Dakota Credit Unions are Advancing Communities!
by Jay Kruse
Chief Advocacy Officer

During the Dakota Credit Union Association’s annual Summit that was held earlier this month in Sioux Falls, our President/CEO Jeff Olson announced the upcoming launch of a new CUNA/League initiative which has been dubbed the “Advancing Communities” campaign. Earlier this week, CUNA officially announced that the platform is now live and ready for your review and input.

What is Advancing Communities?

In a nutshell, this campaign is designed to reinforce our industry message of how credit unions are providing support to members and communities navigating difficult circumstances – including financial recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The economic and social impact that credit unions have provided in the past, present, and going forward is immense. More importantly, it’s crucial for our policymakers, elected representatives, and consumers to consider the difference that credit unions make. This campaign will be a powerful advocacy tool as we strategically promote credit unions' role in Advancing Communities to lawmakers in each individual state.

What is the goal?

According to the campaign, America’s credit unions provide $223 billion to the economy, over 1 million jobs, and $13 billion in financial benefits for Americans. In addition, the Advancing Communities website features state-specific data and statistics on how credit unions are creating opportunities for underserved populations, expanding financial services in rural areas, and helping families and small businesses thrive.

There is no doubt, consumers are more effectively served by credit unions than other financial service options. The emphasis of Advancing Communities is to demonstrate the credit union difference through the lens of community impact. Instead of asking lawmakers what they can do for us, we will show them what we can do for them and their constituents!

How can you get involved?

One of the ways this new platform is getting the message out is through first-person testimonials from credit union members sharing how credit unions have benefitted their lives. Nothing is as real or as personal as these true stories – and there are many to be told!

(Photo right: President/CEO Jeff Olson introduces Advancing Communities during the Dakota Credit Union Association's Summit earlier this month.) 

Sharing those stories in a compelling manner is a powerful advocacy tool, and that is where you come in. We will soon be looking for stories to add dimension to our unique North Dakota and South Dakota state pages. These stories will demonstrate how credit unions provide affordable financial services to more Americans – especially for underserved and rural areas. We can show how credit unions protect families from abusive lenders, help fulfill dreams like purchasing a home or starting a small business, as well as helping working families to achieve financial wellness. The most important aspect of the entire Advancing Communities initiative will be our Dakota credit union testimonials and success stories, and we will be asking each of our credit unions to participate.

Would you like to learn more?

First, visit AdvancingCommunity.com and become familiar with the site, particularly our two states’ individual pages. Think about members, employees, and businesses that you have helped. Would they be willing to share their story with a short video?

Then, plan to join an informational Virtual Town Hall on November 5th for more details. CEOs, branch managers and marketing staff are all encouraged to attend. During this call, we will further explain the importance of Advancing Communities and answer any questions you may have. We will have a tutorial to demonstrate easy ways to make a video, and we will share a sample video to give you a visual of what we are looking for.

Registration information for the Town Hall informational meeting will be coming soon! Meanwhile, please mark your calendars and be sure to contact Jay Kruse, Chief Advocacy Officer, with any questions.


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