Today’s consumers are constantly bombarded by marketing for financial services: checking accounts with notable perks, access to special debit cards with their favorite sports team’s logo on them, promises of cash incentives for signing up, and countless other gimmicks. These marketing ploys — primarily coming from for-profit banks — do little to create long-term, meaningful relationships with consumers. Instead, they can be alienating as consumers feel more sold to than supported in their financial wellness journey.
Credit unions can distinguish themselves by leveraging community engagement initiatives to forge long-lasting relationships with their communities. These initiatives are an opportunity for a “win-win”, both providing true value to your community and building brand awareness, reputation, and loyalty for your credit union.
Ideas for community engagement initiatives
There are more ways to engage your community than we can count, especially when considering different socioeconomic, geographic, and cultural factors that might determine which types of community engagement initiatives are the most impactful to different community groups. The following ideas for community engagement initiatives are just the tip of the iceberg of ways you can provide value to your community while spreading the word about your credit union:
A powerful way to engage with your community members on a topic that significantly impacts their lives is through financial education initiatives. Supporting members in building their financial literacy and confidence not only meaningfully improves the quality of their lives, but can bolster the strength of your credit union by preparing people to engage more responsibly with more of your products and services. Your credit union can help promote this type of healthy financial decision-making by offering financial education tools and programs to the community. As you approach designing your financial education program or selecting a partner with a turnkey solution, be sure to design a program that lets you maximize the way you measure its impact so you can leverage meaningful data and continuously optimize your offerings.
Employee volunteering programs
“Walking the talk” is a big part of what can endear your credit union to your community. So while your website and marketing literature may already tout the fact that you care deeply for your community, a way to show that is by encouraging or even incentivizing your employees to take part in community service projects. Some credit unions select annual or semi-annual paid volunteer days, where employees can spend the day outside of the office participating in some type of community service. Creating a culture of community engagement within your team makes them visible members of the community who can demonstrate your credit union’s values by helping their friends and neighbors through these types of programs.
Building relationships with students at local schools gives you a head start at building brand awareness with the next generation and helps young people build healthy habits for a foundation of financial wellness at an early age. Most students don’t receive financial education in schools and instead turn to family, friends, or social media to guide their financial futures. Offering financial education to local schools will help distinguish your credit union as an institution that truly understands what its community needs and effectively serves that value. This outreach helps not only cultivate a more financially literate and responsible society starting with its youth, but also helps create relationships with the next generation of members.
A great way to kickstart your community engagement is by partnering with Zogo, a mobile-first financial education tool that empowers and motivates your community members to create a practice of financial wellness in their lives. The award-winning platform is complete with gamified community engagement tools and an ever-expanding content library of 1000+ bite-sized personal finance lessons on a range of topics relevant to your community. Contact the team through the form below or request a demo to learn how our innovative, gamified tools can help you engage your community.