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Build a referral program at your credit union

Credit unions can boost membership with a refer-a-friend program.

Numerous credit unions, including Mission FCU in California, Prestige Community CU in Texas and Meritrust CU in Kansas, are gaining members through refer-a-friend programs. The Financial Brand estimated 30 percent of credit unions have similar programs. These promotions create simple and straightforward incentives for members to bring their eligible friends and family into the organization's fold.

If you're interested in implementing a similar program in your organization, here are a few things to consider:

  • Make the program as simple as possible to achieve a large return on investment
  • Determine the reward - and make it worth your members time and effort
  • Create a program with rules any member can understand and follow
  • Have as few steps as possible for members to complete, but have multiple referral channels - such as online and a mail in form
  • Define who is eligible to become a new member and therefore receive the incentive
  • Decide whether the promotion will run continuously or if it will be for a specific period of time
  • Determine what type of production, account or minimum deposit is needed to receive the incentive
  • Clearly state how the incentive will be provided to the current and new member, such as a credit to an account or pre-paid credit card
  • Make the official rules easy for members to find and understand online or at local branches
  • Market the program online and in person at branches
  • Focus on long-time and big members who understand your value - they're more likely to refer someone new
  • Automate as much as you can by sending out marketing emails at set times and using tools to track the members who have opened emails or clicked on information regarding the program