Richard Gose

Grassroots advocacy raises CU awareness

Breakout session teaches CUs how to cultivate locally grown advocacy.

July 14, 2015

A grassroots advocacy breakout at America’s Credit Union/World Credit Union Conference Tuesday in Denver showed how credit unions can protect and support their interests by involving members in advocacy efforts.

Grassroots advocacy is essential to the credit union movement, speakers said. Policymakers and regulators at the state and federal levels have the ability to alter the regulatory landscape, often as a result of working with those who are at the grassroots level and are most in tune with the issue.

The breakout session not only gave attendees a clear understanding of what a successful grassroots advocacy program looks like, it also helped them understand the role social media plays in campaigns, and identified effective tactics for mobilizing staff, volunteers, and members to promote credit unions at the grassroots level.

The first step in garnering members' advocacy support is knowing who your base is, said Richard Gose, CUNA's chief political officer (shown above). Twenty-three percent of members consider a credit union to be their primary financial institution, he said.

The more loyal members are, the more likely they are to advocate for their credit unions.

"When we ask members whether they feel like a member or a customer, those who considered themselves members were more ready and willing to help us," Gose said.

Chris White, vice president of government relations for Credit Union Central of Canada, also participated in the session.

For information on how to participate in member-focused grassroots advocacy, visit the CUNA Member Activation Program.