Christopher Morris

Strategic Philanthropy Is Good Marketing

CUs can grow and thrive by marketing their cooperative principles.

March 21, 2016

Since doing good is second nature for them, credit unions sometimes forget to leverage their good deeds in their marketing campaigns.

That’s a mistake, says Christopher Morris, communications director for the National Credit Union Foundation, told CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Conference attendees Monday in Anaheim, Calif.

Morris encouraged credit unions to do well by doing good.

The Foundation promotes the idea of strategic philanthropy, which suggests credit unions’ charitable contributions and outreach activities should align with and advance their guiding philosophy of helping members improve their financial well-being.

To put mission into action, Morris suggests that credit unions:

  • Become part of the strategic architecture of your communities’ financial literacy efforts;

  • Work with community partners such as nonprofits, local government agencies, and other cooperatives;

  • Have a full-time community outreach professional on staff;

  • Hold a “Member Appreciation Day” that focuses on financial wellness;

  • Conduct financial education seminars in nontraditional places, such as youth detention centers, housing expos, and health fairs;

  • Sponsor a “work-ready” certification program that teaches important skills that are essential for a student’s success in the workplace; and

  • Bring financial programs to the community at community events and on local television.

The Foundation recently released a Credit Union Philanthropy and Foundation Toolkit to assist credit unions with charitable and outreach activities, as well as operating or starting their own foundation.