Every year since I joined our wonderful industry, I’ve written an article on the various ways credit unions are reaching out to their communities to spread holiday cheer and give back to their members. The holidays are usually met with great fanfare including various toy drives, dollar donations, and community events all around.
However, as the coronavirus pandemic forced people to stay home and local business to close their doors, our industry, which prides itself on its connection with members and community, took a step back. The fanfare all but came to a screeching halt and the holiday cheer was replaced with an eerie silence. A silence that left many people wondering when they would hear from their credit union next and when things might return to some semblance of normal.
Spreading holiday cheer
While the pandemic is far from gone, it seems businesses are done letting it get between them and their customers, and credit unions are following suit. I’m happy to report that this year, the fanfare is making a comeback (albeit in a more pandemic-friendly way) and credit unions are reaching out to their communities to serve and support them this holiday season.
Credit unions from around the world showed up this year to spread holiday cheer in a variety of fun and creative ways. Below are just a few of the credit unions that put their best foot forward this holiday season.
Spirit of America FCU decided to give back to needy veterans in their community and gathered food and other supplies to donate!
— Spirit of America Federal Credit Union (@SOACreditUnion) December 20, 2021
To spread holiday cheer to those in long-term care facilities, Bayer HFCU had community members write holiday greeting cards and bring them to the facility.
Bayer HFCU’s Credit Union Next group has finished our holiday greeting card project for residents of long-term care facilities. Thank you to our staff, local school children and church members in our many credit union communities! 🎄❤️#bayerhfcu #thankyou #lovingourcommunity pic.twitter.com/Os67cDQRyc
— Bayer HFCU (@Bayer_HFCU) December 20, 2021
Donating toys and Christmas gifts to local families in need is one of the classic ways to give during the holidays, and Metro Credit Union employees were generous enough to deliver goods to 75 children!
Earlier this week, we were lucky enough to help spread some holiday cheer and make a difference for families through the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Toy Drive. Thank you to our generous employees, who fulfilled the holiday wish lists of 75 children in need! pic.twitter.com/wVCzniDSUn
— Metro Credit Union (@MetroCU) December 16, 2021
Gulf Coast Educator FCU generously donated $1,500 to the local police department to support children in the community!
🎄 Employee Giving: @HumbleISD Police Department
Our team was able to donate $1,500 to the Humble ISD Police Department to help children in the Humble community this holiday season. #EmployeeGiving pic.twitter.com/amNVB3tgF4
— Gulf Coast Educators Federal Credit Union (@GCEFCU) December 20, 2021
The pandemic has brought struggles for local restaurants and shops these past few years. To show their support, Bantry Credit Union gave away $50 every day for twelve days for members to spend on their favorite local shop!
Day 10 of our 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways. 🎄🎁
Win a €50 voucher for any local shop of your choosing 👇
1. Tell us what do you leave out for Santa and his reindeers?
2. Like and share.
— Bantry Credit Union (@BantryCU) December 21, 2021
And finally, Columbia Credit Union went all out this year and gave away not only a used car but helped local families as well!
Columbia Credit Union’s Drive Families Out of Poverty campaign is wrapping up and we will give away a used car today at 2 p.m. at the credit union! Come by to help us celebrate the difference we are making in families’ lives in Columbia! pic.twitter.com/vTuq6nbVWt
— Columbia CU (@comomoneypeople) December 21, 2021
Get your credit union involved!
Looking for ways to serve your community this holiday season? It’s not too late to get involved! Take note of the examples above or brainstorm your own way to connect with your community and support them this holiday season. Here are a few pandemic-friendly ideas:
Support members supporting the community: Reimburse members who spend money at local shops or restaurants this holiday season up to a certain amount. ATL Credit Union ran a similar campaign last year.
Donation boxes for toys and gifts: This is one of the easier (and safer) holiday options. Leaving a donations or collections box outside the credit union or in your community for people to donate to is a simple and effective way to stay connected to your community and support those who may need help providing gifts for their children.
Holiday meal drop-off: Have your credit union organize a holiday meal for those in need. Volunteers can purchase or bake meals and drop them off to families, shelters, or those who may be at a larger risk for coronavirus and struggle to get to the store.
Donate funds: Money may not be festive or creative, but it will certainly help those struggling during the holiday season. Have your credit union encourage members to donate to charity and match their donations up to a certain amount.
Forgive overdraft fees: your members are trying to get presents under the tree, food on the table, and pay the bills. Show them you understand the financial pressure of the holiday season by forgiving overdraft fees.
How did your credit union give back to members this year? Let us know in the comments below or send us a press release to share. Don’t have anything ready for this year? Try some of the ideas above or start prepping for next year!