The importance of pivoting to meet members’ needs

2020 was the year of the pivot, and many credit unions learned the need to be flexible in terms of the products and services they offered, as well as the ways in which they reached members. In an early effort to address mounting financial anxieties, many credit unions offered new products or services like hardship relief loans, skip-a-payment programs, and more. This financial support proved to be critical, and as we head into 2021, members will continue to turn to their credit unions for guidance and support.

As credit unions continue to adapt to meet members’ changing needs—especially during times of health crises or financial uncertainty—they must reimagine when, where, and how their members want to receive information. Below are some tips for you and your fellow leadership team members to consider as you continue prioritizing members’ shifting needs in the coming year.

  1. Be prepared to pivot: Members who were once visiting blogs or financial education resource landing pages during their lunch break or commute may not have the time to visit their credit union’s site as they once did—but that doesn’t mean they don’t care. In fact, it presents a unique opportunity to consider new methods of leveraging existing programming in a way that will ensure your target audience consumes your content.
  1. Start with a mini content audit: Before reinventing the wheel completely, take a close look at member feedback to any current programming and owned content your institution already provides to see if you can build off of it rather than replace it. 

For example, if your credit union has an official blog, start the audit by looking into the last six months’ worth of performance analytics. If you’re seeing a decrease in overall traffic, try to figure out why this may be the case. Are people still visiting the blog, but spending less time on the post pages? Are you seeing that some older posts are gaining more traction due to the nature of the subject? Jot down the top three to five trends you’re noticing, and use them as a starting point during your team’s brainstorm to ensure you’re addressing these trends head-on.

In addition to analyzing owned content performance, take a look at feedback on any of the credit union’s social posts. Do members leave comments on videos asking for more? Do infographics get more engagement than static images? Revisit the comments section to see if members have already told you what they want more of, and try to implement them as best you can. Taking a look at this feedback may spark some inspiration for you and your team!

  1. Conduct a quick member survey: If you don’t already, consider sending out a quick survey via email to your members to get direct feedback as to how they feel about their finances and personal finance at-large. Or, if you’re already planning to run a member survey before the end of the year, consider adding one or two questions specific to financial literacy. Members’ views have presumably shifted significantly since prior to the pandemic, so it’s a good idea to check in and see what personal finance topics they feel they need more education or resources on. Once the survey is complete, you can use the findings to tailor any financial education content you plan to develop in the new year with confidence that the content is relevant to your readers and addresses any needs they’ve openly expressed. 
  1. Find new ways to reach members: Relevant content is only as good as its ability to reach members, so it’s important for credit unions to expand their content platforms to reach people where they are. For example, PFCU’s Moneyline Blog focuses on providing education, tips, and insights as they relate to various personal finance topics, but with so many distractions these days, we wanted to make sure our members can still quickly access this content without making them work for it. 

To do this, we created Moneyline in a Minute, a social installment of the Moneyline Blog that offers the same valuable content in the form of brief, digestible videos on all of PFCU’s social platforms. Now, members and social followers alike can get a quick summary on the go without sacrificing any key insights or interrupting their normal scrolling. 

Ultimately, any program extension is supposed to help get the content you develop to your members in a new way, so you don’t necessarily have to flip the existing program on its head. 

  1. Do a trial run: The only way to know if something will work is to try it out! Consider executing a trial run before formally committing to a program for the full year. Use that time to figure out what the extension requires in order to be successful, and whether your team truly has the bandwidth to take the project on—you might surprise yourself! Thinking through the logistics of a new project can seem overwhelming, but once you start to put the pieces in motion, you might find it’s more turn-key than you initially anticipated. Plus, trial runs can help you tweak the plan in ways that will set it up for success.

2020 has been a rollercoaster, but as leaders, we need to stay vigilant in making sure our members feel like they have a real understanding of their finances and feel confident managing their money. Every credit union is unique, and so are their members. Taking the time now to think about how you can connect with your members in 2021 will help prepare you for whatever the new year has to offer.

Erin Ellis

Erin Ellis

Erin Ellis is an Accredited Financial Counselor at Philadelphia Federal Credit Union (PFCU) where she develops PFCU’s financial education curriculum, provides one-one-one counseling with members, and presents financial seminars ... Web: Details