Advocacy is the heart of a successful trade association. Conferences, social media, and community outreach are also important. However, without advocacy, membership simply resembles another social club. And just as exercise, diet, and sleep are important for maintaining a healthy heart, advocacy also requires an active, balanced approach that is focused on getting results.
Successful advocacy requires an ability to spot trends before they become issues, a persistent effort to keep on message, and wisdom to pick your battles. Above all is the willingness to listen to members, fight for feedback, and to keep members apprised on progress. After some time, advocacy becomes habit; habit becomes strength; and strength yields results.
DCUC’s annual Defense Matters Forum is both the culmination of the previous year’s advocacy strategy and the beginning of the new year’s campaign. In fact, this is how the Defense Credit Union Council got its start. In 1963, DCUC was started as a CUNA Council to understand and champion the unique issues of credit unions operating on military bases. Ever since then, DCUC has met ahead of CUNA’s GAC, just like other CUNA councils.
Last year, DCUC switched to a broadcast format ahead of the GAC due to ongoing concerns with COVID-19. We decided to try a new approach and contracted with Big Whig Media Studios in downtown Washington, DC to broadcast our advocacy update. We broke out of the tired Zoom format and had some fun along the way. It was a bold move which had the added benefit of improving our reach.
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