With total memberships of 110 million, credit unions have the potential to be grassroots powerhouse in Washington, especially when you consider the membership numbers of such lobbying stalwarts such as the National Rifle Association (five million) and the American Association of Retired People (37 million).
Adam Engelman provided an overview of the CUNA Member Activation Program (MAP), a critical tool in mobilizing credit union members as a grassroots lobbying force. MAP arms credit unions with tools to educate members about credit union issues and to activate them to call on lawmakers.
“The overall goal of the program is to inform and educate members on the credit union difference,” Engelman says.
MAP played a crucial role in helping credit unions spread their message during the Campaign for Common-Sense Regulation. Most recently, CUNA used MAP to activate members in support of the S. 2155, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act.
When creating MAP, CUNA surveyed 70,000 credit union members to determine whether they would engage with advocacy messages asking them to get involved. Members who received advocacy emails had a stronger bond with their credit union.
In fact, 82% said it made them want to do more business with their institution. The survey also found that the communications strengthened both member loyalty and share of wallet.
MAP is essentially “plug and play content,” provided by CUNA, on various political issues that credit unions can send to their members.
“We provide a template and credit unions make the decision of when to send them to their members,” Engelman says. “We contend that at the end of the day, you’ll get more engagement from your members than we would as a national association because nobody knows your members better than you do.”
Credit unions can alter and edit the templates as they see fit, he adds. “It only makes sense that the final political message comes directly from you.”
Engelman says credit unions uniformly have been pleased with the results of the MAP program. “Virtually no credit unions have said they wouldn’t use the program again.”