Credit unions rely on a strong network of volunteers to advocate for the industry, network on behalf of the institution, and strengthen ties with the community. An active Board of Directors is a powerful, cost-effective way to grow membership and increase business.
In her presentation for January's CUtv event A New Role for Volunteers, Patsy Van Ouwerkerk, CEO of Travis Credit Union ($1.6B, Vacaville, CA), outlined five key strategies to encourage active, powerful volunteerism.
Representation: Whether through charter conversions, SEG additions, or organic demographic changes, a changing membership should be reflected in the Board's makeup. Consider age, background, and length of membership – among other factors – when evaluating potential Board members.
Outreach: Ask all volunteers – from rookies to veterans – to share the responsibility of representing the credit union at community events. Recruit volunteers from within the community and the existing membership. Partner credit union staff with the Board to foster interaction and deepen relationships throughout the credit union.
Training: Volunteers need to know about credit unions from the inside out. Create a comprehensive curriculum that covers big-picture items such as the industry's history and the credit union difference as well as credit union-specific information such as organizational structure and operations.
Succession: An orderly transition is just as important for volunteers as for management. Institute an emeritus volunteer program to facilitate turnover.
Expectations: Be clear about the Board's responsibilities. Set standards for attendance, advocacy, and continuing education. Don't be scared to dismiss volunteers who are not fulfilling their duties.
To learn about Travis Credit Union's Volunteer at Large program, watch Van Ouwerkerk’s CUtv presentation below:
To learn more about how credit unions can best utilize volunteers, watch A New Role for Boards? Expanding your Reach in the Community through Active Board Member Ambassadors.