Core Values Survey: A First

Blog Author Jennifer Statham

Written by: Jennifer Statham

Published: October 24, 2016

Found in: News/Press

Last spring, we asked members about what matters to them in a new way. It was a values survey, the first for us. As CEO Kevin Foster-Keddie shared in a blog post, the cooperative thrives when we really listen to members and then take that feedback and turn it into actions that benefit the cooperative. 

We wanted to share with you an overview of what we learned from the survey. It speaks to who we are as a collective membership and the importance, in particular, of our shared commitment to community. First, a bit about the reasons behind the survey.

The purpose of the survey:
  1. To understand who we are as a group.
  2. To see how WSECU's community involvement activities relate to member priorities.
  3. To generate insights to spur innovation to meet your needs.

Insights

Well, no surprise! We're a membership of more than 230,000 living in communities large and small across Washington State and beyond. Members reflect a wide range of perspectives on the fundamental values that ground each of us and drive decisions. Conservative, progressive and somewhere in between - that's the picture of WSECU members. As much as there is diversity in our fundamental attitudes and values, there were also clear commonalities among members, including for a core group of social issues and causes most respondents were concerned about.

When presented with a list of social issues, 95% of members surveyed listed one of the following as a top cause:

  • Education      
  • Hunger/Poverty        
  • Environment 
  • Health

This information is useful for helping us review and refine our community giving and support to nonprofit organizations. WSECU sets aside 4% of net income to invest in programs and organizations that help make our communities strong and resilient. There were some areas where we saw regional differences among members. For example:

  • Hunger/poverty was a top concern for more than half of members in eastern metropolitan areas.
  • Support for the environment resonated strongest with members in western Washington urban areas.
  • Health care-related issues ranked higher in non-metropolitan areas.

We also learned the many ways members get active on behalf of causes they support. Here are the top five, with slightly different order depending on age:

  1. Share opinions with family and friends
  2. Vote
  3. Support the cause/issue with my purchases
  4. Donate money
  5. Volunteer time  

What we are doing as a result

The results validated we're aligned with members in our top area of community involvement: education. WSECU supports education in many ways, such as teaching financial literacy classes, offering college scholarships and supporting college programs in some of the communities we serve. We also saw results that indicate our support for public parks resonates with members because they share the same concerns for their protection and enhancement. For other areas of community investment, this fall we'll spend time considering what are the most meaningful ways we can offer WSECU resources to achieve the best outcomes. We will update the members as we refine this important area of our mission, in the first quarter of 2017. We continue to enhance the ways we solicit, receive and act on member feedback. One area we're excited about is the development of an advisory panel to help review new product ideas, including consideration of products that could in some way tie back to investing in causes and the organizations that members support. If you want to participate in this panel, email MemberInsights@wsecu.org.  

Jennifer Statham, Chief Brand Technologist