Connecting With Members This Summer

Great content ideas to stay in touch

by Sheryl Gudelsky

Credit Union Management’s online-only “PR Insight” column runs the first Thursday of every month. Because of the July 4 holiday, the column is running one day late this month!

As your members enjoy the fun and excitement that summer brings – family vacations, neighborhood barbeques, outdoor activities – it is the perfect time to reinforce the value of their credit union relationship. Help your members make the most of the summer, whether they are preparing for travel, saving money for the upcoming school year or even looking to buy a home, while still managing their finances and staying involved in the community. Here are several ways you can keep them connected to their trusted credit union and their financial goals this summer.

Financial Support During Summer Travel

As many of your members take time for vacation with friends and family, ensure they know how easy it is to stay connected to the credit union, manage their finances and even pay bills no matter how far they might be from a branch location.

  • Promote online and mobile tools: Encourage members to sign up for and log into your online banking platform or use the credit union’s smartphone app while they are away. They can easily check their balances and securely perform transactions – a utility bill forgotten before leaving town, for instance, can be paid remotely from a phone or tablet device.
  • Share travel tips: As your members prepare to hit the road, it is a great time to provide valuable travel tips. Explain to them how to use a mobile device to locate ATMs or if they are traveling internationally, remind members to notify the credit union before they leave town and review how they can exchange currency and get the best rates.
  • Stay connected to snowbirds and sunbirds: Your credit union may have members who relocate for the summer months, so help them stay connected to the credit union. Reinforce the value of using online and mobile tools if they will not have access to a branch for a period of time. Consider sending these members an online newsletter that highlights local news and keeps them in touch with their community from afar.

Gearing up for Fall

With the end of summer comes the hustle and bustle of preparing (and budgeting) for a new school year. As families begin to purchase new clothes, school supplies and electronics before fall arrives, remind your members of the tools the credit union offers to help them plan ahead and track their spending.

  • Tips for college students: Many students in your community are getting ready to head off to college, making the summer a great time to promote your CU’s young adult account or credit card program. Be the source for departing college students to gain crucial financial knowledge and build a credit history as they establish their independence. Ensure they understand that moving away does not require them to find a new financial institution – encourage these young, tech-savvy students to set up online banking and use your credit union’s mobile app for ultimate banking convenience.
  • Get an early start on holiday saving: Does your credit union offer a holiday club? If so, as the mid-year passes, ensure your members know the programs you have in place to help them start saving money in plenty of time for the holidays.

Mortgages: A Great Time to Buy

We all know spring and summer tend to be the most popular times for home purchases. With the market picking up and interest rates remaining low, remind your members of the mortgage options your credit union provides and the benefits of obtaining a loan and working through life’s biggest purchase with their trusted credit union. If your credit union does not offer mortgages, you can still be a valuable resource for members. Point them toward credible real estate websites featuring local properties and tools such as online mortgage calculators.

Promote Community Involvement

Your credit union is likely involved and active in your community year round, so share the good work you do locally. Encourage members to attend a summer golf tournament you host or another annual fundraiser, or perhaps notify members of a fall event that’s on the horizon.

  • Philanthropic support: Share news about the credit union’s contribution to local charities – your connection to the community makes your members proud! If these organizations are planning upcoming events or need volunteers, let your members know how they can become involved.
  • Scholarships: If your credit union offers a scholarship, summer is the perfect time to spotlight your recipients before they head off to college or another opportunity. Inform your community of these individuals’ achievements and future plans while promoting the scholarship program to future applicants.
  • Employee Spotlight: Maybe you have an employee celebrating a 10-year anniversary with the credit union or one who raised money for a charity by running in a marathon. Share the milestones and achievements of your own staff in a summer newsletter – what better way to boost morale internally while showing members the type of people you employ to serve their financial needs?

PR Channels to Use

There are many channels a public relations professional can leverage to share helpful and noteworthy information. Regular e-newsletters can be distributed to your entire member base or can even be tailored for a specific group – young adults or seniors, for example.

Social media is a great way to engage your members; forums like Twitter and Facebook create a dialogue that is invaluable for receiving feedback and developing relationships. Do you have an executive who enjoys writing? Consider having him or her write a monthly blog providing financial advice that also promotes the credit union’s services and expertise. By regularly emphasizing the credit union’s ability to meet your members’ unique needs, you demonstrate the institution’s commitment to their financial well-being as well as the community they call home.

Your members’ financial goals continue year round – and so should your efforts to promote the credit union’s services. This summer, consider your credit union’s offerings, local outreach and resources that bring value to your members during this particular time of the year.

Sheryl Gudelsky is an account agent at William Mills Agency, the nation’s largest independent public relations firm focusing exclusively on the financial services and technology industries. The agency can be followed on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or its blog.