Financial Institutions Adding Value to K-12 Financial Education

Financial institutions looking to develop a financial literacy program for K-12 can be a valuable part of community outreach while helping you to connect with your next generation of consumers in a non-sales environment. Financial literacy programs give you access to schools, where you can share that your brand is interested in educating and helping each person to do their best with money from the start, at a period when you have no financial gain. That’s important for branding and for beginning to build a relationship and trust, but it also means delivering quality and good outcomes for students.

This means developing your financial literacy program with the intent of creating meaningful outcomes. Developing an ongoing program with multiple touchpoints throughout the year, as well as consistent connection with students and teachers so that you can keep connecting and adding value for yourself and for the community, will achieve this. Most importantly, creating multiple classes and touchpoints with students allows you to deepen connections, building awareness, and reinforcing learning so that students retain value for as long as possible.

Touch Base Throughout the Academic Year

Creating a single class or worksheet and using it as the entire program is one of the worst mistakes made by financial organizations when creating financial literacy. True learning happens over time and with repetition and committing to recurring touch points throughout the academic year will help students to retain and absorb information.

In addition, many state-level courses will only integrate curriculum into standardized testing if it’s offered consistently throughout the year. Creating an ongoing course, even through a digital platform, gives students the means to continue to study and improve, while giving you the option to push for standardized testing for the subjects.

Spreading your course throughout the year also gives you the opportunity to develop a real class with educational material paced out throughout the year for better impact and absorption. This gives you the opportunity to develop a structured program spread over a semester with the periodic roll-out, in-person lessons, online engagement, gamification, and real-life examples for hands-on experience and learning. This will better reinforce the curricula to ensure that students truly absorb the information.

Strategies for K-12 Sponsorship Programs

Starting, growing, or scaling a school sponsorship program can seem daunting but the tools for a best practice program are already at your fingertips.

Make a Multi-Year Commitment

While it’s easy to offer a one-time financial literacy program to schools, they often might not gain any real value from it and therefore may not even accept it. Committing to multiple years of educational initiatives will convince teachers and schools to find a permanent place for your program in their curricula, because they know it won’t be revoked after a year and that they can rely on you for a meaningful contribution across multiple grade levels and years.

At the same time, you have to commit to continuing making updates and performing maintenance on any program spanning several years, simply because you want to continue to deliver the same quality and consistency. This requires a significantly higher time and monetary investment than a one-time classroom visit or a worksheet but will pay off in the form of deeper connections and a community that is more financially literate over time. Committing to touching base with the same students throughout multiple years will increase the quality of education, because you can start early with basic information and add to it throughout the K-12 years.

Drive Engagement with Various Media Types

Where creating a single learning touchpoint allows you to connect with one type of learner, multiple touchpoints give you more ways to engage and interact with students. This gives you the opportunity to engage with different types of media and learning so that people who learn by doing can experience hands-on activities, engage online, watch videos, and learn in various classroom formats. Interactive digital solutions are the most popular because they allow you to develop a single curriculum you can push across multiple schools, but games, workbooks, and classroom materials are also popular.

How well does this tactic work? BB&T has partnered with EVERFI since 2011 to deliver an interactive and web-based financial management program to 920 high schools and 311,722 students, with the end result of a 30% increase in student assessment scores.

Recognize Achievement

Students will often put a lot of work into completing your courses. Recognize that with honor rolls, scholarship opportunities, graduation ceremonies, and other perks. While it doesn’t add to the process of learning, recognizing achievement is an important touchpoint for you as a business, because you can work to establish a relationship by actually recognizing achievement and hard work.

This also ties into connecting training with classroom standards and therefore with standardized testing. Grade level performance standards or aligning content and information in financial literacy programs based on grade level is important here, which also ties into committing to providing multiple years of financial literacy.

Stay Consistent

No matter how you’re delivering your financial education program, it’s crucial to stay consistent throughout the semester or the year. Pick a pace and a schedule you can stick with while delivering value and stick to it. For example, you’re likely better off spreading hands-on training and work throughout the year rather than piling it into a single month. Similarly, you can distribute digital coursework throughout the year, working with local teachers to pace content so that it works well with everything else students are learning.

You can approach this by breaking topics down based on fluency level to introduce the basics first and then build on them throughout the year. You can also create modules surrounding different items such as personal finance and savings, taking out loans for study or home-buying, budgeting and money management, and so on.

Financial literacy is an extremely important topic and one that generation Z is increasingly concerned with. Creating a financial literacy program is an easy way to connect with the next generation of consumers, build your brand, and deliver real value to them and to you. Financially literate people make better choices with money, are better able to save and buy a home, and can make better choices when choosing financial solutions. Ensuring that the next generation has the tools to do so benefits your bank as well.

Learn more about strategies for successful K-12 sponsorship programs!