As any loyal credit union member knows, their financial institution not only offers exceptional service, helpful advice, better rates, and lower fees, they are also dedicated to serving their communities in unique and meaningful ways. And summertime is the perfect opportunity for credit unions to offer members family-friendly, financially oriented fun. Throughout much of the country, credit unions take advantage of summer’s mild temps and longer days sponsoring outdoor community events, member appreciation days, seminars, concerts, and fairs while offering special promotions, giveaways, and financial education -- and all for FREE!
Credit Unions Say ‘Thank You’ With Free Events & Special Offers
In the spirit of People Helping People most credit unions make community development part of their official mission. Sponsoring local events and supporting their communities is an effective way to bring people together, educate people, provide safe activities, and simply say ‘thank you’ to their members.
Coors Credit Union (Golden, CO) sponsors many free community events such as Buffalo Bill Days, which is fast approaching. According to Michele Lee, VP of Sales & Service, this member appreciation celebration includes free rides on the Lil Spike Train, Kid Tattoos, Community Misting Tent, Hand Fans, and a fantastic Grand Prize Drawing.
Event turnout gets better every year and the credit union tries to keep things fresh and up to date with their communities. “The Lil Spike Train always guarantees a big turn out -- the wait gets longer and longer every year prompting us to provide a misting tent for kids and their families to cool off in while waiting for their rides,” says Lee.
A special promotional offer will be touted on the hand fans that are passed out both during the parade and at Coors’ booth. “This will be giving attendees the first $25 when they join the credit union – the deal is part of our ongoing RedSide Rewards promotion, but tweaked a bit for this event,” explains Lee. Additional promotions will be carried through into their community events. The credit union is currently on a quest to save members $1 Million dollars and they have broken the first $100,000 barrier in just the first three weeks.
Coors has been supporting the community through multiple channels since 1954 including charities like the Family Tree and Ralston House as well as the Chamber of Commerce in Golden and Arvada. “It’s the core of the credit union’s values: people helping people – and is the most influential thing that credit unions do,” contends Lee.
Mendo Lake Credit Union (Ukiah, CA) is holding a Member Appreciation Month throughout July. In honor of this month-long promotion, embracing the tagline “Our Business Revolves Around Our Members,” the credit union is giving away over $2,500 in cash and prizes. According to Jamey Gill, Director of Marketing and Community Outreach, members can participate in the following ways:
In addition to seasonal promotions, MLCU is also dedicated to providing financial literacy classes as well as sponsoring their annual scholarship program that honors fifth graders and high school seniors. MLCU partners with the College of the Redwoods and Community Credit Union of Southern Humboldt to provide a free financial literacy program known as “Building Your Financial Toolbox,” which increases awareness on the topic of how to manage one’s personal finances.
Fun with a Forward Thinking Focus (Youth, The Eenvironment, and ID Protection)
It seems a popular trend with many credit union sponsored events involves preserving and nurturing the future, philosophically and physically. Youth-centered financial literacy initiatives help educate and guide today’s young people who will become tomorrow’s leaders while environmental efforts like shred events help save and protect the planet’s resources.
Bridgeway Federal Credit Union (Poughkeepsie, NY) is planning to hold an interactive financial literacy workshop for young adults, called Mad City Money, for Marist College’s Upward Bound Program during July in Poughkeepsie. According to Melissa Walsh, Vice President of Marketing & Branch Administration, Upward Bound is a federally funded college preparatory program designed to generate in participants the skills and motivation necessary to persist in completing their secondary education and enter and complete a program of postsecondary education.
Bridgeway will give participants T-shirts, water bottles and an offer of a $10 account bonus for opening a savings account, to help these young adults start on the path to future savings. The workshop provides each student with a real life scenario, which requires them to learn how to budget their money to be able to afford everything their family needs “We have a strong focus on community development and working with young adults provides a wonderful opportunity to educate them on the value of money and budgeting before they make big financial mistakes,” says Walsh.
Redwood Credit Union (Santa Rosa, CA), in addition to sponsoring a wide variety of non-profit events, also sponsors and hosts free community events including their Annual Shred-a-Thon, where the public is invited to safely dispose of sensitive documents (such as old financial statements and canceled checks) free of charge. E-waste such as cell phones and computers are also accepted.
According to Traci Bocci, Senior Communications Specialist, this year’s Shred-a-Thon will take place on August 18 at their Administrative Offices in Santa Rosa. Each year at their Shred-a-Thon, RCU offers a free education seminar on a topic relevant to financial safety and security. This year’s topic is "Credit and Debit Card Fraud Prevention: Staying Safe in the New 'Cashless' Society.”
“This year will mark our 6th Annual Shred-a-Thon, and members and the community have come to expect it each August -- we have seen strong attendance and continued demand for this event,” says Bocci. In 2011, more than 600 people attended, shredding approximately 14.5 tons of sensitive documents, and recycling 27 e-waste items.
In the past, the credit union has offered environmentally friendly giveaways such as eco-totes and re-useable water bottles at their Shred-a-Thon. “This year, in response to ongoing need in our communities for food donations throughout the summer months, when donations tend to be lower than the bountiful holiday season, we are encouraging attendees to bring donations of canned food items to benefit the Redwood Empire Food Bank,” explains Bocci. Those who donate food items will receive entry into a drawing for a personal shredder as well.
“As a leader in the communities we serve, we believe in the positive impact of investing in our communities through the contribution of time, energy, money and leadership support to non-profit organizations and groups that contribute to building stronger communities,” contends Bocci.
Other community events sponsored by RCU this summer include the Sonoma-Marin and Sonoma County Fairs, AIDS Walk San Francisco, Cloverdale’s Friday Night Live Music Concert Series, the Petaluma Music Festival and the Sonoma Valley Education’s Red and White Ball.
Looking for a fun way to spend a summer day (or night)? Why not see what your credit union is up to? Check out their newsletter, website, and social media channels for info on upcoming events. Not a member? Find a credit union and join today.By Cyndi Cohen