How one email can help underserved communities thrive

December 17, 2015 by Dave Boudreau

After yet another candid interview with a customer and why they decided to check us out, I’m convinced that word-of-mouth is still the single most effective way to convince a business owner to finally get a better 401(k) plan.

Great, it was time to launch a customer referral program.

Our customers are incredible, constantly amaze us, and employees are saving in their 401(k) like mad.

And most importantly, when it comes to the referral program our customers are happy.

So I set off to design a referral program that was a win-win for everyone involved: our customers, new referrals, and us.

Before I get into why we chose the route we did, here’s how the program works.

Step 1: Refer a business owner you know to check out ForUsAll.

Step 2: If your business owner buddy signs up to be a customer, they’ll get their first month free just because they know you!.

Step 3: For you, we’ll invest $100 in your name in a financial literacy, small business empowerment program. And that’s $100 for each time someone you refer signs up to be a customer.

Learn More ­ ­ ➜


Building a Network that Invests in Small Businesses

Offering the right incentive to our customers is most important to us.

But in designing this program, I juggled a secondary goal — finding a reward that moved the needle on our mission:

Helping small businesses succeed and be informed about the benefits of offering a 401(k) plan.

Because of that, we put together a list of organizations doing just that — helping small businesses succeed — but on the non-profit side. The initial goal was to learn from them.

But the long messy list grew shorter, then that list shrank to 5 organizations, until finally we landed on one: Operation Hope.

They made their start in California in 1992 under their chairman John Hope Bryant, and have since branched out to over 300 cities in America, touching neighborhoods that many of us have visited, shopped in, and enjoyed.


Chairman John Hope Bryant, Operation Hope

I visited their banking center out in East Oakland, and was floored by what they had built. It was the perfect combination of financial institution and community center, but still had that neighborhood feel.

And while they’ve been around for a decade and a half, they still had that scrappy, grassroots, sleeves-rolled-up vibe.

The more I learned about Operation Hope, the more it became clear that we didn’t need to build programs from scratch.

We need to invest in the work Operation Hope already has on the ground. 

We want to see more Hope Centers in urban neighborhoods to solve the unbanked and predatory loan crisis

We want to see more junior high and high school kids learning about the importance of credit, building a budget, and how to save through Operation Hope’s Banking on Our Future program.

We want to see more community members struggling with bad credit going through Operation Hope’s programs to build a credit score of 700+.

Join the thousands of Operation Hope supporters

Former President Bill Clinton speaking about inclusive economics at Operation Hope's annual event.

Former President Bill Clinton speaking to Operation Hope members

I know I started this off saying we’re launching a referral program.

But we’re trying a new model that will reach further than our customer base, and the reward doesn’t end after the referral is complete.

If you know a business owner that needs a 401(k) plan, or maybe a better one, tell them about the program.

Or introduce us to them and we’ll take it from there.

Once they sign up as a customer, we’ll invest $100 in Operation Hope under your name and connect you with your local Hope Center so you can stay up to date, and find ways to get involved.

What’s more, you’ll be connected to a powerhouse in the financial literacy world. In 2015, former president Bill Clinton kicked off Operation Hope’s annual meeting for their supporters and forum members.

For their upcoming meeting in January 2016, Operation Hope is proud to announce Chelsea Clinton as their keynote speaker.

We couldn’t be more proud to be Operation Hope’s first fintech partner, and this program is just the start of what’s to come.

Get in on the ground floor, and join our budding network.

By referring a small business today, you can create the change you hope to see in our community, and build a community in which your business can thrive in the years to come.

Learn More ­ ­ ➜


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Dave Boudreau

Dave Boudreau

Dave co-founded ForUsAll to remove the barriers that stand between everyday Americans and their pursuit of retirement success. He leads customer experience, content creation, and is the principal architect behind ForUsAll’s virtual advisor, DAVE (uh… no relation). Before all this, Dave was Customer Experience Principal at Financial Engines, where he co-founded and led the end-to-end experience design for the ground-breaking retirement income solution, Income+. Dave holds a B.S. in Communication Design from Fitchburg State University. In his spare time, he reads, writes, consumes streaming content like a crazy man, and is an experimental pastry chef specializing in “things you only want to eat once” (his words). He and his wife, Hanka, plan to retire to twin art studios somewhere in the Trinity Alps of Northern California.
Dave Boudreau

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