Georgia Heritage Federal Credit Union
Giving is Fun School Supply Drive
By Donna Adinolfe
BACKGROUND: In an ongoing effort to create community while helping the community, Georgia Heritage Federal Credit Union held its Giving is Fun School Supply Drive.
“Part of creating a true culture of community involvement and investment is helping our staff become genuinely engaged on a personal level in the work our credit union is doing,” said Regina Pointer, Marketing Manager of Georgia Heritage FCU, Savannah, GA.
This community-wide impact was key to the success of the program. Staff members at all four participating branches knew children in their immediate areas who would benefit from their efforts, not just children from one school that might be across town from their particular location.
WHAT THEY DID: Georgia Heritage FCU partnered with a local radio station, G100 Throwback Station, and joined forces with Blessings in a Bookbag, a Savannah-based nonprofit organization designed to feed elementary school children who are in need.
To further engage their staff, they implemented a contest, encouraging employees to decorate collection bins. Instead of just one person at each branch coordinating collection efforts, everyone participated. The two smaller branches each created one collection bin. Their two larger branches divided into teams, which included not only frontline staff (tellers and members service representatives), but back office staff as well (human resources, accounting, compliance, IT and the call center).
The winning team made a music video to play in the lobby to attract attention to their collection bin. Because they were so excited about the project, they naturally talked about it with members, and member donations soared.
RESULTS: “With the help of the radio station’s publicity and word of mouth from staff and members, the effort spread beyond our members to the community at large,” Pointer said. She adds, “The effort actually brought people who were not members of our credit union into the branches to drop off donations, giving us the added benefit of being able to introduce them to what services we provide. The response to this project was tremendous!”
Participants donated the school supplies to Blessings in a Bookbag, who distributed them to economically disadvantaged children throughout the Coastal Empire area.
The team was able to deliver over four barrels of school supplies to Blessings in a Bookbag, and the Georgia Heritage staff was energized and inspired to dive into other community involvement efforts.
KEY LESSONS LEARNED:
- When staff becomes personally vested, their excitement spreads to members, and the impact a credit union is able to make grows exponentially.
- Involving the entire staff fostered camaraderie and pride. “The staff was incredibly enthusiastic in their collaborative efforts, exceeding our expectations with wonderfully creative displays,” Pointer said.
- Efforts to give back to the community actually can help staff members strengthen their internal community.