The value of the volunteer & the volunteer’s burden: Ongoing education

It’s overly trite to say that credit union business has become “more complex” over the last decade. Perhaps it’s the greatest understatement of credit union movement. Naturally that affects everyone in the business profoundly, but perhaps it’s the volunteers who are hit hardest.

Most of you are volunteer directors. Some today are compensated. Whether you do this for free or for pay, you need to bring value to your credit union. And your credit union needs you to keep ahead of the changing marketplace so it can survive and thrive. Every bank and credit union in the country is fighting to remain relevant. With FinTech companies nibbling at the edges of our business and attracting consumers every day, directors need to build Purposes and Strategies that will attract future members and retain existing members.  

I’m proud of the many years I have spent training directors and volunteers in our industry, in particular my time with the CUNA Volunteer Certification Program. I’ve been associated with this very rigorous program since its development. It addresses the volunteer’s burden in a very practical way, basing training on researched competencies, a comprehensive curriculum and a high level of accountability through the certification process. This is absolutely what’s needed, now more than ever to make sure that directors are able to help keep their credit unions viable and growing.

Sure the job used to be easier; it’s not easy any more.  There are tremendous opportunities for credit unions willing to learn and adapt to the new market demands. This means directors must be willing to push the strategy envelope and adopt an attitude of constant learning. The Volunteer Certification Program provides an avenue for that.

For as much as I like to tout the program, the curriculum, the instructors (a’hem), there’s another benefit that can’t be overlooked: the caliber of attendees taking this program. As I indicated, this program is very rigorous, and necessarily so. I have been very impressed with the many directors I have met in these classes. Some rookies, some veterans, and every one of them willing to learn and enthusiastic about credit unions … in order to do the best they can for members. If you’re wondering about whether this program is right for you, or a board member you know, consider not only what you will learn, but those you will meet in the program. The level of engagement is unparalleled and you won’t be disappointed.

It’s a joy for me to be associated with this program and its students. I’m tremendously happy that there are programs like this that address the volunteer’s burden in keeping up with increasing complexity, now more than ever. Every one of us should be learning more and working hard to make sure our credit union will be there to exceed member’s expectations for years to come. And when you are done, you can proudly display your Certified Credit Union Volunteer (CCUV) certification wherever you go.

Want to learn how you can become a CCUV? Attend CUNA Volunteer Certification School or enroll in the online program through CUNA Volunteer Certification Program.

Author: Tim Harrington is president of T.E.A.M. Resources, a firm that provides consulting, strategic planning and training to credit unions. From 2001 to 2006, he was the chairman of the board of a $150 million credit union in Tucson, Arizona. During this time, the credit union evolved from losing over $2,000,000 per year to earning a profit of nearly $2,000,000. Tim was also formerly a partner with the nation’s third largest auditor of credit unions, known today as CliftonLarsonAllen. During his years as an internal auditor, he gained a deep understanding of credit unions along with their problems and successes. Tim is a dynamic speaker with a knack for making complex subjects very simple.