Why is financial literacy so important?
Why should your credit union get involved?
What results can you expect from a financial literacy program?
Financial literacy has become a buzz phrase, but not an empty one.
We all know how important financial education is and, to be honest, there is a boatload of information that is already available on the topic. If your members wanted to educate themselves on all things financial, it takes nothing more than a quick search online. Hours spent surfing the Web for entertainment or shopping can be put to use to study finance.
But only if that's what your member wants to do.
And many of them don't.
Today's average member doesn't feel hungry for financial information, so there's really not all that much to be said for the financial institution that "goes the extra mile" to give members/customers financial education seminars, Webinars, tele-seminars or brochures.
Sorry, but I'm generally not impressed by these efforts. If no one else was offering it, or if the information was difficult to find or expensive to get my hands on, I might feel differently. But with the glut of information that is easily accessible and free, there's an overabundance of financial literacy information available for the taking. It's like trying to show how "different" your credit union is because you're not charging for the air your members breathe in the lobby.
Yet, is there a way to use financial literacy to show the credit union difference? Is there a PR angle we're missing that could be exploited to get your credit union, not only in the news, but to prove to yourself and everyone else (members, banks, banking associations, employees, vendors) that credit unions really are different?
Do what everyone else is doing, and you'd have to advertise to get the word out. Do what no one else is doing, and it'll take a single phone call to the press to generate media coverage, free, in the editorial section of the publications you're targeting. So what can you do that no one else is doing on the financial literacy front?
Here are some ideas, but don't stop with these. Use them to come up with your own, and by all means, share them with others right here.
So here's a thought: Do what everyone else is doing. But do it differently. Take financial education to a whole new level by putting a lot of things in very simple terms.
Or fun terms.
Play a game.
Run a contest.
Host a scavenger hunt.
And how will you deliver that fun, relevant, interesting financial literacy information to members? That's easy. Employ your newsletter to provide free financial literacy material.
This should be so simple that every credit union would already be doing it, but it's not. I can't disclose how many credit union newsletters I've evaluated where valuable real estate was wasted on rate sheets and loan applications. "But we have to include that!" is what I'm often told. I always respond with a simple, yet poignant question.
"How many of those applications come back to the credit union completed?"
It's not enough, however, to use your newsletter for financial education. The key here is to make it interesting. Financial literacy may not be sexy, but money certainly is. Look at Brass CU magazine, and how they market it as "the money side of life." Make your efforts interesting, fun, relevant—and you've given members something that will really help them.
In addition to regular, ongoing content and features, CUcontent.com brings you a financial literacy program you can deliver to members though your newsletter. Or, you can search the Internet for enough free information to keep you going for a very long time. Just make it interesting. Make it relevant. Make it different enough that members enjoy it.
Just as importantly, get your members excited about it. Find a member who is already excited about it, and have them give a media interview. It's not about "financial education." It's about financial education your members want to know about. Because that's the only way you'll generate media coverage for your credit union based on the good deed of educating them on all things financial. And it's the only way you'll show that there's something different about your credit union.
That difference? You're not throwing more information at them to puff your chest up and say "look at what I've done!" No. You're seeing to it that your member is financially savvy by cooking up the information and serving it in a setting that is so appetizing, it's absolutely irresistible.
Subscribe to CUcontent.com right now and make it happen at your own credit union. You'll get educated members. Free media coverage. A newsletter that practically writes itself. A newsletter that members actually want to read. All for less than $600 a year.