Volunteers: The Secret Weapon of the Credit Union Movement

by. Rob Rutkowski

As part of my CFPB presentation, I talk about how credit unions can better leverage volunteers as a cost cutting tool.  I figured that I could put some more meat on the concept and perhaps get a decent post out of it, so here goes.

At one time in the movement, there were examples among credit unions of volunteers filling every role at the cooperative.  We had volunteer CEOs and member service reps in addition to volunteer directors and committee members.  What has happened to that spirit?  Is it a sign of the times as to how people want to spend their time?  Is it a failure of marketing to people by credit unions to get more people to volunteer?

If Clay Shirkey is at all right, people still have volunteer time available or as he calls it:  “cognitive surplus.”  If that is true, perhaps it is just a matter of wanting more volunteers and then marketing to members to become volunteers.

What can volunteers do?  I propose that volunteers can be rounded up into task force assignments in order to handle various regulatory requirements cheaply rather than by hiring a vendor.  At a baseline, they need to be at least 18 years old, bondable and a member of the credit union.

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