The Vital Role of Volunteers

‘There’s no such thing as too much education.’

July 28, 2014
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In recognition of volunteers’ vital role in the movement, CUNA created a Volunteer Leadership Committee in 2011. It’s made up of 12 board members from credit unions of various sizes from across the country.

The committee’s charge is threefold. It explores:

  1. Strategies to advance board education;
  2. Directors’ involvement in credit union advocacy; and
  3. Board succession plans.

And as of last year, the committee chairman—John Sackett of Royal Credit Union, Eau Claire, Wis.—also participates in CUNA Board meetings in a nonvoting capacity.

Directors today face major challenges as they strive to execute their duties competently, ethically, and efficiently, according to “Volunteer Leadership and Engagement: Best Practices for Credit Union Boards,” a new white paper sponsored by the CUNA Volunteer Leadership Committee. Education is more essential than ever.

“We have an obligation to do the best we can,” Sackett says. “There’s no such thing as too much education. The more you have, the better job you can do.”

The white paper addresses best practices that any board can adapt in the areas of advocacy, succession planning, and education. Best practice insights include:

  • Make advocacy part of a board member’s job description—and include advocacy among your CEO’s job responsibilities.
  • Form an advocacy committee consisting of several volunteer and management representatives.
  • Design a skills matrix to monitor competencies already present on your board and those you should add or enhance.
  • Create a pool of future board members through volunteer committees, associate directors, or director pro tem or student director pro tem programs.

If your board is in need of new ideas or inspiration, download the white paper at cuna.org/volunteerleadership.

ANN HAYES PETERSON is Credit Union Magazine's deputy editor.

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