National Consumers League

Win-win for LifeSmarts partnership


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By Lisa Hertzberg, LifeSmarts Program Director We are continually looking for new ways to expand the LifeSmarts program, and one way we do this is by partnering with companies and organizations that believe in our mission and help us sponsor new initiatives. This post highlights a success story of a recent partnership that we took to the next level – we developed the materials we envisioned for LifeSmarts students and educators, and the sponsoring company was able to use the same educational pieces to train its workers and employees. LifeSmarts U is an online learning tool that contains interactive lessons that individuals, teams, and classrooms of students can use to delve deeply into key consumer topics. Western Union was receptive when we approached it to ask whether the company would support development of the consumer rights and responsibilities section of LifeSmarts U, and sponsor the first three consumer lessons on fraud awareness and prevention. We quickly found that a successful collaboration would fulfill the needs of both partners, and that became a key component to our project. Western Union was interested in supporting LifeSmarts, and the company also welcomed the opportunity to create educational materials about fraud to help train its employees and agents around the world. With an unrestricted educational grant from Western Union, we developed the three fraud  lessons that can be found in the Consumer Law section of LifeSmarts U. We shared the materials with Western Union, and the company immediately began using them in its training program. In fact, since LifeSmarts follows the traditional school year, and the new LifeSmarts U lessons are just going online this fall, Western Union was able to scoop us and begin using the new materials several months before we introduced them! In English, Spanish, and several other languages, no less. Working on this project allowed us to enhance the content of our program, develop a strong working relationship with a program sponsor, and, most importantly – discover a new way to work in partnership. We created a win-win scenario for LifeSmarts participants and for a company interested in fostering smart consumers and educating its workforce.