Can younger members see themselves?

Nurture young leaders to get more young credit union members

One of the most common long-term strategic challenges facing credit unions is the member aging monster. It’s a topic we’ve covered quite a bit right here in this very blog. Of course, there’s no one magic bullet for attracting and retaining younger members, but there are a lot of possible ways to give younger members a credit union they can believe in.

One of the most powerful ways you can welcome more younger members is to make sure the culture, the values and the faces younger members see behind the counter and in the board room reflect their own.

It’s fairly rare for credit unions to actively work toward recruiting and developing future Board members and leaders. But it’s a crucial way to get in front of future challenges.

What’s your “board lite”?

An active, passionate, involved Board of Directors is one important key to CU success. But jumping right into a full Board membership is a big commitment and a steep learning curve. What other volunteer roles do you have or can you create to help people ramp up to more involvement in CU volunteering, get to know everyone, and start making a difference right away?

Members in their 20s and 30s are busy with their have careers and families, but maybe they’d have time to take part in an advisory committee, a special event working group, or a special purpose task force. Find ways to give more people a seat at the table before they jump into the board room.

Cast a wider net

It’s important to explicitly invite younger members and members from many different backgrounds to consider a volunteer leadership role. Let them know that they’ll get training and support they need, and that their perspectives will be valued.

And that goes for marketing and recruitment as well. Don’t just slap a small paragraph about Board nominations into your print newsletter. Make a splash on your website and in your social media — it’s a chance to get involved and make a real difference. Make it easy for people to apply or nominate online, and make sure the process is inclusive, not exclusive.

There’s a lot in it for them

There are a lot of benefits to CU volunteering. Serving on a Board or committee for a purpose-driven financial institution is a great way to do good in the community, build experience, make networking connections, and learn how the CU sausage is made, not to mention it looks pretty good on a resume. Don’t forget to market these career and life advantages to potential volunteers.

Hire and promote with the same principles

Naturally, the same things apply to employees as well. If talent development is a cultural priority top to bottom, your credit union will also be in a much better position to attract and retain the skilled employees and leaders it needs.

Brian Wringer

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