From the merger of the Cornerstone League and the Heartland Credit Union Association in January 2023 comes the launch of UNITE, a groundbreaking grassroots advocacy initiative tailored for the five states now comprising the Cornerstone region.
UNITE is an acronym for the five pillars of Cornerstone’s grassroots advocacy strategy. Understand, Notify, Invest, Target, and Engage is the culmination of our collective mission, echoing the spirit of unity that underscores the League merger. This dynamic program replaces the former ROAR and STAND initiatives, uniting the best elements under a singular banner and embracing the aspirations of credit unions across the region.
UNITE is fortified by five pillars, each representing a crucial facet of grassroots advocacy that will drive our region’s credit unions forward.
Understand: Empowering Through Knowledge
“Understand” magnifies the importance of education within our community. This pillar encourages credit unions to partake in advocacy training to promote a comprehensive understanding of advocacy and its importance to the credit union movement. The training isn’t one-size-fits-all; it can be tailored to meet the unique needs of each credit union. Whether through regional training days, virtual sessions, or the onboarding processes, the goal is to ensure that every staff member comprehends the value of advocacy.
Notify: Amplifying Voices
“Notify” extends its reach to both members and staff. Enrolling in the Member Activation Program (MAP) ensures credit unions can efficiently convey information to members and move them to raise their collective voices for a resounding impact.
Invest: Strengthening Political Action
“I,” signifying “Invest,” brings credit unions to the forefront of political action. The Cornerstone League defines a political action committee (PAC) goal for each credit union, which is aligned with employee counts. The entire credit union community participates with a pooled effort ensuring funds are available to support credit union-friendly candidates. This reinforces the credit union movement’s voice in legislative affairs.
Target: Strengthening Impact Through Data
“Target” spotlights Project Zip Code, an invaluable tool for effective interaction with elected officials. By matching credit union members with legislative districts, we can share with legislators a visual representation of their constituents’ interests, emphasizing the power of credit union members’ votes and PAC contributions.
Engage: Fostering Grassroots Power
“Engage” epitomizes the program’s essence, urging credit unions to identify legislative champions within their ranks. This engagement resonates within the state and across the broader credit union movement. The power of grassroots advocacy becomes tangible at events like CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference, shaping the future of credit unions through a unified voice.
As we embark on this transformative journey, the credit union community’s support is paramount. The program is designed for credit unions, their boards, and even the dedicated volunteers who shape our movement’s trajectory. UNITE embodies the spirit of collaboration, the heartbeat of advocacy, and the promise of a brighter future for credit unions and their members.
Come by our table at ELEVATE: Credit Union Leadership Summit next week and learn how UNITE will blend perfectly with your credit union's advocacy efforts. Those who sign up for UNITE will receive Cornerstone's free guidebook ADVOCACY: The Path to Political Engagement.
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