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How MAF’s Ladder of Engagement Meets People Where They Are

At MAF, clients are the experts in their financial lives, so we design our financial services to highlight their experiences while learning new skills. Our financial education centers around building participants’ sense of self-advocacy to make informed decisions about their finances and providing the resources and support they need to achieve their financial goals. 

We do this through our ladder of engagement, which involves a progression of activities designed to build self-advocacy and financial literacy:

The ladder of engagement begins with the “what,” where clients engage with MAF’s Charla Financieras or “financial chats.” 

These sessions are designed to introduce clients to a financial interest of their choice with various topics, including budgeting, saving, credit, and debt management. The Charlas aim to provide participants with an understanding of “what” a topic is and an opportunity to ask their own questions to fulfill their existing knowledge. Our most famous example would be the topic of credit, where a Charla would consist of learning about credit reports, credit scores, how credit reporting works, and a reminder that immigrants can build credit without an SSN. 

Once participants have been introduced to “what” credit is, we incite them to ask about the “how” in a Taller.

Once clients have a basic understanding of financial topics, they move on to the “how.” This is where MAF’s Talleres or “workshops” come in. These workshops provide a hands-on learning experience that allows clients to implement their newfound knowledge. The Taller align with the same topics as the Charlas, but they focus on practices connected to those topics. Our credit Talleres focus on two very important skills: reading and understanding a credit report and disputing errors on a credit report. Participating in these workshops gives participants practical skills they can apply, which can be translated into other facets of their lives.

Finally, the ladder of engagement culminates in the “why” in our Community Conversations. 

This is where clients take the lead. In Community Conversations, clients converse and share “why” the topic is essential. These are opportunities to connect with others interested in similar financial topics and exchange experiences, questions, and inspiration. By sharing their stories and experiences, clients realize their financial experiences are valuable and can help others navigate similar challenges. This creates a sense of community and belonging, which is essential for building self-advocacy and financial confidence.

At MAF, the ladder of engagement is an effective way to build self-advocacy and financial literacy. 

By providing a range of activities that cater to different learning styles and preferences, we can meet clients where they are and support them as they progress along their financial journey. This approach is essential for communities that have been historically excluded from traditional financial services, such as low-income and immigrant communities.

Moreover, MAF’s ladder of engagement is more than just a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, it is a flexible and adaptable framework that can be customized to meet each client’s unique needs and circumstances. 

This means that clients can engage with MAF at their own pace and in a way that works best for them. Through our ladder of engagement, we are working to create a more equitable and just financial system, one client at a time.

Learn more about MAF’s suite of financial services, including Charlas Financieras, the MyMAF app, and one-on-one financial coaching here.