A week dedicated to youth by America’s credit unions.Credit union youth week sounds great. But what does it really do for your credit union?Youth week is a brilliant mechanism for credit unions if it’s used properly. Handing out prizes and entertaining members with games is a good way to bring in members. Members will come, their children will have a good time, it’ll be a nice day, but they’ll move on. You’ll get a few new members that open a youth account for their child; maybe they’ll add to it over the next few months, maybe they won’t.The week should be used as a platform to bring members in and most importantly get them to come back. Use the week to start a promotion for new members that open a youth account. Give a prize to the member that makes the most deposits into the new account.A lot of the activities during the week are aimed at children under the age of 12. Youth week is for anyone under the age of 18. This includes a group that is arguably the most important part of Gen Y to target right now.These high school students are going to need student loans, a car loan or just help figuring out how to manage their money before they go off to college. It’s been repeated many times, if you develop a relationship with them now they’ll come back for another car loan or a first mortgage.Don’t get me wrong-youth under the age of 12 are still an extremely important target group, the younger you can get a member to open an account the better, but activities for the older age group during this week were few and far between.One innovative project taking place during youth week was a program involving credit unions and musicstream LIVE. As part of youth week Novartis Credit Union, in Basking Ridge, N.J., held a concert featuring activities and financial education programs for three age groups: children age 6-10, 10-14 and 14-18. One part of the event was a panel of college students offering advice to attendees on college issues. Doing a panel like that establishes a connection with members that they’re going to remember and will make them come back to the credit union.Youth week provides the basis for connecting with young members, but it’s up to your individual credit union to take it above and beyond to really do something that’s going to benefit members and your credit union in the long term.–[email protected]

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