Questions to ask when choosing a financial education vendor

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Cost isn’t the only factor to consider when seeking a vendor to offer a financial education program. Consider these questions when screening candidates.

The more YES answers, the better!

Compensation and fiduciary responsibility

1. Is compensation for the program based on something other than a sales commission for financial products or financial planning services? (yes/no)

2. Will content presented be objective—not a sales presentation for insurance, investments, etc.? (yes/no)

3. Does the vendor promise that contact information will not be collected from participants for a sales pitch at a later date? (yes/no)

Education and experience

4. Have the educators—including those developing materials—had training in the subject matter and how to teach it in a group setting? (yes/no)

5. Does the vendor have a proven track record in providing personal finance education? (yes/no)

6. Are those providing one-on-one advice or counseling certified to do so— for example, certification as a financial planner? (yes/no)

Content

7. Has the vendor established clear and measurable learning objectives for the program? (yes/no)

8. Is the program content relevant to the target audience? (e.g. demographics, diversity, life stages, life events) (yes/no)

9. Is the program content practical? (yes/no)

10. Is the content accurate and up-to-date? (yes/no)

11. Does the program incorporate behavioral science theories to foster behavioural change? (yes/no)

Delivery

12. Will the program use a combination of media elements to reach participants with different learning styles and preferences? (e.g. video, audio, written text) (yes/no)

13. Will the program use a combination of delivery methods that reaches participants through more than one communication channel? (e.g. web-based, face-to-face, e-mail, text, mobile app, online learning, mailers, payroll stuffers, etc.) (yes/no)

14. Will the program hold the attention of participants? (yes/no)

15. Is the vendor willing to understand participants’ demographics and communication preferences and adjust their tools accordingly? (yes/no)

16. Does the vendor offer one-on-one support, such as individual counselling or coaching? (yes/no)

17. Will the vendor provide ongoing support to learners? (yes/no)

18. Will the program be available at times that are convenient to the target audience? (yes/no)

Program effectiveness and improvement

19. Will the vendor help with assessing participant needs and preferences? (yes/no)

20. Will the vendor assist in evaluating the impact on participants during and after the program? (yes/no)

Marketing/promotion

21. Does the vendor provide sample materials and other assistance in marketing the availability of the program and its benefits to the target audience? (yes/no)

Privacy

22. Does the vendor provide detailed information on how participant information is protected? (yes/no)

Adapted from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans’ “23 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Financial Education Vendor”. www.ifebp.org

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