MADISON, Wis. (7/12/10)--Both credit unions and worthy nonprofits benefit when people learn more about the causes supported by credit unions, according to a new CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council white paper. “Public Relations and Cause Marketing” is based on information gathered from marketing and public relations professionals at six credit unions, three credit union leagues and Children’s Miracle Network, which credit unions actively support through fundraisers. In addition to the case studies, the paper defines public relations, explains media outreach and provides tips for credit unions to tout the credit union difference. The white paper also explores how credit unions can use the “soft” public relations approach to overcome barriers created by “hard” marketing and advertising. “Hard” approaches are often greeted with skepticism by cynical consumers. “Consumers have so many choices about who they’re going to do business with,” said Patti Barrow, vice president of marketing for $5.3 billion-asset Suncoast Schools FCU, Tampa, Fla. “We believe that people prefer to do business with organizations that are good community citizens and have values that are aligned with their values. It really does round out how you conduct yourself and how you go about getting more business and how you interact with the community.” The paper examines:
* Children’s Miracle Network and Credit Unions for Kids, including the regional fundraising efforts of credit unions in Oregon and southwest Washington; * Suncoast Schools FCU’s Suncoast for Kids Foundation, which donates a portion of interchange revenues from signature-based debit card transactions to support causes that benefit children; * Missouri credit unions’ support for the Home For Our Troops project, which builds specially adapted homes for people wounded in the military; and * The “Big Give” project created by First American CU, Beloit, Wis., as part of its leadership training program.