Members are the very heart of the credit union. They are the inspiration and motivation behind the credit union’s every move, especially during the holiday season.
As Thanksgiving approaches and we all find time to reflect on the people, memories, and things we are grateful for, credit unions should find time to take part as well and use the opportunity to show their members, community, and staff that they appreciate and are thankful for them.
Members and community
Starting with your members, there are a number of quick and easy ways to convey gratitude that amount to more than a social media graphic. Taking the time and energy to do something meaningful to express thanks will not only benefit your members but the credit union as well. Here are a few simple ideas to get you started:
With the ever-increasing prices of groceries, it may be difficult for some families to afford the large feasts that usually accompany the holiday. Large turkeys alone can reach upwards of $60, not to mention the other traditional Thanksgiving dishes such as stuffing, green beans, pies, etc.
While your credit union may not be able to lower food costs (it would be really impressive if you could), you can lessen the burden on your members by starting a food drive to help provide for those in need. If you cannot start your own, find a local food drive you can support and promote! This will help you give back to the community as well.
If you’re looking to do something a little less time-consuming than a food drive, consider hosting a giveaway with grocery store gift cards or cash as the prize. While you’re not directly putting food in the member’s hands, a giveaway will achieve the same goal of helping members afford necessities this holiday season.
Gift cards and cash also offer more flexibility for the members and allow them to spend the money on what they truly need. However, depending on how many prizes you choose to have, the impact may be smaller than a food drive, as fewer people are helped.
Credit unions services
It’s also important to remember that after Thanksgiving, many members will begin preparing for the upcoming holiday season. As they start their Christmas shopping or make travel plans to visit loved ones, consider how your credit union can start amping up support during this time.
Do you have financial wellness or financial planning meetings available? What services—whether a savings account or a new credit card with a low APR—can you offer? It’s also a good opportunity to promote any Christmas Club savings accounts you might have in order to help members be more prepared next year.
Giving back to employees
If members are the heart of the credit union, the staff is the backbone. As such, credit union employees deserve a show of gratitude as well. Perhaps your credit union finds many ways throughout the year to express your appreciation for all your team does, but that doesn’t mean you should let the opportunity pass you by.
If you’re looking for something a little bigger to say thanks, consider closing the credit union on Black Friday. Many credit unions have already chosen to do this, allowing their staff members extra time to spend with families and loved ones. Plus, members out shopping will still have access to ATMs and potentially ITMs (depending on the credit union and branch), so they won’t be left in the lurch.
If it is not possible to be closed that Friday, consider having something prepared for those who need to come in on the day. Put together a staff meal or host a few staff giveaways (similar to the member ones) so they can join all the shoppers after they get out of work. If you’re hoping for something even simpler, a handwritten note to each employee thanking them for all their work throughout the year can go a long way.
At the end of the day, whichever way you choose to celebrate the holiday and show your credit union’s thanks will be great as long as it is genuine.
But of course, it’s important to practice what you preach, and we here at CUSO Magazine are grateful for all of you—our readers who motivate us every day. Thank you for your continued support! We hope you all have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving.