Consumer Action nationwide survey of financial literacy programs

Financial literacy programs in local communities have continued need for printed materials

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Consumer Action, a national non-profit consumer education and advocacy organization, has published the results of a survey of community-based organizations (CBOs) titled "Implementation of Community-based Financial Literacy Programs in the U.S." Click here to view a copy of the report. One key question the survey sought to answer was: Are printed materials and in-person training still needed? With thousands of entities offering money management tools and information on the Web, a compelling case must be made for hard copies and personal training. Notably, the survey found that printed materials continue to play a crucial role in financial education. CBOs listed printed (hard copy) brochures as their top choice for teaching about, and learning about, personal finance and consumer issues. Every respondent that provides counseling or group education reported sending the client home with something tangible, such as a brochure, a worksheet, an action plan or a guide booklet. Likewise, close to half of respondents said they wanted in-person training, curricula and other tools to help them feel prepared and stay up-to-date on consumer and financial literacy topics. Consumer Action has built a network of more than 11,000 community-based contacts at approximately 8,200 community organizations nationwide. The 31-question online survey was sent to the approximately 5,000 contacts with email addresses, garnering a response from 496 agencies, or about 10% of those surveyed. The survey was open from May 28-June 10, 2009. These organizations include university extensions, credit counseling agencies, immigrant/refugee services, government agencies, libraries, churches, social services, and other local nonprofits that are engaged in financial literacy counseling and education. The survey was created to achieve three main objectives:
  • to determine which CBOs are directly engaged in financial literacy work;
  • to learn how these agencies educate their target populations; and
  • to identify the types of materials, services and support CBOs need to run effective financial literacy programs.
“We know that financial literacy is a key contributor to overall well being,” said Ken McEldowney, executive director of Consumer Action. “Our findings will help organizations that develop financial literacy training and materials, and those who fund financial literacy programs, to give frontline educators the tools they need to reach and teach members of their communities.” Consumer Action distributes more than a million publications annually in five languages which enables it to serve diverse populations in every state. Publications are available to nonprofits free and in bulk. The organization’s outreach staff provides curricula and free in-person train-the-trainer instruction nationwide to prepare CBO staff members to teach workshops and seminars on specific financial literacy topics and consumer issues. Click here to view some of our educational and training publications.
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Consumer Action, founded in 1971, is a national nonprofit consumer education and advocacy organization headquartered in San Francisco with offices in Los Angeles and Washington, DC.

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