Family Engagement Strategies in Children's Savings Accounts: Results from a 2017 Survey of Programs Family Engagement Strategies in Children's Savings Accounts: Results from a 2017 Survey of Programs

By Brian Clarke

Children’s savings accounts (CSAs) in New England and other parts of the country continue to expand and build upon the momentum they have generated in state houses, city halls, and community-based organizations. However, this momentum has not come without challenges. One of the biggest of these is infrequent account activity. When accounts in these programs are opened and seeded with public sources and never used by eligible families, things become problematic. In programs that offer matching funds for consistent savers, infrequent utilization or lack of utilization altogether leads to loss of potential match income, lower account balances, and missed opportunities to earn interest and benefit from capital gains.

In this brief, we aim to show what is currently being done by children’s savings account programs to engage families to sign up for accounts and to save more frequently. We also explore what the future of family engagement could look like with increased use of technology, mobile alerts, and innovate product designs to drive better engagement with children’s savings accounts by families.