As any loyal member knows, credit unions are more than a financial institution -- they are pillars of the community, committed to supporting residents and local businesses in unique and meaningful ways. And summertime is the perfect time for credit unions to offer up free, family-friendly fun to members as well as the community at large. But these credit union-sponsored events and activities are different than the typical community cook-out -- they’re often purposefully geared toward the community’s specific needs with an overall goal of bringing value, imparting knowledge, and fostering a sense of togetherness in people’s lives.
Across the nation, credit unions are embracing summer’s balmy temps and long days by sponsoring outdoor member appreciation days, seminars, concerts, and fairs while offering special giveaways, and financial education as a way to thank members and the community.
RTN Federal Credit Union (Waltham, MA) is busy this summer marking the 70th anniversary of its founding in 1945. “Our ‘Celebrating 70’ campaign features special offers, events, giveaways and prize drawings,” said Sarita Ledani, AVP, Business Development. On Saturday, August 29, RTN will host a celebration for members and their families at their main branch, featuring catered BBQ, an ice cream truck, music, and RTN-branded giveaways.
RTN is also hosting ice cream socials and sweet treats throughout the summer at designated select employer groups (SEGs). “These events, staffed by Business Development team members and branch staff, enhance our relationship with SEG contacts while generating positive coverage for our business partners,” explained Ledani.
Likewise, Georgia United Credit Union’s (Duluth, GA) Branch Member Appreciation Days provide an opportunity for all branches to express appreciation to their members, partner groups and community contacts. These events feature cash drawings, branded giveaways, and treats.
According to Kim Wall, Community Development Officer, Georgia United believes in the concept of “Shared Strength” and giving back to their members and local communities. “We strive to reflect our Core Values – Respect, Integrity, Empathy, Trust, & Gratitude -- whenever we sponsor programs or host seasonal events,” added Wall.
Nothing says summer or community like picnics, baseball, parades, and the like, and America’s credit unions couldn’t agree more!
In this spirit, RTN has become a corporate sponsor of the Lowell Spinners, a local Class A minor league affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. This sponsorship includes hosting community events at specific games, including two ‘Kids Take the Field Night’ events. “As a credit union, community involvement is a core value of RTN throughout the year. We support local projects and initiatives, and work collaboratively with members, sponsor groups, and our surrounding communities through financial support and volunteer participation,” said Ledani.
Fox Communities Credit Union (Appleton, WI) is also going to bat for their community during Summer 2015 by sponsoring the Big Brother/Big Sister (BB/BS) of the Fox Valley’s Annual Picnic held at Timber Rattler Stadium (minor league baseball) which is attended by over 300 ‘Bigs’ and ‘Littles.’
“When we accepted this sponsorship, we wanted to appeal to the littles in waiting (mostly boys), and thought the baseball venue would be fun for them,” explained Lynn Marie Hopfensperger, Community Development Officer.
The picnic at the ballpark features at least 50 volunteers from Fox that play outdoor games with the kids and distribute prizes; free food and tickets for the kids to the baseball game; prize envelopes with cash for the kids; and Bang for Your Buck Night with $1 popcorn and soda. This summer there will be a special appearance – Elsa from Frozen will be at the game for pictures.
“BB/BS is a wonderful partner organization, they make such a difference in young people’s lives,” said Hopfensperger. “This well-attended event aligns with our mission to “remain strong in the communities through our support and involvement.”
In celebration of summer, Redwood Credit Union (Santa Rosa, CA) is sponsoring a wide range of community events including several local county fairs and festivals and a free concert at their local university. “At community parades and festivals, we often give away fun items like logo pencils, tote bags, temporary tattoos featuring our mascot ‘Reddy the Redwood,’ and water bottles,” said Meg Cadiz, AVP, Community Programs.
One of RCU’s other major summertime initiatives are their free (and very popular) “Shred-a-Thon” events in 4 of the counties they serve, to help people securely dispose of sensitive documents. At all of their free Shred-a-Thons, RCU collects donations for local nonprofits and food banks. At the Santa Rosa Shred-a-Thon, they also offer a free seminar on protecting yourself from identity theft and fraud.
“Shredding confidential documents is one of the top measures people can take to protect themselves from identity theft, so we love providing this service to our Members and communities through our events,” explained Cadiz. “Last year, over the course of 3 shred events, nearly 2,000 people attended and we shredded over 80,000 pounds of their sensitive documents,” she reported.
RCU is founded on the principle of “people helping people” and their mission is to passionately serve the best interests of their Members, employees and communities, so local volunteer efforts, fundraisers and participation and sponsorship in community events is a natural fit. “We love the communities where we (and our Members) live and work, and we believe supporting our communities makes them a better place for everyone!” contended Cadiz.
Georgia United, partnering with Iron Mountain, is also offering a series of shred events to allow individuals to safely and securely destroy personal documents at select Georgia United locations over the next few months. They give away a flash drive attached to marketing card promoting Georgia United’s free identity theft checking.
“Georgia United seeks to make members’ lives easier by offering products, services and education to help meet their needs and achieve their goals,” added Wall. “We believe it is important to be socially responsible in our communities.”
School may be closed for the summer but CUs are open, and focused on students!
Oregon Community Credit Union (Eugene, OR) sponsors free events at IntroDUCKtion on the University of Oregon campus over the summer. IntroDUCKtion is the UO’s summer orientation program for new students, from June-August, during which they become acquainted with the UO campus.
The CU will be handing out “NICE” pops to new students on campus to beat the summer heat, and welcoming new-Eugenians to the area with their own branded “Welcome Bag.” The sustainable, green OCCU bag contains a map of the area with the locations of all the hot spots around town including locations of nearby OCCU branches, a handout discussing the benefits of banking at a local credit union, and five financial tips for secure banking with help from OCCU.
As a local credit union, OCCU is deeply invested in their community, and the University of Oregon is a huge part of Eugene’s economy. They view and serve the students, faculty and staff on campus as current or future members, and understand that campus events like these provide an introduction to their valuable services.
Deborah Mersino, Chief Marketing Officer for OCCU, said, “Oregon Community Credit Union has deep ties to the University of Oregon. We’re so committed that we have provided more than a million dollars in scholarship support to UO students throughout the past decade. We consider it part of our mission to reach out to new students and establish ourselves as trusted financial partners and advisers. The informational bags we’re handing out this year are our way of saying, ‘Welcome to Eugene! We want to give you a positive introduction to the city and, if you’re interested, get you started on a smart financial plan for your future.’ We want them to know we’re here as a locally owned and operated, not-for-profit financial institution, but also as a resource for them as they navigate a brand new life stage.”
Likewise, School Crashers is a unique summer program from Georgia United to help young people. It offers local elementary, middle, and high schools the opportunity to apply for a facility “makeover’ funded the CU. Since this program involves a series of community work days, volunteers receive branded t-shirts, nail aprons and cooling towels, as well as lunch and snacks provided by corporate donors.
“This program reflects our pride in being an active and responsible member of the communities we serve, and our belief that giving back reflects the credit union philosophy of ‘People helping People,’ said Wall. “We sponsor events and programs that focus on supporting school systems, financial literacy, hunger relief, and communities near our branch locations.”
Check with your CU to find out what don’t-miss summertime happenings are on their community calendar!By Cyndi Cohen