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South Bay CU employees show off their "Don't Tax My Credit Union" pride.

CUs CHARGE AHEAD WITH CAMPAIGN
updated 07/31/13 04:21 PM
Strong Support, But More Letters Needed
With nearly 125,000 letters hailing from California credit union members, the "Don't Tax My Credit Union" campaign's email blitz to Congress recently broke through the half-million mark on a national level as legislators return to their home districts for the August recess.

"Every single contact from every member counts," said Jennifer Oliver, CEO of South Bay CU in Redondo Beach, CA. "When credit unions can truly collaborate and bring a strong, unified message, we have a voice."

South Bay is just one credit union of 61 located in California and Nevada that have put their advocacy efforts into high gear, engaging members through email and in person. The "Don't Tax My Credit Union" message is being heard loud and clear, with Oliver's credit union staff wearing promotional T-shirts and spreading the word.

One of the credit union's window kiosks even dons a large banner that members can't miss, with a computer already connected to the national www.DontTaxMyCreditUnion.org webpage. That's in addition to the credit union sending emails, posting Facebook messages, and posting a video on its website.

"Our goal is to bring the level of involvement and understanding of what ownership means to our members—and in order to do that, we need to re-frame the messaging in a way that connects with them and makes them feel like owners," Oliver said. "We have to figure out how to make the notion of ownership real. If they truly understand this concept, they will easily rally to protect the structure that serves them."

San Francisco Fire CU is actively involved in its own initiative. Darren Herrmann, CEO of the San Francisco-based credit union, narrowed down his credit union's strategy to four areas: urgency of message, multiple communication channels, playing up the "Don't Tax My Credit Union" video, and gauging members' response.

"Communicating with members about legislative issues can be daunting to credit unions, including ours," Herrmann said. "That's where the 'Don't Tax My Credit Union' video has been extremely beneficial, and a great tool in explaining this issue in a straightforward and effective manner."

Emails, website postings, newsletter send-outs, Facebook postings, and "tweets" via Twitter have all been key to keeping members in the loop.

"When we update members every quarter on the state of our credit union, it's certainly out of the ordinary to ask for their help," Herrmann said. "But that's what we've done in regard to the threat of taxation. The response has been positive, with members ready and willing to support their credit union. I think they know we work hard to improve their financial lives, and are glad to lend us a hand in the rare instances when we need it."

If your credit union wants to engage its members today, visit the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues' Don't Tax My Credit Uniontoolkit webpage!

For more information, or to receive assistance implementing the campaign, email David Creager, the Leagues' manager of grassroots advocacy.

 
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