such habit to follow the guidance of your social network? “Wish this friend a happy birthday”, “Congratulate your connection on their new job”, “Celebrate your buddy’s work anniversary with this $14.99 digital paperweight: Click here to buy”.

After a nice laugh, I clarified the situation on the post. Yet congratulations continued to arrive! It’s as if LinkedIn, in their infinite wisdom, exclaimed, “Keep the posts coming! You never know when you’ll hear from them again!”

It would be a simple update for LinkedIn to only show that notification when the date you started is within a certain threshold, say, 3 months. If I updated such that the post read, “Congratulate Joe Winn on his new position: Chief Ice Cream Taster, Ben & Jerry’s”, you know the response: “Congrats!” And I hardly ever eat ice cream! (though theirs is amazing)

So how well do we really know our connections? Can we even consider most acquaintances? People like people who are like them. People do business with people they like. How many of your LinkedIn connections (or any social media network) do you like?

Doing business online can become a faceless affair, far separated from the human element, even when we’re looking at a photo of them, right on the screen. Keep that in mind as you communicate with your staff, partners, or members. Details matter, big and small. In today’s fast-paced world of Twitter posts and status updates, those details can mean a loan, a loyal member, or even a friend.

Otherwise, you could be just another comment on this thread: “Congratulate your connection on their new position: CEO of Awesome at You’re Not Even Reading This!”

A Real Friend Helps You Move

When you need to get a couch from Point A to Point B, how many pizzas are ordered?

What about for a website?

We are currently in the process of migrating a site from its test server to a production one. There’s not enough pizza in Florida to make it seem easy. True, it shouldn’t be difficult, and content is easily transferred. The issue always crops up in “something else”. Whether it be a DNS issue, random slowdowns, database access struggles, a simple project always winds up being much more complicated.

Moral? Moving sites is a pain, and I’m happy it is, ahem, nearly complete.

Ok, scratch that, another issue cropped up.  Always an adventure!

Having a well-defined process for any project you undertake makes quite the difference in eliminating wasted time, as well as keeping you sane!  Of course, despite all your planning, things can still emerge unexpectedly.  Just remember to keep your focus on the business, and not in it.

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