Did you know that in the NBA, the home team wins 62.7% of the time? In Major League Soccer (MLS), that number is 69.1%. For many reasons, it’s easier to win on your home turf or court. It’s what’s called the “Home Field Advantage,” and it’s a power you can also tap into as a community credit union. In a financial landscape dominated by large banks, credit unions have a unique opportunity to differentiate themselves through deep community engagement and improving the member experience.  In this article, we’ll discuss ways to leverage your home field advantage as well as share with you how partnering with PrintMail can help unlock and enhance your results.

community engagement

No One Does Community Engagement Like Credit Unions

Whether by mission or location, credit unions have always enjoyed the perception of being difference-makers in the communities they serve.  The distance from decisions to the doorstep is often small, providing opportunities to help shape and support what is deemed most important and necessary to the communities we serve.  

Rather than answering to shareholder interests or Wall Street whims, credit unions have historically acted in ways that enhance and uplift what is most important to their local and regional constituencies. Being seen in the communities we serve helps build long-term trust and loyalty, allowing for positive experiences that turn members into brand advocates, driving growth and the opportunities for greater adoption of products and services.

Many credit unions pride themselves on fostering and supporting authentic connections between themselves and their communities. Growing and enhancing these connections can be done in many ways, including through educational programs, college sponsorships, and community-based charity for children, the elderly, and/or special needs groups. These connections can be built in-person or online, in large groups, or on a one-to-one basis.

If you’re curious to get started or supplement existing programs, here are a few strategies to help you solidify your home-field advantage.

effective strategies engagement

Strategies For Effective Community Engagement

  1. Event Sponsorship and Local Partnerships

In many areas, every weekend presents an opportunity to connect with the community in unique and meaningful ways. From sponsoring local youth and adult sports teams, partnering with schools to increase financial literacy, and hosting community groups and events in their facilities, credit unions can reach varied audiences quickly and easily by being where they find value.

Be sure to have plans to follow up on your efforts in place before setting out for an event. Think about your goals (is it simply brand awareness or are you hoping to open X new accounts) and then put measures in place to ensure your investments of time and budget are set to succeed. For example, collecting email addresses is good, but what do you plan to send them? When will you begin communicating? Answering these questions first can help ensure success. PrintMail can help develop a digital marketing strategy that makes sense for your credit union. 

  1. Financial Education and Literacy Programs

Few would argue the importance of financial literacy, yet approximately 63% of Americans could not pass a basic financial literacy quiz.  In fact, only about 16.4% of U.S. students are required to take a personal finance class in school. The benefits of a financially literate populace align with the mission of so many credit unions.

In terms of direct connection to the subject matter, few are more qualified than those who lead and work in credit unions to improve knowledge in our neighborhoods. Free workshops on budgeting and investing are just the tip of the iceberg, and the evergreen nature of the content means investing time in the development of curriculum now means you have materials for years to come.  

Develop programs that address the topic from multiple angles and in ways that are relevant to different age groups. Doing so can help ensure long-term opportunities to positively influence future generations to manage their money better. Kids especially remember the connections that are made between themselves and those who are actively working to improve the overall quality of their lives.  As a bonus, a recent National Retail Foundation (NRF) survey found that 87% of parents surveyed say their kids influence their buying decisions, so those connections you are making with kiddos could translate into new accounts.

  1. Digital and Physical Marketing Integration

You can squeeze even more goodness out of the two above concepts by ensuring they are integrated into existing (or new) digital and physical market efforts. The lowest bar and most logical entry point is simply utilizing your existing online properties to promote and encourage your audience to engage with and be aware of your efforts in the community. This content is easy to produce and can fill your editorial calendar with meaningful messaging that avoids the pitfalls of being “salesy.”

PrintMail offers direct mail services that complement digital efforts, and opportunities to integrate tools into your overall marketing are plentiful and run the gamut from simple to complex. Sending a mailer following up a community event where a new prospect gave you their contact information makes sense. Imagine adding a QR code to a landing page that features a highlight reel reminding them of the event and your credit union’s connection to it. It’s a simple step that could go a long way towards proving return on investment (ROI), and it can also help connect people to your social properties for future messaging opportunities. 


Where to Invest Community Resources

With so many opportunities to choose from even in the smallest communities, the biggest challenge for many credit unions might be which events to attend. Each organization likely has its own criteria for this choice, and factors can include everything from cost to cause.  

Events where employees have a direct connection often spur internal engagement and “ownership” in ways that drive positive results. It has the added benefit of sending a message to your employees that what makes them special outside of the workplace is important to your entire organization, As a side note, while the biggest events in your community might be where the fun is at, consider how smaller events can provide the opportunity for more one-on-one connections with the public.

Consider the possibility of opening up the decision process more widely by asking your members which events and organizations are most treasured to them.  Leverage social media or QR codes printed in monthly statements to survey and gain input. Keep a public tally and encourage organizations to spur participation in voting as a way of extending your messaging and branding even further.

(Bonus content: Creating Buzz: 10 Unique Event Marketing Ideas for Banks)

Tap Into Your Own Home Field Advantage

At PrintMail Solutions, we encourage you to explore the transformative power of community engagement as a strategy for differentiation and growth for your financial institution. PrintMail can be a pivotal partner in this journey, offering innovative communication solutions tailored to the unique needs of credit unions and their communities. 

Reach out to us to discover how our suite of services can enhance community engagement efforts, drive membership growth, and foster lasting relationships within the communities you serve. Be sure to subscribe to our blog for more great tips on growing your financial institution and get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation.