Reaching millennials might require a different kind of social engagement these days. Not social media (I mean, yes definitely use that, too) – but social responsibility.

Did you make a New Year’s resolution to not talk about millennials in 2019? Well sorry but this age group is ¼ of the US population and apparently has the most spending power of any generation ever. 

But they’re more than a walking dollar bill – they’re smart, innovative, and highly motivated to live their lives in a socially responsible way. According to Cone Communications research, 70% of millennials are willing to spend more money on a product that makes an impact on issues they care about.

What does that mean for credit unions?

We all know the benefits of credit unions: not-for-profit, local, member-owned, lower rates on loans, etc. We market credit unions every day based on that type of messaging.

But what if credit unions weren’t just framed as the right choice or the non-bank choice, but the socially responsible choice. The choice that’s not going to just make an impact on your wallet, but on society. On communities.

A recent Harvard University survey revealed that 51 percent of young adults ages 18-29 do not support capitalism — that is a remarkably high number. And in this day and age, very little is seen as more capitalistic than a bank.

Keep things positive

Even though credit unions are frequently positioned opposite banks, it may do you good to…not talk about banks. Recent CUNA messaging guidelines suggest that it’s good to talk about why credit unions are the right choice for Americans but also recommended that credit unions not be negative about their competition.

And why should you be? Being socially responsible might have a certain dramatic cloud above it, but it should feel rewarding and fun. Achieve Agency found that millennials found “making a difference” to be personally gratifying. Tap into that! These are people who want to make a difference and as a credit union, you have the perfect outlet for them to do just that.

Big picture vs. small picture

You might be reading this thinking: “Yeah. I do all of this.” You think about all the work your credit union does in the community and for charitable causes. Which is great! It’s something that your members will love.

But that’s the thing: your current members will love to hear about that. Prospective members want to know the big picture change they’re enacting when they consider the annoyingly arduous process of switching from their bank to a credit union. So it may not be enough to just showcase that your employees volunteer regularly. You have to say:

You’re making a difference in the world when you choose a credit union. You’re strengthening your community, you’re empowering others to find better financial solutions and choosing people over profit.

There’s a case to be made for any corporation to showcase how they behave in socially responsible ways. The difference with credit unions is social responsibility is inherent to their existence. For a lot of people, the decision over where to bank isn’t a big deal when they make it (they signed up for Chase because there’s one around the corner). Credit unions have the power to show why the decision does matter and how you make it can make our society a better place to live.

This year, let’s use that power more often.