Who Is Your Best Advocate?
By Sarah Waters, Vice President of Advocacy for Tennessee Credit Union League.
Advocacy is the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal. You likely advocate for different things every single day. You may convince your family to visit a certain restaurant, let your child’s school know how you’d like to raise funds for the PTO, or any other event throughout your day. You are an advocate each and every day, and probably didn’t even realize it.
You can take that natural advocacy in you and be a credit union advocate! Who are credit union advocates? They are credit union executives, credit union board members, credit union members – they are ALL of us! When we ALL advocate for our credit union, credit unions are the strongest force in the financial institution world.
Decisions and policies that affect your credit union are created and altered continually. You have the power to influence those policies and create the best outcomes for your credit union. Your best advocate is YOU being the best advocate you can be. How can you be a great advocate?
Be Informed. Being informed means knowing your credit union story. You know your credit union, your members, and the community you serve better than anyone. Legislators want to hear how you are serving their constituents, your members. In addition to knowing your credit union, keep up to date with current issues and what’s happening at your state capitol and in Washington, DC. There’s an advocacy professional in your state who’d love to keep you updated on the current issues facing credit unions; get to know them!
Take Action. Being informed is just half the battle. You’ve got to put your knowledge into action. The most important maxim in advocacy is that if you don’t tell you’re your story, someone else will and probably not the way you’d like. Get involved with your state league, meet with your legislators, and build relationships. Advocacy is a marathon, not a sprint. Email your legislators, go visit with them in their district and in your state capitol, and attend their events.
The credit union movement is only as strong as it’s advocates. Be the best advocate for your credit union and always tell your story.