Community Service

How to Build Community Partners

‘The only ones that work are those where everybody gets value.’

June 14, 2013
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Federation Panel
From left: Jonathan Mintz, Robert Annibale, and William Bynum
 
Cooperation was a central theme at the 2013 Annual Conference of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions in Baltimore.
 
Whether it was credit unions working with other credit unions or with community organizations, partnership-building was top of mind from session to session and speaker to speaker.
 
The constant refrain led Federation President/CEO Cathie Mahon to ask, How do credit unions get started with community partners?
 
Jonathan Mintz, city of New York commissioner for consumer affairs; Robert Annibale, global director for Citi Microfinance and Community Development; and William Bynum, CEO of Hope Credit Union and its sponsor Hope Enterprise Corporation; offer this advice for creating effective partnerships:
  • Look for on-boarding compliments. Increase your visibility by finding a way to include enrollment of your services with the programming registration of a partner.
     
  • Tailor your products. Offer transparent and simple products and services that are easy for partners to explain and sell to their constituents.
     
  • Collect data. When partners invest in you, they want to see the return. Set up processes for collecting data your partner can assess, allowing support to continue and build.
     
  • Provide value. Understand what your partner needs, line up your interests, and find common ground.
“Partnerships are not easy,” Bynum said. “The only ones that work are those where everybody gets value.”

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