Volunteerism at the core of the credit union movement

April is Financial Literacy Month in the United States and Credit Union National Association, Credit Unions, Leagues, Credit Union Service Organizations, and system providers nationwide are espousing the great work our movement does in advancing financial well-being for all and, indeed, financial literacy for millions of Americans daily. In fact, hundreds of leaders from these organizations met at the CU FinHealth Conference last week to discuss how our industry can continue to collaborate and expand the positive, collective impact we can bring to bear.

April is also National Volunteer Month, and last week was National Volunteer Week. This presents opportunities for credit unions, as community-focused financial institutions, to highlight their employee and member volunteer efforts. Credit unions across the country organize special events and initiatives, providing opportunities for their employees and members to volunteer in their communities. A simple internet search for “credit unions volunteer” will bring many examples of credit union volunteer action.

Credit unions’ community focus is inherent to their mission of people helping people, and volunteering reflects the commitment to serving their communities. While the month of April is dedicated to volunteer efforts, this is something credit unions do year-round – from organizing charity events and participating in local fundraisers, to providing financial education to individuals, schools, and small businesses, just to name a few. Volunteering not only helps credit unions give back to their communities – often through causes that are deeply meaningful for that credit union – but it also fosters a sense of pride and belonging among employees and members. Through volunteer efforts, credit unions make a positive impact in the lives of the people they serve, improve the financial well-being for all, and build stronger communities.

This should come as no surprise, as credit unions are built on these principles. In fact, our governance includes volunteerism as an essential organizational tenet of the credit union movement. Credit unions are member-owned and member-controlled, and the governance structure is based on the principle of “one member, one vote.” To ensure a credit union operates in the best interests of its members, those same members elect a volunteer board and committee members to oversee the credit union’s operations. This approach reflects the cooperative values that underpin the credit union movement and is key to ensuring that credit unions remain true to their mission of serving their members.

At CUNA, volunteers are a key part of our structure as well. We rely on our members to serve in volunteer roles, including our board of directors, committees, and advisory groups. The input from these professionals plays a vital role in shaping the direction of our trade association and ultimately the industry. Their expertise and experience provide guidance and input on key industry issues ranging from political and regulatory advocacy strategy, engagement outreach, technology, and delivery channels, to educational areas of focus, product offerings and more. These volunteers’ contributions help to advance the interests of the industry as a whole and their gift of time demonstrates a commitment to the growth and success of the movement.

Greg Michlig

Greg Michlig

As CUNA’s EVP/Chief Engagement Officer, Greg leads the organization’s Engagement Unit, an internal shared services team which also directs interactions with the credit union community. The team ... Details