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MnCUN meeting features youth focus group basics
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (4/30/08)--The Minnesota Family Involvement Council (FIC) taught the fundamentals of youth focus groups with a live youth focus group during an educational session at the Minnesota Credit Union Network's Annual Meeting and Convention on April 11-12.
Shannon, left, along with three other teens, talked about how she spends and manages her money during the Minnesota Family Involvement Council's session on youth focus groups, held during the Minnesota Credit Union Network's Annual Meeting April 11-12. (Photo provided by the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation)
The event was part of FIC's goal to promote full-family involvement in Minnesota's credit unions. FIC is a committee of the Minnesota Credit Union Foundation. Rick Foy, director of marketing communications at Sight Creative, hosted the session. He outlined steps involved in conducting a successful focus group and provided tips on facilitating and recruiting youth to participate in a group. Focus groups "are a way of member input that validates what members are really about," said Foy. "Marketing cannot be conventional any more. You need to talk the language of your audience." One of the best ways to learn the language of youth is to conduct a focus group at the credit union, he said. Groups are a powerful means to evaluate the credit union's services, and receive feedback from youth on the impressions and feelings those services invoke. The information will provide direction for creating strategic goals and action steps, he said. Foy led a live focus group consisting of one high school sophomore and four high school juniors. The teens answered questions about their spending habits, how they manage money, and the factors they use in determining where they put their money. The teens continually emphasized they wanted to receive more financial education and learn about a variety of topics, including student loans and how to manage their money. "Nobody really talks to teenagers about money and how to deal with it," said Raquel, a sophomore on the panel. Other panelists agreed and expressed concern about how to successfully manage their money and make wise financial decisions. "The live youth focus group allowed the attendees to see first-hand how to facilitate a focus group and how valuable the information gained from the focus group can be," said LeAnn Achtenberg, FIC chair. "While paper surveys can give you a lot of information, they don't give you the chance to ask follow-up questions. With a focus group, you really get to know your teen members and what they want from a financial institution," Achtenberg added.


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