Making the Most of Your Limited Resources to Grow Members

Attracting new members and deepening relationships can be accomplished by utilizing a wide variety of means and resources. Examine various strategic initiatives designed to reach specific member segments.


Every year, credit unions concentrate efforts on attracting new members and deepening member relationships, and certainly want to make efficient use of the resources that you allocate towards this. Clearly one way to accomplish this is to make better use of your capital and employee efforts and find out how to better reach your intended market. Implementing new approaches does not necessarily require that you allocate a large amount of funds or resources, and a wide variety of strategies can lead to results.

Women currently comprise over 52% of credit union membership and are a consistently growing economic force, currently controlling 75% of household finances and 80% of purchasing decisions (Harris Study). This important segment of your membership faces unique financial needs and responds best to a distinctive approach. One way to effectively deepen member relationships and attract new members is to specifically implement strategies that resonate with your potential membership.

Multiple Strategies for Reaching out to Women:

Educational Seminars:
Since member education is already a focus for many credit unions, offer presentations or seminars specifically geared toward women (in branches or online). Retirement planning is a topic that women are likely to respond to.

Form Partnerships:
Form relationships with women's organizations in your community. Many of these organizations hold speaker presentations and events that you can become involved with and usually welcome partnerships with positive community organizations. 

Staff Education & Training
Women face fundamentally different economic realities then men, which translates into unique financial needs. It is important that your representatives are aware of this so that they can provide better service to members (particularly important for financial planning representatives and branch managers).

Producing a quarterly newsletter provides an additional point of contact and is an opportunity to deepen your relationship with female members. You can focus on topical issues of concern and offer them sound advice on a variety of financial decisions.

Specific Website Content:
This requires some background development but clearly demonstrates that you are focused on providing the utmost service to your female members. A specific page can also provide a convenient location for you to highlight all of your related resources and services. 

Women’s Expo/Community Event: case study example
Participating in such an event is a great way to get your credit union brand out their in the community and presents a fantastic opportunity to reach a targeted audience to provide education, highlight your products and services, and build new members! There are many avenues of participation for these events: you can start out by sending a representative to attend, inquire with the organizers about presenting an educational seminar during the event, set up a booth, or organize the event yourself.

Specific Products and Services:
Example product opportunity: According to the Center for Women’s Business Research, women-owned businesses account for 30% of all businesses in the United States, have grown nearly double the rate of all other US business over the past 10 years, and account for 55% of new startups (over 775,000 each year). This presents a wonderful opportunity to develop a specialized services or products focused on small business accounts for women!

Designating a specific employee or unit within the credit union to specialize in women's financial services allows for some unique benefits. This person can establish relationships within the community, produce relevant materials, speak at engagements, run educational seminars, and become the point person to ensure that the financial needs of your female members are met!  

Appealing to female membership through a wide variety of means and resources increases your ability to deepen these existing relationships and attract new members. If you would like to learn more about targeting specific demographics, join other credit unions and a panel of female credit union members on February 14th for a live discussion about the most effective strategies for serving female members. Unique member research will be presented along with credit union examples of many of the measures discussed in this article.




Feb. 11, 2008


  • Re: Staff Education & Training - Omega Performance ( has some terrific new programs addressing these needs specifically. - check them out!
    Tim Atkins