Minnesota CUs Modify Annual Meetings to Draw More Members
Annual meetings are no longer conventional events at many credit unions. For example, three Minnesota credit unionshave strategically modified their annual meetings to meet the changing needs of their membership.
By adding an inspirational keynote speaker, a guaranteed one-hour time limit and cash incentives to its Annual Meeting & Member Appreciation Day in February 2013, the $596 million SPIRE Federal Credit Union in the Twin Cities welcomed a record-setting number of members – nearly 2,000 total, which represents a 40 percent jump from 2012, and a 1300% increase from 2009, the credit union said.
SPIRE is the first credit union in the country to incentivize annual meeting attendees, the credit union said. According to SPIRE, the credit union’s “strong overall financial picture” allowed the organization to provide a $25 cash payment to all attendees.
SPIRE’s annual meeting also featured a keynote address by Devon Harris, a motivational speaker and former Jamaican bobsled team member.
“We had a record year – record new members, record checking accounts,” said Dan Stolz, president/CEO at SPIRE. “We wanted to find a new way to share our message and to give back to our members, providing them with an experience that’s both informational and inspirational.”
The $35 million NorthRidge Community Credit Union in Hoyt Lakes, Minn., also overhauled its annual meeting in 2013 to combat declining attendance from previous years.
NRCC converted its annual meeting to a week-long celebration, involving all branches and staff in drawings, decorations and member education. Credit union staff focused on educating members – reminding them that they can help guide the credit union’s future as owners of the institution by serving on the board and supervisory committees.
The credit union also made its annual report available to all members who visited branches during the week, which provided increased exposure.
“We want to make sure that our members know what it means to be a part of the credit union – especially our young members,” said Winnie Koivisto, vice president of accounting and finance at NRCC. “We received a lot of really good comments from our members, and hopefully in the next year we’ll get some new people interested in being involved with the credit union.”
Meanwhile, the $85 million Minnesota Power Employees Credit Union in Duluth, Minn., has created a hybrid between the traditional and modern annual meeting formats, infusing its event with formality, practicality and innovation, the credit union said.
In addition to mailing personalized invitations, MPECU draws attendees together for a social hour prior to the meeting, conducts all official credit union business in under a half hour and wraps its annual event with a formal dinner. The credit union also offered free child care during the event with participating children receiving a kids’ meal and gift bag.
“Even though the meeting is in February and we have a lot of snowbirds out of town for the winter, we really have a good attendance,” said Nancy Hutchinson, vice president of marketing at MPECU. “It’s great to see the young families that participate – they are the future of the credit union.”