Credit unions can use this event-aggregating forum as a template for organizing financial services and turning community camaraderie into economic growth.
The amount of events and programs in Washington, DC, is overwhelming for a small-town Missouri girl like me. I spent my first two weeks here adding possible activities, mostly art exhibitions and concerts, to a huge wall calendar.
I wondered about the more intellectual events — such as lectures on domestic and global politics and economics — in a busy city. That’s when I found DC linktank. The website organizes lectures, discussions, and government meetings on topics of interest from renowned leaders, thinkers, and artists in a simple-to-use platform.
In DC, there are many of these events at universities and museums, but it’s laborious to read every newspaper and magazine in the city. Linktank offers all-encompassing and up-to-date information in one place. The website lists dozens of events every day and separates the events into categories such as international affairs and security, innovation and technology, society and culture, and business and economy.
The latter of the groups is the most intriguing for credit unions. Topics such as The Future of the U.S. Tax System, State and Local Finance: The Great Recession and its Aftermath, and Redeeming Economics: How Federal Budgets Affect the American Family offer insights into the economic market from great minds. Credit unions in the area can look at the website and try to get involved in the conversations. Your member-owners might be participating in these seminars, and it’s a way to understand what they’re thinking.
Credit unions across the country can learn from Linktank’s model. Bilaal Ahmed, founder of DC Linktank, thinks the concept easily applies to other markets.
For example, credit unions that offer seminars for their members and nonmembers on financial services can condense all these events into one area instead of posting one seminar at a time in different places around their website.
CUSOs or state-affiliated credit unions can work together toward a common website that lists all events in the service area or state. That’s the cooperative model at work, educating a larger community.
Linktank offers other features, including RSVP lists, that credit unions can similarly model.
Credit unions can use the RSVP feature to encourage more people to participate. And the more people that participate, the more people there are to throw ideas around about solutions to current economic situations. James Surowiecki, a finance writer for The New Yorker, talked about the advantage of group participation in a 2006 TED conference.
According to Surowiecki, groups of people can be more intelligent than the single smartest person in the group. He offers this example: The average group guess of the number of jelly beans in a jar will be between 3% and 5% of the actual number of jelly beans, substantially better than that of a single guesser.
Bottom line, credit unions are offering great opportunities in its community, the obstacle is marketing and participation. In today’s world people want everything in one place. Credit unions should strive to provide its members with just that and DC Linktank is a model for success.