The Credit Union Difference
A new Toolkit designed for credit unions
The credit union difference is in part reflected in its social impact. This Toolkit enables credit unions to identify, measure and report on this.
It has been developed specifically for credit unions by a project team comprising Small Change, CFCFE and Liverpool John Moores University’s Research Unit for Financial Inclusion, funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, CCLA and CFCFE members. The project team worked closely during 2018/19 with GB credit unions to develop the materials, in particular CFCFE members Hoot Credit Union (Bolton) and Unify Credit Union (Wigan). The Toolkit comprises a Guide to reporting, a Framework spreadsheet to capture information systematically and Facilitator slide pack for leading a workshop on the process. Download the Toolkit by clicking on the icons below. Please read the Guide before attempting to use the Framework or Facilitator pack.
We are moving to a second phase of testing with a wider range of credit unions, and the Toolkit will be developed and updated based on experience. We welcome feedback or suggestions for how to improve the Toolkit: email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our vision is that over time many credit unions will report their impact in this evidence-based way, and the movement will be able to better articulate its impact in regions or nations. Subject to funding, we aim to undertake awareness-raising activity of the value of effective measurement and reporting of social impact (the credit union difference) across the UK and Ireland in the coming months.
Click on the icons to view the materials.
Extract from the Preface to the Guide
“In general, credit unions have relatively little difficulty in identifying their economic purpose and in assessing their economic performance, but identifying their social purpose and measuring their performance as social businesses can be less defined. This Toolkit aims to assist credit unions to identify and clarify the social goals and objectives of their businesses against a wide range of parameters. In credit unions the customers are the owners and their financial health and well-being is paramount. They also include, among others, social goals related to the financial service of particular communities, particularly the under-served, to financial education and to the building of community cohesion and the resilience of local economies.
The Toolkit is about identifying social goals but importantly, it offers credit unions a systematic way of measuring progress to their achievement. This is central to the rationale of this publication. Even if credit unions can articulate their social goals and objectives, all is in vain if they cannot measure, evaluate and prove the social impact that they are making. The methodology offered in this Toolkit for the measurement of social impact is based on a bespoke iteration of the theory of change, an approach well known among many social enterprises but not as yet in the world of credit unions. It assists credit unions to identify their social goals, to measure and evaluate their social impact and to introduce change to improve performance where necessary.
Demonstrating the credit union difference as a social business is in fact central also to economic success. For a clear articulation of the credit union difference builds brand awareness, establishes member loyalty and, properly presented, offers a unique selling point in an increasingly competitive financial market place.”
Dr Paul A Jones, Reader in the Social Economy, Research Unit for Financial Inclusion, Liverpool John Moores University