With all of the talk around credit unions regarding business model disruption, it seems the same conversation should flow to credit union chapters. We’ve all joshed about “Chapter Chicken,” the 50-50 drawing, and how the same colleagues we saw at work just an hour before are sitting at the same table – again. Perhaps, it’s time for some change at your chapter. If so, below are five ways that five chapters are disrupting their models to remain relevant for their members.
- Networking is the main reason people show up. A chapter in Texas designs meetings around networking for specific areas – branches, lending, sales, technology, etc. All are invited, but the focus is singular each meeting. Average attendance rose and membership grew, even though members do not attend each monthly meeting.
- Meetings don’t have to be the same. A chapter in Florida hosts one sit-down dinner each year. One. The rest of the meetings are mixed: early morning breakfasts; casual lunches at credit unions; and, a steak fry during the summer. For a twist, the chapter hosted a focus group of actual credit union members. Live, they heard exactly what members want.
- Trends and fresh takes on business provide the most value in programming. A California chapter teams up with credit union consultants, when in town. The chapter arranges for an education session during the day and a high-level conversation for chapter members in the evening. Chapter members get an outsider’s view followed by insiders’ discussion.
- Casual and active meetings appeal to young professionals (and all of us, for that matter). An alliance of Midwest chapters held several meetings at technology hubs in the city. Even more, the chapters created 20 minutes of “Speed Meetings” – five focused minutes with four new people on the same topic. Connections developed and new ideas were refined through others.
- C-level speakers attract C-level attendees. An Illinois chapter hosts CEO-panels, but also invites out-of-area CEOs to town for their take on the credit union industry. To encourage greater CEO attendance, the guest CEO leads a CEO-only session before the chapter meeting. CEOs gain value through discussing issues that affect all CEOs in the room.
The purpose of credit union chapters is to facilitate a community of professionals and volunteers. The chapter model requires just as much attention as our credit union business models. To continue adding value for your chapter members, mix up your meetings with intent. Your commitment to a fresh approach provides the kind of value that will drive demand for your chapter.