Credit unions are unique in their positioning – they are financial institutions with a community-centered vision. This hometown, local feel is something that should be included in your marketing efforts. Nothing satisfies customers more than knowing a business can walk the walk. Here are 5 community outreach marketing ideas for your credit union.
Offer Helpful Free Content
The coronavirus pandemic has done a great job showing us all that we aren’t as financially savvy as we should be. With this in mind, you can create and tailor your free resources and tools to target areas of need in your community.
For example, lots of people are refinancing in the wake of the pandemic, trying to save money and take advantage of the economic market for themselves. Your credit union could create, partner with, and share resources like a free mortgage or rent calculators, budgeting templates and tools, and helpful videos on a wide range of financial topics.
Providing and promoting free resources is a great way to build brand trust and give back to the community – both local and global.
Host and Highlight Contests
Social media contests are a great way to boost your followings and generate buzz and revenue for your credit union. And you can definitely do that as an individual business, but why not reach out and get involved with local or seasonal causes as well?
Hosting and highlighting contests that are true to your credit union’s mission, or dear to the hearts of your members, is a fantastic way to showcase your financial and professional empathy as an organization. You can run giveaways, creative or arts-based contests, social media and video contests, and more.
You can also reach out to other business owners and community leaders for inspiration.
Talk to Local Leaders – Find Out What Community Needs Aren’t Being Met
And speaking of talking to community leaders – why not let them give you ideas for your next community outreach event?
Many times, we create a marketing plan that works, and we want to keep running similar efforts because we know they were successful in the past. But there are lots of things that may seem less catchy or glamorous that still need the attention of the community.
A great example of this is prevalent in a story Scott Harrison, founder of Charity: Water, often tells. His charity, which helps bring clean drinking water to people in developing countries, was built on a model of transparency – everyone who donates gets to choose where their money goes – to operations (the daily expenses like paying employee salaries, buying office supplies, and the like) or to projects (this money goes toward the trips that actually build the wells).
While this transparency is amazing, Scott talks, in an episode of the Armchair Expert podcast, about how his “projects” bank account had nearly $800,000 in it, but he was on the brink of having to shut down his charity because there were no funds in the less-exciting “operations” fund.
This illustrates a great point about community and business needs: sometimes, certain needs can be abundantly met, while others are being ignored. The best way to combat this is to reach out to community leaders and talk with them. Figure out what they need. We see this all the time with homeless shelters, animal shelters, and food pantries – often, the most needed items or help are the least given.
Finding these gaps – and helping fill them – is a great way to raise awareness for certain issues and position your credit union as a trustworthy and helpful business.
Sponsor Seasonal Teams and Events
This trick is an old one, but still a good one. Having your credit union sponsor a local team or event continues to be a great way to give back to the community and boost your brand locally.
Additionally, you can choose to partner with another individual or business to sponsor certain events. And with so many events being hosted online, there are more and more interesting ways to get involved with local sports, celebrations, and more.
This can be done strategically – again, look for those gaps. Concentrate on building a balance between larger, multi-sponsor events and smaller events where one or two sponsors could make a huge impact in the event or team’s success.
Include Your Audience in the Decision-Making
Social media makes it incredibly easy to increase audience participation. It seems like almost every year, the Columbus Zoo is asking fans to help them name their latest animal babies like they did in 2020 with a new polar bear cub. When it comes to choosing between which events and charities to support, why not give your members and social media followers a chance to help make the decision?
This does two things. First, it gets them invested in the community outreach marketing that your credit union is doing. And secondly, it also shows you and your CU what causes and charities are closest to your members’ hearts.
Don’t forget about including your community when you are planning your next community outreach marketing events!
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