‘Tis the season for holiday cheer, and while we all relish in oodles of eggnog, cozy fires, and time with loved ones, this time of year is also the perfect opportunity for credit unions to demonstrate the founding beliefs that so distinctly separate them from the rest: concern for and commitment to their communities.
Credit unions rarely miss the chance to give back to their members and help out their communities throughout the year; from Financial Literacy Month to International Credit Union Day to #ILoveMyCreditUnion Day, credit unions have these events down to an art. However, the end-of-year celebrations usually take the cake, and this year is no different. The weather outside may be frightful (or will be very soon, depending on where you are), but inside, credit unions across the country are giving their all to their members and community this holiday season with holiday events and parties, charity donations, toy drives, and contests.
In addition to these events, credit unions are also letting their members know how they can assist with their financial needs during the holiday season with offerings such as low-interest holiday loans for gifts and skip-a-pay opportunities as well as providing educational information on holiday scams and how to lock their cards in case of theft.
(However, it’s worth noting that if your credit union views this time as merely a time to promote your products and incentives but is failing to get involved in local charities, businesses, or members outside of what products you can sell them, you’re confusing concern for community with a marketing window. While givebacks, charity drives, and other holiday events can certainly function as both, they should not be reduced to the latter.)
How credit unions are spreading holiday cheer
So how are credit unions working to bring holiday cheer to their members this year? Alpena Alcona Area Credit Union in Michigan is giving back $17,000 to their community by selecting two local charities and non-profits each day to win $500. Winners have included local soup kitchens, youth programs, food pantries, veteran services, and more.
Day 15 of 17 Days of Giving Back by reinvesting $17,000 into our communities. Our first $500 donation today goes to Northern Michigan Veterans Coalition.
This group works to support and encourage opportunities for veterans throughout Northern Michigan. Thank you for all you do. pic.twitter.com/u9QOz9dJhI
— Alpena Alcona AreaCU (@_aaacu) December 22, 2022
Over in Connecticut, Sikorsky Credit Union took a much more sentimental route. On top of hosting a toy drive for children in need, they set time up for their staff to create holiday cards for the local nursing home.
Sikorsky Credit Union employees spent some time making holiday cards for residents of Bishop Wicke Nursing Home. We hope we brought them some holiday cheer! pic.twitter.com/vsfOdHvygc
— Sikorsky CU (@sikorskycu) December 21, 2022
Polish and Slavic Federal Credit Union, across all of their branches in multiple states, has been working to raise funds for the 2022 Children’s Holiday Smile drive, which supports underprivileged children in the U.S. along with children’s hospices in Poland. While the event is still ongoing, they have raised over $100,000 so far! Additionally, many of their branches hosted holiday gatherings with dancing, caroling, and a visit from Santa Claus himself.
👶Do dnia 22 grudnia zebraliśmy już ponad $100,000 ‼ Kwota wynosi $101,700.
As of the 22nd of December, we raised over $100,000 ‼ Total amount $101,700.
Great news for children's hospices. God bless. 👉https://t.co/uJzdxheNxe
— Polish & Slavic FCU (@PolishSlavicFCU) December 22, 2022
This is only a small sampling of what credit unions are getting up to this year. With toy drives, food drives, charity donations, holiday parties, volunteering, and more, there’s no end to the celebrations! If your credit union is up to something fun during the holiday season this year, let us know in the comments or submit a press release for us to share with our readers!
Last-minute ideas for your credit union
If your credit union doesn’t have anything up its sleeve for the holidays, never fear! It is not too late to start putting together a seasonal event! There are a number of last-minute and easy ways to give back to your members and community before the end of the year. Money donations, while perhaps less flashy, are great ways to support local businesses and non-profits.
Toy, clothing, and/or food drives are also perfect for helping underprivileged families during the holidays. While you might be cutting it a tad close time-wise, you can always take staff shopping for toys, food, clothes, etc., and donate them directly instead of asking the members to participate.
Bear in mind that even after the holidays, there are several methods to help out your members. As we ring in the new year, many will be looking to get their finances in order after the heavy spending of the previous month and they may have newly established resolutions declaring they do so. This is the perfect time to offer free consultations with financial wellness coaches or offer financial education classes.
Keep your members at the heart of it
No matter what you decide to do, it’s important to remember that at the very core of the holiday season, it is a timing for giving, and our members and communities should be at the heart of all we do. Not as a marketing strategy, but as an authentic and meaningful way to connect and support them.