Houston credit unions, eying a need to recharge the league chapter system in Texas and perhaps elsewhere, are ramping up a low-cost e-mail and viral ad campaign this fall to expand industry awareness and advocacy on a broad scale.
The Houston chapter of the Texas Credit Union League has been using a variety of techniques, including a branded website, co-op e-mail blasts and Web video spots to reach a local market with a message tailored to bring in new members.
"From what I can gather, it seems unfortunate but there are many chapters that are fading away, and so we feel it is important now to invigorate the chapter network," explained Paul Withey, president of the Houston chapter and also vice president-strategic development/public relations at the $242 million Texas Bay Area CU of Houston.
Chapter leaders, said Withey, maintain the idea of spiking membership through the Internet and Web ads can be accomplished at reduced expense given tight marketing budgets.
To pay for that effort, which costs $80,000, the Houston chapter solicits its 110 big and small CUs for donations and also conducts a yearly auction of product and service prizes ranging from gourmet dinners to fishing trips on Galveston Bay to an Apple iPad.
This month the chapter is conducting, for the first time, its yearly auction online "so we can expand our reach statewide and raise more funds," said Withey.
The online auction contained on the chapter's website will help fund the tab on its "Experience a Houston Credit Union" website at www.houstoncreditunions.com, said Withey..
Money raised will absorb the cost of a series of e-mail blasts to potential members, combined with the "front page and all-day exposure" on one of the major TV station's websites.
The website auction ends Aug. 20 and precedes the chapter's annual Credit Unions Business Expo slated for Aug. 24 at Minute Maid Park in downtown Houston, another event that helps build chapter camaraderie and cooperation, said Withey.
"Now seems like an ideal time for us to raise credit union awareness and educate the public about the benefits of membership," said Withey.