Gen Y, 76 million strong, will play a monumental role in what is projected to be, the largest transfer of wealth in the coming decades. With the average age of a credit union member at 47, credit unions continue to struggle to attract younger members. It is imperative that we not only tap into this segment to add to our membership, but also for our leadership and especially for our volunteer base.
For a generation that wants everything here and now and thinks that a Facebook post is more important than a face-to-face conversation, we need to develop and harness the energy of these future volunteers. It will be detrimental to the future of credit unions if we do not understand and morph to meet the needs of this emerging membership segment.
How do we attract Gen Y? Not just as members, but as leaders and volunteers. The answer, well part of the answer is get them involved. A couple of ways to do this is by creating a young adult advisory committee, junior board members or just recruit Gen Y members to your board. What better way to move your CU forward and meet the needs of the generation that is in their peak borrowing ages of 25-44, than to have representatives from that group in the room when those decisions are made?
So how do you do this? First, identify internal staff and management that would be a good fit to reach out to your younger members. Ideally, they will believe in the movement and act as mentors. Second, establish the charge or assignment for these new, younger volunteers. What do you want them to accomplish? What role do you want them to have with senior management or the board? Third, using your internal champions, start the recruitment process. Use delivery channels preferred by Gen Y (Facebook, Twitter, social media) and ask them to step forward and volunteer for their credit union. Last, implementation. Once the three steps have been completed, put the committee or board members to work. Have them start fulfilling the duties of helping position the CU to meet the needs of a new generation.
This option is not the cure-all for tapping into Generation Y. Nor is it a guarantee for lowering the average age of our membership. But having members of Gen Y in the room when decisions are made or plans and promotions developed will include a new prospective and insight into the needs of a unique generation. Times are changing, our membership base is changing and we need to change with them to remain a viable option for our members.
Jason Mertz is an accounting and operations specialist at My Credit Union, Redwood City, Calif.
Contact 650-366-5522 x103 or email@example.com
The Cooperative Trust is a grassroots organization composed of several hundred young credit union professionals. Its activities include meetings, mentorships online collaboration and development projects. Opinions expressed are the personal views of the author.