According to a recent member education study conducted by Callahan
& Associates and Financial Finesse, live workshops are the cornerstone
of most credit unions' member education programs . This is not surprising
as workshops are both extremely cost-effective and highly impactful.
They allow credit unions to show their value to members in a forum
that positions the credit union as a critical resource that members
should turn to as they make key financial decisions. There is no
better branding or positioning than a well-executed workshop.
In the course of licensing and presenting workshops to hundreds
of corporations and credit unions, we've amassed a great deal of
knowledge on how to effectively plan, design, market, and present
a highly successful workshop . Below is a summary of what we've
Who was it that said the first step to getting to your destination
is to know where you are going? Sounds simple, but this is the piece
of strategic planning that most credit unions and corporations seem
to forget. Before you do any workshops, get your team together for
a strategy session designed to answer these four questions:
Question 1: What are your key strategic objectives and how do
workshops support these objectives? Are you trying to recruit
new members, promote key products and services, or convert a greater
percentage of members to lifetime members? Any workshop that you
do needs to be designed to support your strategic objectives-from
the topic to the marketing to the actual presentation and supporting
Question 2: Based on your strategic objectives, who are you
targeting? This question will help you better define your audience,
which is critical to your marketing and workshop development efforts.
Question 3: Which topic(s) will be the most appealing the audience
you are trying to reach? The topics also need to support your
Question 4: Who is going to present the workshop? It is
absolutely imperative that you find a highly skilled public speaker
with significant knowledge about the topic they are going to present.
This may be one of your CUSO reps, for example. Or it may be a local
financial expert, real estate agent, or attorney. It may be a company
that sells workshops to credit unions and has a staff of highly
skilled financial planners that are trained presenters. But the
bottom line is this: A workshop cannot be successful if the presenter
is not a skilled public speaker or does not have sufficient knowledge
of the topic at hand.
Workshop Design and Presentation
Here are three key objectives to keep in mind as you design, select,
or present a workshop for your members:
- Members need to walk away from the workshop inspired to take
control of their finances and complete the necessary steps to
achieve their financial goal or solve their financial problem.
- They should also have a very clear idea of what they need to
do next. Far too many workshops cover too much information and
the participants leave more confused than when they first arrived.
The workshop should be centered around the information that will
be most relevant to them in their daily lives and should avoid
unnecessary financial jargon.
- Your members should be active participants throughout the workshop.
People learn much better when they participate in their own learning,
so the workshops should be as interactive as possible. Think of
the workshops as a forum where participants can learn to apply
this newfound knowledge to their own financial situations.
Surprisingly, there is little correlation between the costs you
pay to market the workshops and the attendance you receive. In fact,
it may even be the opposite. The key is to have a compelling message,
and to leverage the infrastructure you have already built:
- Give your tellers and CUSO reps flyers and have them inform
all members whom they service about the upcoming workshop.
- Put advertisements for the workshop on your web site, in your
monthly or quarterly newsletter, and around your branches.
- Give your SEGs workshop flyers, and ask that they distribute
- Include a statement stuffer advertising the workshops in all
statements you send to members.
In a nutshell, your mission should be to make it impossible for
members NOT to know that you are holding a workshop.
Workshops are essentially mini-events, and they are not easy to
organize and present. They do require a considerable amount of thought,
planning and most importantly, commitment. But, if done right, they
have the power to change your members' lives. Not a responsibility
to take lightly, but one well worth taking.
This article only incorporates summary information. For more information
on workshops, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Financial Finesse (www.financialfinesse.com)
provides unbiased full service financial education programs to over
300 credit unions and corporations across the country. Our award-winning
content and curriculum covers virtually any financial topic, from
debt to estate planning, and can be delivered in multiple formats:
live, online, and over the phone.