What is NAF? The National Advocacy Fund (NAF) is a fund CUNA and AACUL have established to pool resources from across the credit union system for use in direct electoral advocacy on behalf of pro credit union candidates for federal office as well as advocacy in support of credit union issues in the legislative and regulatory arenas.
Why do we need NAF? Legislative and regulatory advocacy has evolved such that to achieve success, credit unions must differentiate themselves with multi-faceted advocacy campaigns. These campaigns include digital grassroots (email, online, video, social media), electronic issue advocacy (television, radio, online) and political advocacy (partisan communications).
What’s more, the campaign finance environment is evolving such that these same techniques are increasingly prevalent in the never-ending political campaign season as well. The NAF is a systemwide, sustainable funding mechanism to ensure the credit union system is not left behind in this ever-evolving political landscape.
How is NAF different from CULAC? As corporate, non-federal funds under federal election law, funds from the NAF may not be used to directly contribute to federal candidates or campaign committees. Because of this, it is critical that voluntary personal (federal) contributions continue to be raised and directed to CULAC, as CULAC remains the credit union system’s best means of directly supporting federal candidates.
The National Advocacy Fund provides a supplemental means of supporting pro-credit union candidates in select priority races with non-federal corporate dollars, as well as promoting credit unions through issue advocacy.
What is TCUL’s “Fair Share” goal for 2021 for NAF? The Tennessee Credit Union League’s Fair Share goal is $51,183. The League goals are based on a fair share formula derived from 50% from total credit union assets, and 50% from number of credit unions and an annual goal set by the Steering Committee that governs NAF (Made up of the AACUL Political Involvement & Grassroots Committee Chair; AACUL State Issues Committee Chair; CULAC Chair; CUNA Governmental Affairs Committee Chair; CUNA Governmental Affairs Vice-Chair; At-Large member appointed by AACUL.)
How are the funds used? Since the fund began in 2013 it has conducted broad categories of expenditures both in elections and assisting state leagues with bank attacks. Funds raised for NAF going forward will be distributed by the Steering Committee as needed for the following purposes:
- Direct mail costs associated with partisan communications (mail sent by credit unions to credit union members advocating the election of a pro-credit union candidate)
- Political Research (i.e. polling) to inform partisan communications campaigns and CULAC independent expenditures
- Candidate photo shoots and other activities related to the above
- GOTV campaigns directed at credit union members