In 2004, the U.S. Senate passed Resolution 316, recognizing April as National Financial Literacy Month to “raise public awareness about the importance of personal financial education in the United States and the serious consequences that may result from a lack of understanding about personal finances.”
So what better time for time for credit unions to celebrate financial literacy?!
Observing Financial Literacy Month
Throughout the month of April financial literacy achievements can be highlighted on websites, in social media posts, through lobby displays, and in printed materials.
Credit unions’ efforts to enhance financial literacy create the perfect opportunity to highlight that the credit union movement is all about helping members and the community through financial education and bolsters the movement’s claim to nonprofit status.
Financial Education Inventory
Start by creating a list of all the ways that your credit union enhances the financial literacy of its members and within the community you serve. Do you have special programs for young members? That would include workshops, special savings programs, student branches, and the like.
How about adult financial education? Do you offer financial counseling? Does your website include tools to help members budget? Do you link to financial calculator resources? Do you have a financial literacy blog?
Do you support financial literacy through your local credit union foundation or other related nonprofits? Do you provide guest speakers for community groups? Schools? Scouts?
List all you do to enhance the financial literacy of your members and community.
Now take that financial education inventory you’ve created and promote those programs. Let your members know how you are a valuable partner in their own quest for financial independence. Be proud of the fact that you support the major core value of the credit union movement!
Credit unions in Maryland and the District of Columbia have partnered with their local nonprofit, the CU Foundation MD|DC, to take their Financial Literacy Month observance to another level.
The Foundation provides resources for the credit unions it serves to help them celebrate Financial Literacy Month. Among the items freely available are:
- Sample newsletter articles
- “Smart Money” artwork
- Lobby posters
- Member placards
- Financial Literacy Month stickers for members
The Foundation supports a variety of financial literacy grants and programs for credit unions and their members and has structured a Financial Literacy Month observance that allows members to join in the celebration and make small pledges in support of those programs and grants.
Contributing members, many making deductible donations as small as $1, are given “I Support Financial Literacy” stickers to wear. They are also provided small donor cards on which members write their names and post them in their local branch showing their support for financial literacy.
Credit unions even compete with each other to win the “Financial Literacy Month Credit Union of the Year Golden Piggy Bank Trophy.”
The Foundation’s Financial Literacy Month observance program is available for review on their website at www.cufound.org/finlit
So, come on, wave your financial education flag and pull out all the stops to celebrate National Financial Literacy Month in April – it will be here before you know it!