Are you an agent of change?

"Former vice president Al Gore will launch a three-year, $300 million campaign Wednesday aimed at mobilizing Americans to push for aggressive reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, a move that ranks as one of the most ambitious and costly public advocacy campaigns in U.S. history.

The Alliance for Climate Protection's "we" campaign will employ online organizing and television advertisements on shows ranging from "American Idol" to "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." It highlights the extent to which Americans' growing awareness of global warming has yet to translate into national policy changes, Gore said in an hour-long phone interview last week. He said the campaign, which Gore is helping to fund, was undertaken in large part because of his fear that U.S. lawmakers are unwilling to curb the human-generated emissions linked to climate change."*

Agents of change are characterized by individuals or organizations that champion a specific cause. Al Gore's brand is "global climate change." You can't hear the name Al Gore anymore without thinking of global climate change.

Vancity is a corporate example of an agent of change. They have developed a website called www.changeeverything.ca to promote their belief in environmental advocacy. The site has a loyal group of followers who deeply believe people and organizations alike should be leaving a smaller footprint on the earth. But it doesn't end there. Vancity ties in its products to their cause, such as the Enviro VISA and Circadian Mutual Funds. The latter lets you invest in "companies that profit in a sustainable manner."

A credit union that is an agent of change is in it for the long haul, not just a 6-week campaign.

Could your credit union be an agent of change?

Tips

  1. Large scale or small, choose a cause your credit union can TRULY champion, from the top to bottom of your organization (members included)

  2. Set goals that allow you to measure success

  3. Develop a strategy, or to-do list, for achieving those goals

  4. Allocate funds that will allow your credit union to successfully implement the strategy

  5. Include your members in the cause in a real way, such as joining staff cause-related meetings, sitting on the committee, involvement in events, etc.

  6. Communicate your achievements, setback, discoveries, victories to staff, board, members and the community at large

  7. Act on feedback and suggestions from members and non-members. If for some reason you can't, publicly acknowledge that and supply a reason.

Nothing inspires an emotional connection like passion. Share your credit union's passion about your cause.

*From "Gore Launches Ambitious Advocacy Campaign on Climate", by Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post Staff Writer, March 31, 2008 page A04 – as read at www.washingtonpost.com

Nala