Credit Union Community Service Month Coming this October

Credit unions and credit union people prove their commitment to the communities they serve every day. Credit unions are there for those who need them most; not because they have to be, but because it suits their cooperative, not-for-profit nature.

This October, the Washington Credit Union League launches its inaugural effort with about 30 of the state’s credit unions (so far) to track and coordinate credit union community service efforts with a goal to quantify the good work they do, and then tell the world!

Participants aren’t changing what they’re already doing other than tracking resources used on the effort(s). This will help preserve credit unions from additional legislative or regulatory requirements of community reinvestment.

According to Kitsap Credit Union Outreach Coordinator Cathy Brorson, credit unions do a great job of giving back to their communities, but generally speaking don’t track the value of their efforts.

“Tracking community outreach provides the statistics and records needed to help fight back attacks from other financial institutions and the issue of community reinvestment,” she says. “It also provides proof that the outreach being done isn’t just a “warm and fuzzy,” amorphous thing, but a valuable and life changing component of your business.” 

Kitsap is one of just several Washington credit unions that track every aspect if its outreach, from staff time, to services, to actual monetary outlays. So sophisticated is the credit union’s tracking system that it includes a pre and post testing system at the high school level that shows the real human results of what it’s staff does to promote financial education. 

According to Brorson, at the end of last year, the credit union had statistical proof that student test results increased by 21 percent because of their efforts.  “That’s validation that our programs are practical and making a measurable difference in the lives we touch,” adds Brorson.

It is also a great way to localize the credit union story of people helping people.

Another major goal of Community Service Month is to help credit union begin tracking community outreach activities and assigning value to them. If you’re interested in learning how to do this and learning from other credit unions about how to start and track a coordinated community outreach effort, consider participating. It’s easy and you will learn about proven methods to track your efforts.  And, if you already do an October community service project; there is nothing to change program-wise.

Large or small, every credit union counts. By working together, we’ll raise the profile of all credit union community service efforts, which will distinguish credit unions from other financial institutions in the eyes of the communities you serve.

Contact the Washington Credit Union League Director of Public Relations David Bennett for more information on the program and how your credit union can participate. He can be reached at dbennett@waleague.org or 206.340.4828.

 

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