National Financial Literacy Month is recognized in April in an effort to highlight the importance of financial literacy and teach Americans how to establish and maintain healthy financial habits. This brings a nationwide focus on financial education and is a perfect time for credit unions to demonstrate their dedication and outreach in this area.
Several organized financial education initiatives can help your credit union expand involvement in and highlight your financial education outreach activities in April. Credit unions are encouraged to participate in the following financial education activities.
Credit Unions Support Financial Education: Leading the Way to Financial Freedom
An awareness campaign created by the National CU Foundation where credit union staff and members are encouraged to raise awareness and funds for financial education in April. The campaign will kick off on Wednesday, April 3, “Financially Fit Day,” a dedicated day for credit unions and their members to become financially fit with various activities. The campaign also includes an opportunity for credit union staff and members to “pledge their support” for financial education. The pledge will be answering a simple question such as “I pledge to support financial education by _______________” with a variety of options to improve personal finances and/or to support the campaign. The pledge form can be downloaded as a pdf document or taken and shared online via social media sites. Credit unions are also encouraged to include fundraising among staff and members for national and state financial education initiatives as part of this campaign, possibly with a casual or jeans day for staff. All donations from credit unions from this campaign will be spit 50/50 between the NCUF and the Michigan CU Foundation in support of their financial education initiatives to help consumers of all ages achieve financial freedom.
Participation ideas are included in a toolkit at financialeducation.coop, the website created for this initiative. Also included on the website are optional pledge forms and other campaign resources such as sample newsletter articles for leagues and CUs, sticker and wall pin-up templates, a sample flyer and statement stuffer, web buttons, and more to come. A campaign toolkit is available here.
National Youth Saving Challenge and Credit Union Youth Week
The National Youth Saving Challenge takes place during the month of April. It is sponsored by CUNA in conjunction with National CU Youth Week. Credit unions are encouraged to sign up now to join hundreds of other credit unions who teach youth the benefits of saving. Last year, nearly 146,000 young members deposited $28.5 million into their saving accounts during this national event—with 9,058 of these new accounts. For more information on the saving challenge see this CUNA web page.
This year’s theme for CU Youth Week is “Savings Sleuth, Solve the Mystery” and is slated for April 21-27. Through the CUNA website, credit unions can access several ready-to-use items to help show youth they can benefit from visiting – and saving at – their credit union. CU Youth Week will be the same week as Michigan’s Money Smart Week which provides an opportunity for synergy with both of these financial education initiatives.
Money Smart Week Michigan
Money Smart Week® is a public awareness campaign designed to help consumers better manage their personal finances. This is achieved through the collaboration and coordinated effort of hundreds of organizations across the country including businesses, financial institutions, schools, libraries, not-for-profits, government agencies and the media. These groups come together once a year to stress the importance of financial literacy, inform consumers about where they can get help and provide free educational seminars and activities throughout the week. Programming is offered to all demographics and income levels and covers all facets of personal finance from establishing a budget to first-time home buying to estate planning. The effort was created by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in 2002. Money Smart Week partners will host events April 20-27. Credit unions are encouraged to register to receive information about Money Smart Week and to plan on participating in a financial education event. Registration instructions and a registration link can be found here. To see the online calendar of Money Smart Week events, click here. For more information, contact Tiffany Butler, at the Federal Reserve at (312) 322-2920.
MCUL Financial Literacy Legislative Challenge
This April will be the 10th year that MCUL & Affiliates will help pair up credit unions with lawmakers for youth financial education events during National Financial Literacy Month in April. The Financial Literacy Legislative Challenge is a cooperative effort aimed at educating young people about responsible money management throughout the month of April. The challenge builds great relationships between Michigan legislators and their constituents in the credit union community while providing students the financial skills they need. Lawmakers will be invited to join with participating credit unions for financial education events in April in a school, at your credit union, or in the community. New this year, participating credit unions and lawmakers will be provided with a Biz Kids presentation kit including a DVD of an episode along with a printed lesson plan that may be used for a youth presentation. For more information about the Financial Literacy Legislative Challenge, contact Beth Troost, MCUL & Affiliates financial education coordinator, at Beth.Troost@mcul.org or (800) 262-6285, ext. 453.