Credit union success is tied to the development of the communities they serve because credit unions are member-owned and operated, writes CUNA Chief Political Officer Richard Gose in CUInsight, which is why credit unions are a solution to rebuilding communities.
“With 120 million members nationwide, credit unions have a constituency that is representative of the U.S. population. That means the problems you solve for your members are struggles that many Americans are facing,” Gose wrote. “Our mission-driven approach to make an impact in people’s lives is evident in the data we collect, from the 32.4 million loans made to members of low-income-designated credit unions to the amazing work mobilizing over 204,000 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for small businesses. Those figures make for great talking points in letters and statements, but policymakers need to hear the individual stories behind the data.”
Though it might seem like a daunting task, Gose writes, legislators want to hear stories from their constituents because they show the human benefits to policy decisions.
“Many great credit union stories are overlooked because we aren’t sharing them broadly. Work with your credit union staff to make sure they understand why these stories are so vital. This is more than just creating a commercial; this is about taking community leaders, reporters, and lawmakers along with you,” he wrote. “Lean into the fundamentals of good stories – simplicity and relevancy – to bring those key stakeholders on a journey that takes them to the heart and soul of credit unions. There are many ways that we can master the art of storytelling.”
Gose recommends credit unions start by looking at solutions provided to members. Credit unions can also potentially approach members to share their memorable experiences. He lists several examples of video, infographics, op-eds, and more ways credit unions can collect these stories.
“Advancing Communities is designed to capture and share the individual stories illustrating how credit unions promote financial well-being for all through the voices of credit union members and staff. Upload your credit union story to the Advancing Communities portal and share it with your state League and the CUNA,” he said. “When we work across the system, the stories intertwine to form a cohesive narrative about how credit unions deliver on our mission to promote thrift and provide access to credit for provident purposes.”