Nine Tips for Totally Rad Youth Programs

Don’t wait to reach out to tomorrow’s members.

April 24, 2014


Today’s youth are tomorrow’s borrowers. Credit unions shouldn’t wait to build relationships with them.

Financial education can be the cornerstone of your youth-outreach program. Consider these nine tips for running a successful youth program:

1. Keep things fresh. That means regular updates to websites and timely, trendy prizes to get kids into branches on a regular basis.

2. Make it personal. Allow children to personalize their savings accounts, tying them to that special item they want, like an Xbox or an iPad.

3. Get in schools and stay in schools. Credit unions need to go back year after year and keep offering fresh curricula. Skip a year and a different financial institution might take your spot. Many districts lack financial education expertise, so they will welcome the partnerships.

4. Market to existing members. Parents hugely influence the early financial behaviors of their children, and their children form a captive audience—at the moment.

5. Don’t recreate the wheel. You can modify and rebrand many existing products and services to suit young adults.

6. Be age appropriate.  Expand your array of financial services you offer to children as they age.

7. Allow for mistakes. Give children the chance to make some real decisions—and maybe even some mistakes while the stakes are low, the supervision is high, and the learning opportunities and consequences are immediate.

8. Be ready to transition youth members into regular members. Have products and services that appeal to young adults. More and more this means mobile banking and a social media presence.

9. Participate in National Credit Union Youth Week. That's when hundreds of credit unions and their members take part in CUNA's National Youth Saving Challenge.

Last year, more than 117,000 young members deposited $25.2 million into their savings accounts during this national event—including 6,173 new accounts.

Visit our National Credit Union Youth Week page for more ideas.