|Pam Melton is the NC Credit Union League Director of Political Affairs.
We’re ending the fourth week of the second phase of the Don’t Tax My Credit Union Campaign (DTMCU). Credit unions have done an outstanding job since the start of the campaign on June 3. To date over 19,300 emails have been sent to Congress.
Grassroots advocacy is extremely important and is a great way to get the attention of an elected official. We live in an age where Social Media is such a significant element to a strong grassroots program and provides a great way for credit unions to tell their story instead of having others tell it for them. However, certain things just can’t be replaced and traditional forms of communication are still very much alive and powerful. In-person visits and strong advocacy pushes, like the DTMCU campaign, are necessary grassroots efforts.
“In-person visits are beneficial to establishing relationships and nurturing already established ones,” stated Pam Melton, NCCUL Director of Political Affairs. “No form of Social Media or other type of advocacy is an impactful as sitting down and having a conversation with an elected official. This is why the League has focused part of our DTMCU advocacy efforts on inviting members of Congress to credit unions. By early September, eight US House members will have visited NC credit unions.”
Another powerful grassroots strategy is to activate your grassroots network when necessary. This is something that’s done only when the timing is critical. It’s also important to be ahead of any issue that you’re facing. “Advocacy campaigns, such as the one we’re currently promoting, are a great way for credit unions to be proactive and engaged in the political process,” said Melton. “In addition, credit unions are able to show members of Congress the potential strength that credit unions and their members have. Simply put, this translates into a significant number of voters that they certainly don’t want to ignore.”
As we continue to push DTMCU advocacy efforts, it’s extremely important to keep credit union staff and members energized. The grassroots efforts started immediately after realizing tax talks were happening so the process may seem long. However, all indicators are pointing to some type of legislation being filed as early as October.
Preserving credit union tax exempt status is the single most important issue for everyone. Unlike some other issues where the industry may have differing opinions, everyone can agree that credit unions are uniquely different because of their tax exempt status. Changing this status would significantly impact the ability to deliver the benefits we are able to offer our members. Therefore, it’s critical to continue with the DTMCU grassroots push.
“It’s easy for momentum to fade as the campaign continues but with so much at stake we have to continue making the case for the credit union tax exemption,” stated Melton. “In addition to continuing to stress the importance of this issue, there are things to do to help motivate staff as efforts continue. Whether it’s recognizing the branch that sends the most emails, giving away t-shirts or having a DTMCU rally day, I encourage you to explore ways to continue to energize staff and members so that our advocacy efforts remain strong.”
If you would like more information on the campaign or to discuss ideas to help keep staff motivated as advocacy efforts continue, please contact Pam Melton