BROKEN ARROW, Okla. (8/29/13)--Credit unions are more determined than most financial institutions to reach out to their community as part of their mission. Some don't let a small budget get in the way. Case in point: Western Sun FCU in Broken Arrow, Okla.
The $123.2 million asset credit union took a creative approach to its community outreach program, said the Cornerstone Credit Union League (Leaguer Aug. 28). It came up with "Choose My Wish," with a goal to help smaller organizations, schools and charities in need.
The credit union wanted the communities it serves to know that it was interested in helping them to continue to serve people in need, Dana Harris of the credit union's marketing department, told the league.
"We established a website called choosemywish.com and representatives from charitable organizations and schools could ask for something they needed for a cause they were passionate about," Harris said. "We just wanted to make a difference."
The credit union received 43 entries, including some from teachers who posted their wishes for items they desperately needed for their classrooms and an animal shelter seeking ID machines and used computers, Harris said.
Employees from each branch location served on the voting committee. They voted to make three wishes come true for charities that had not been on the credit union's radar before.
Western Sun FCU promoted Choose My Wish on its website and tagged all its radio spots for a planned loan campaign with a 10-second mini-commercial that drove listeners to choosemywish.com.
For its efforts, Western Sun FCU received first place in the state-level Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award in the $100 million to $200 million category, said Cornerstone CU League.
Outreach programs are one of the ways credit unions can demonstrate the value of credit union membership and their value to the community. Building awareness of credit unions is one of the three prongs of Unite for Good, the national campaign of the Credit Union National Association and the state leagues working toward a strategic vision in which Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner.