National Youth Saving Challenge - Mentors

Hosting a successful Saving Challenge is rewarding when you know what you're doing.

The friendly folks below have all been through it many times and have volunteered to share their success stories and answer your questions. These mentors are eager to coach you through setting goals, planning, promoting, and reporting. 


MichaelMHeadshot Michael Murdoch, CUDE, CCUFC 
Direct: 503-728-6120, Fax: 503-728-3042
Wauna Credit Union

Top Tip: 

Children as young as three are capable of grasping financial concepts like saving and spending. Studies have even shown that some money habits are formed by the age of 7. This means that helping to develop lesson and goals for your young members should be taking place this very minute.

Ideas for a successful Youth Month:

  1. Hold a Financial Reality Fair at the local high school – always a favorite, it’s hands-on and memorable. Create your own or find one from the Foundation:
  2. In that vein, community outreach both draws positive light to your Credit Union AND helps people in your footprint. Host a free “How to save money” class at the local YMCA, town hall, or community center.
  3. Encourage elementary students to hold a fundraiser and match what they raise. 
  4. Take a look at programs like Biz Kid$, Bonzai, or EverFi. 
  5. Make it fun! Sign up for and host CUNA’s Savings Challenge; send out savings goal charts to your membership; offer rewards for young ones who open youth savings accounts; engage on social media with games and conversation.  
  6. Get your staff involved as much as possible – you will be surprised at how many members and outside organizations will welcome such efforts with open arms. The more handshakes and smiles you make, the larger the impact your youth events will have.  

Educating our younger members is vital in prepping them for the future. But remember, this starts from the top, so we need to be providing good examples by making responsible financial decisions ourselves. Kids tend to imitate what we do, so what better way to teach them than to “practice what we preach”.


      Karen Tegeler Karen Tegeler
      800-475-1331, ext. 8584
      DuTrac Community Credit Union

      Top tip:

      Give prizes for deposits: “I think making it fun for the kids is the most important part.  If they feel they are just putting money into an account and not getting anything from it – why deposit?  Most kids enjoy some small promotional item or even a drawing for tickets to the movies, a hockey game or the water park.” 

      Advice for a successful Saving Challenge: 

      1. Do community outreach. Host a “drive” to assist those in need. We’ve found that our “drives” are more successful when we ask members to donate items they want to get rid of (not have to buy).  We’ve done very successful on jean, VHS tapes, yarn and gently used shoe drives.  There are many places that will take these items…or places where you can recycle them.  (We’ve paid to ship items to companies to be recycled, reducing those items from going into the landfill).

      2. Make their first deposit for them. . On average, it costs between $400 and $700 to acquire a new member.  A promotion for anyone opening a new account with a $25 deposit, adding that they have to have direct deposit, payroll deduction or automatic transfer to the account, will receive a $25 bonus deposit.  You can place the bonus deposit on hold for whatever amount of time you would like.  You will need to keep a log of these new accounts so that you can remove the “hold”.    You can also open this up to existing members who do not currently have direct deposit, automatic transfer or payroll deduction asking them to set up and they too can receive a $25 deposit to the account.  Don’t forget disclosures would be needed.  Hopefully, these new or existing members will become life-long members and it only cost you $25 per member.

      3. Show off your awesome staff. Post photos of staff and members participating in the Savings Challenge to your social media, so others can see the fun.

      New York

      Rachel Carrick Rachel Carrick
      800-342-3086, ext. 1352
      Ascend Federal Credit Union

      Advice for a successful Saving Challenge:

      1. Set good goals. Have a strategy that considers several parameters such as the total year-end goal and the goals and results from previous years if available. If successful the previous year, we increase the goal set by 15 to 20 percent.

      2. Promote it well to entice youth and parents. Use giveaways and well-rounded communications to promote the month of April. We promoted youth month via direct mail, radio, email, statement insert, website, and multimedia screens in our financial centers.


      Joelle Hahn Joelle Hahn
      703-709-8900, ext. 6605
      Northwest Federal Credit Union

      Top tips for a successful Saving Challenge:

      1. Offer a reward for the deposit. We have a lot of success encouraging deposits by advertising a simple giveaway. We turn to the products provided by CUNA first (much of the work is already done for you this way), and we informally survey some staff to make sure the stuff we purchase is cool before we buy.

      2. Invite the kids via direct mail. Kids still love getting mail, and a postcard is a cost-effective way to get their attention. On the postcard, we often include a photo of the actual giveaway items they'll receive when they make a deposit.