Do More to Grow Membership

This entry was posted by Monday, 3 January, 2011
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Growing membership is critical to all credit unions; after all membership growth keeps credit unions in business. While traditional ad campaigns help credit unions build name recognition and establish their brand, sponsorship and participation in community events and charitable activities can go a long way towards membership growth.

One credit union that has caught our team’s attention in recent months is Summit Credit Union. Their innovative approach to Do More by delivering “Random acts of kindness in their communities through do-good “summits,” has inspired all of us.

Check out videos from two of their recent events: 

Pretty awesome, huh?  Recently, I had the pleasure of asking Rebecca Gerothanas, the Senior VP of Marketing at Summit, a number of questions about Do More.  

How did the Do More campaign originate?

RG – We are always looking for non-traditional, innovative ways to engage with members and the community. About 18 months ago one of our team members saw a video by a group called Improv Everywhere. It prompted a few of us to wonder: what if we did something like that but our purpose was to do good for the community, to get members and employees involved? We spent some time talking about what that would look like and that is how our Do More campaign came to life.

How did you solicit employee involvement?

RG – The idea and the development originally formed within the marketing department, however we wanted the whole credit union to be involved (not just marketing).  We asked employees who were interested in being involved to fill out a short, fun survey in the spirit of “doing good for others”. We got a few dozen responses, and from there we randomly chose eight employees to join the team. Sometimes the whole team is involved in planning and executing events and sometimes just a few.

How do you come up with ideas?

RG –We hold brainstorming sessions. People on the team share ideas that they think:

  • Are unique and different;
  • Have a “feel good” twist;
  • Will get people talking; and
  • Help the community understand Summit’s brand.

Although events are planned on our end, we want them to feel spontaneous to our audience. We want to surprise and excite people!

How do you measure success?

RG – We ask ourselves: How engaged are people at the events? What is the general feeling? What kinds of connections were made?  Is there member and marketplace buzz and chatter? Are we seeing our actions translate to member growth? Website traffic? Traffic on our Facebook page? Is the local press covering stories on our events? Recently the Wisconsin State Journal did a profile of non-traditional marketing tactics and we were featured in that. We hope to have more scientific data in the future, but for now we are considering the buzz factor.

What has the feedback from members/the community been so far?

RG – We have received thank you notes and cards in the mail, comments on the phone and in person. Our members tell us that they see what we are doing and they like being a part of it.

Do you have any advice for other credit unions seeking to make a difference in their community?

RG – These things don’t have to cost a lot of money. We are very cognizant of the expense and we try to do things that don’t cost a lot of money (less than $500 a month). Another critical element is that we are engaging people in a REAL and genuine way. We aren’t just telling them what we can do; we are showing them what we can do. We are using social media to help people experience the credit union difference, and encouraging them to want to be a part of that difference.

5 Responses to “Do More to Grow Membership”

  1. Great article – and once again emphasizes the power of building advocates of not only one credit union, but the industry as a whole. Here’s a story that every credit union should be able to learn from…moving past the box we’ve put ourselves in as it relates to only building relationships between staff and members for a bigger share-of-wallet (I hate the word “sales”). By “Doing More” as Summit has – brings a new light and elevates them past the stereotypical financial institution (and whether you want to believe it or not, we’re putting ourselves into that stereotype with the banks with non-differentiated brands and same-old/same-old messages)of any type. Learn from it…it’s how you Blend Out…Not In. Great job Summit — and great job CUNAverse from being on top of it!

  2. Thanks Randy! We’re always happy to share what credit unions are up to.

  3. As a member of Summit CU, I always look forward to updates from the DoMore campaign. It gives me such a sense of pride to see the actions my credit union takes towards community involvement along such creative ways of showcasing it! The warm-fuzzy feeling I get when watching the videos is truly endearing, and even gets me a little teary-eyed with pride :)

  4. Thanks Brianne! And thanks for forwarding the videos on to me originally. It is so refreshing to see something like the Do More campaign in action… then to be able to speak to someone like Rebecca, who is obviously passionate about the campaign, makes it even better. I am sure there are other credit unions who are doing cool stuff like Summit… we just need to hear from them so we can spread the word on CUNAverse!!

  5. Daniel

    Simply Outstanding! I am inspired!


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