CUs Discuss Best Practices for Financial Reality Fairs at Latest Meeting

Posted by Marissa Anema Wednesday, July 11, 2012 11:36:00 AM


HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. – New Jersey credit unions gathered on Tuesday at the League office and also at Atlantic FCU and Members 1st of NJ FCU via video conferencing for a “Best Practices” Reality Fairs meeting.

Credit unions new to the program as well as those that are experienced in volunteering for or hosting Fairs shared their challenges and suggested best practices for future Fairs.

NJCUL Marketing and Communications Coordinator Marissa Anema (left) facilitates the group discussion as NJCUL Director of Marketing and Communications Candice Nigro (right) writes the group’s ideas down on the League’s Panaboard.

Two main challenges discussed were funding and soliciting volunteers. Credit unions may apply for a grant from the New Jersey Credit Union Foundation for half the cost of a Fair, up to $2,000, but the credit union is responsible for the rest of the cost of the Fair in order to keep the program free for schools to participate. The group came up with a number of fundraising ideas to lower the cost burden on credit unions and make it possible for credit unions to host more Fairs. 

Each Fair, depending on the number of students involved, requires at least 20 volunteers and credit unions have struggled to gather enough volunteers for Fairs in the past. Networking at various League events as well as Chapter Meetings were two ideas bounced around to help build awareness of the program and to solicit new volunteers.

Two groups participated in the discussion at remote locations via video conferencing. Pictured above is the group of remote participants attending at Atlantic FCU. From left to right: Chris Chichester, Jersey Central FCU; Jaime Kardos, Novartis FCU; and Renee Lopes, Atlantic FCU. 

Credit unions that have hosted Fairs in the past then developed a list of best practices that League staff recorded on a state-of-art Panaboard and will develop into a “Best Practices” guide for credit unions hosting Fairs in the future. 

If you would like more information on the Reality Fairs program, would like a copy of the “Best Practices” guide when it is available, or would like to volunteer for a Fair this coming school year, please contact Marissa Anema at or 800-792-8861 ext. 117.

More information, including a calendar of upcoming Fairs is available on the League Web site at



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