Leagues and CUs Get in the Game

The goal is to make it easy for CUs to get involved.

October 1, 2013
The Virginia Credit Union League promptly joined the Don’t Tax Tuesday action and encouraged its member credit unions to participate. 
“Among our congressional districts, a vast majority have 200,000-plus credit union members,” says Lewis Wood, vice president of public relations and communications. “A number like that commands attention among legislators.” 
Entrust Financial Credit Union in Richmond, Va., made sure members were aware of Don’t Tax Tuesday by promoting it heavily on its two Facebook pages and Twitter feed. The credit union also posts stories about its community involvement and plays up the Virginia league’s “Quit the Hit” campaign that encourages consumers to reject banks’ hefty fees. 
The idea behind this multipronged effort is that the credit union tax exemption enables credit unions to give back to their communities and offer better rates and fees to members. 
“It all works together,” says Russell Sumner, vice president of communications and information technology for $73 million asset Entrust Financial. 
“Those stories come out of different perspectives but they have a similar message in the end.” 
Missouri also saw significant activity on Don’t Tax Tuesday, says Amy McLard, senior vice president of advocacy for the Missouri Credit Union Association. 
Sticking to simple messages was the key, she says. “If you put information out there and give people the news they can use, they can be the best advocates for their credit unions.” 
Social media works well for a campaign like this because of its “instantaneous nature,” notes Jenn Cloud, social media specialist at $724 million asset Vantage Credit Union, Bridgeton, Mo. “It’s easy to hop on and send out a message to a lot of people.” 
She thinks more credit unions will embrace the power of social media to convey the “Don’t Tax My Credit Union” message. “This is a good time to get your feet wet with social media,” Cloud says, “because we have an important issue to rally around.” 
The Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) followed up Don’t Tax Tuesday on July 23 with a “Tweet Tuesday” on August 13. The first event focused on Don’t Tax Tuesday on Washington and Oregon, given the looming Senate Finance Committee deadline for tax reform proposals. 
The second Twitter campaign targeted representatives who were home for the August recess. 
NWCUA has created “Truth Speaks” websites: nwcua.org/truth-speaks, a public-facing resource, and nwcua.org/truth, a password-protected site providing sample messages and facts and figures about each congressional district in the two states the two states. 
“We also have a marketing schedule that has a suggested activity every week,” explains Lynn Heider, NWCUA’s vice president of public relations and communications. “We’ve tried to make this a turnkey process.” 
The goal is to make it easy for credit unions to get involved, Heider says. “Social media has been a fun, effective way for people to reach out to their legislators.”