Credit Unions, Gen Z, and Harness Giving

Harness giving for credit unions and gen z values from cu 2.0

Quick note—the premise of this blog is based on Gen Z, but the fintech in question—Harness FI, connected to Harness Giving through its parent company Harnessisn’t built around Gen Z appeal.

Millennial and Gen Z loyalty is not easily earned. Politically involved and environmentally conscious, these younger generations have high standards for companies. At the top of their list are a company’s environmental, social, governance commitments and whether they are living up to them.

And these aren’t just lofty ideals. Millennials and Gen Z back up their convictions with their wallets.

So how can credit unions align with these priorities to attract and retain Gen Z and Millennial members?

What Gen Z Wants (According to Gen Z)

Deloitte’s 10th annual Gen Z and Millennial Survey of almost 15,000 Gen Zs and over 8,000 millennials across 46 countries revealed the newest generations’ priorities and concerns.

Approximately 74% agree that the world is at a tipping point in responding to climate change, but they aren’t hopeless or idle about it. 9 in 10 say that they make personal efforts to protect the environment, while almost half of those surveyed say they have put some pressure on their employer to take action.

They also resoundingly agreed that companies are not doing enough in response. 89% of Gen Zs and 87% of Millennials did not believe that substantive action is being taken by large companies to combat climate change.

And it’s not just about the planet. 60% of Gen Z and 56% of Millennials say that systemic racism is fairly or very widespread throughout society, and 60% overall believe that positive change needs to come from the top down—that means it starts with governments and, notably, businesses.

Voicing their top concerns for the future, Gen Zs and Millennials listed everything from humanitarian crises in Ukraine and Afghanistan to economic inequities and COVID-19. And when it comes to impacting society overall, more than half believe that businesses can—and should—do more.

Why Invest in Attracting Gen Zs and Millennials?

According to Forbes, Gen Z and Millennial consumers tend to stop or initiate relationships based on how companies treat the environment, protect personal data, and position themselves on social and political issues. And based on their priorities and habits, it’s likely that most Gen Zs and Millennials are part of the 90% of consumers that say they’re more likely to be loyal to brands that share values that are similar to their own.

This matters because Gen Z is now the world’s largest generation, followed by Millennials. Together, they make up over 4 billion people—over half the world’s population. That’s a daunting and highly significant consumer base to attract. The icing on the cake is that Millennials are poised to inherit over $68 trillion from their Baby Boomer relatives within the next decade, handing them an enormous amount of influence. Where and how they choose to invest that wealth will determine the future of many companies, including financial institutions, in the years to come. Capturing Millennial (and Gen Z) loyalty now may well be a worthwhile investment.

This doesn’t mean that credit unions must become champions for social, political, or environmental causes overnight. Credit unions are already community-oriented, not-for-profit helpers. In fact, Deloitte’s study also found that, when asked to rank the environmental actions they’d like to see their employers invest in, Gen Zs and Millennials prioritized highly visible actions that enabled them to take part, and allowed them to make better environmental choices in their everyday lives. As such, credit unions can attract younger members by enabling them to become advocates for what they believe in.

By giving Gen Z the power to effect change where they see fit, credit unions accomplish multiple things:

  1. They help younger members feel more involved in and responsible for issues they care about;
  2. Members who do contribute will positively associate the credit union with their contribution; and
  3. They don’t risk alienating members by taking hard social or political stances;

By facilitating charitable contributions, credit unions can give Gen Zs and Millennials what they want without taking risky positions of their own.

How the Harness FI Platform Fits In

Judging by Deloitte’s findings, Harness provides what Gen Zs and Millennials want. And now, Harness is partnering with credit unions and other card issuers via Harness FI.

The tagline of Harness FI says it all: Do more with every payment.

Why does this matter to credit unions?

Harness FI partners with credit unions and other card issuers to allow any cardholder to make charitable donations to nonprofits. So, by working with Harness FI, credit unions put the power of change and action into their members’ hands. Members may donate with each card swipe, supporting everything from ocean cleanups to local food banks. Harness FI puts the causes Gen Zs and Millennials care about most at their fingertips so that they can easily impact change, now with the support of their credit union.

To drive even more engagement and improve share of wallet, Harness FI gamifies the payments experience. First, each payment includes round-ups for charity. But it doesn’t stop there:

  • Each swipe is entered into a sweepstakes with thousands of winnable prizes;
  • Inactive cards have a higher chance to win, ensuring your card doesn’t get forgotten;
  • Larger purchases carry higher chances to win, incentivizing more card spend; and
  • Recurring transactions carry higher chances to win as well, incentivizing card on file status.

With Harness, every transaction will make your credit union more memorable to your members. And if you give your members the power to create the change they want to see, they’ll want to stick with you. So, to reach Gen Zs and Millennials, credit unions may want to harness giving… with Harness FI.

Additional Resources

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