MAP CUs find success through increased member engagement

April 18, 2019

Credit unions that are part of CUNA’s Member Activation Program (MAP) continue to find success engaging with their members on credit union issues and priorities. CUNA research has shown 77% credit union members who receive advocacy materials are in favor of it.

MAP allows credit unions signed up for the program to go out to members on various campaigns with customizable messages and templates that can fit in with a credit union’s standard marketing materials. Recent campaigns have covered the credit union difference and providing information for credit union members to check their voter registration, polling place and other information for an election.  Just last week a campaign was launched to all MAP CUs to educate them on CDFI funds.

For Bethpage FCU, Bethpage, N.Y., a regular MAP campaign participant, the campaigns fit in seamlessly with their regular member e-mails, and regular outreach on MAP campaigns has been successful.

“We were concerned at first that our members wouldn’t appreciate the e-mails. The result was the opposite. Our open rate is terrific, our members ask good questions and have engaged positively in the calls to action. We have gotten very few complaints,” said Linda Armyn, senior vice president of corporate affairs at Bethpage. “The last time we got wonderful feedback and it truly reinforced that what we do is special."

Armyn says they always make sure to “put a Bethpage touch” on the communications. She says Bethpage follows the same e-mail format and branding they would with any member email, and they keep the messages short with links to additional information, usually on the CUNA MAP homepage.

Bethpage recently went out to members and asked them to share their stories about the credit union difference. They went out about a week before this year’s CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference.

“We try and reinforce the credit union difference often, especially the value we add to out members as a not-for-profit cooperative,” Armyn said. “Our membership is highly engaged and we thought, ‘Why not ask and let’s see what they think.’ We got nearly 200 wonderful responses that really demonstrated our members not only get the credit union difference, they embrace it.”

Responses Bethpage received include:

  • “I became a member because Bethpage Federal Credit Union is the only financial institution to come to our community. I felt that since they thought enough of us to come to us then in fairness we should come to them. As a former banker I recognize that community participation is the only way to insure we have financial services available to us that is convenient and who participle in the community’s efforts to remain viable. I’m all about the neighborhood and Bethpage has proven they are indeed good neighbors. I’d like to thank them for coming here and boosting our community.”
  • “I did not know it at the time, but Bethpage became an integral life line for my family's financial well being… in 2013 I was laid off from my job of over 20 years. This is when being a member of Bethpage became invaluable. You see, I had to take a very hard look at my savings and manage my money effectively. The credit union's ability to offer the best rates for everything, including loans became extremely important. I was unemployed for two and a half years…Stretching our savings and spending less or nothing on bank fees became our means of survival.”
  • “I was sick of dealing with the nonsense that goes on in a regular bank. When I walk into the Albertson Branch everybody knows my name and says ‘Hi’.  I refuse to let them call me Mr., and I told them to only use my first name. I feel like it's a race to see who can help me the fastest! I'm so happy I walked into BFCU 3 years ago.”

For credit unions not a part of MAP, Armyn encourages them to explore it as a new method of member engagement.

“I would say to any credit union: Put your own imprint on the message and give it a try,” she said. Your members will appreciate the education and invitation to participate. Remember people helping people goes both ways and our members can’t help us if they don’t know about it.”

Kari Rager, chief solutions officer for Family Focus FCU, Omaha, Neb., said they signed up for MAP after hearing about it at CUNA's Governmental Affairs Conference. 

"The experience for us has been very easy for us to manage and time around any of our other marketing messaging. The program is also flexible both in regards to content and timing. We see this as a benefit that helps the program work for a variety of credit unions," she said. "If a credit union was on the fence about joining MAP, I would encourage them to pilot the program with either their employees and volunteers or a select group of members.  The messages are a great way to provide education to credit union staff about the credit union difference."