Becoming a Community Involvement VIP

Scott CU challenged their employees to give back to the community and received a vigorous response while the credit union experienced tremendous growth.

 
 

A major priority for Scott Credit Union ($556M, Collinsville, IL) is to be a visible regional partner strongly contributing to their community. In a sentiment shared by many credit unions, Scott excels. Headquartered in Collinsville, IL, the credit union serves an 11-county area and those who are active or retired military. In 2008 alone, the credit union contributed more than $100,000, and their employee base of 180 volunteered more than 790 hours to assist a variety of charitable and civic efforts throughout their local region.

Calling All Employees

Community involvement has always been important to Scott CU, but they decided in 2008 to take staff volunteerism to the next level. That summer, Scott Credit Union implemented their Volunteer Incentive (VIP) Program. According to Scott Credit Union’s Community Relations Supervisor Ashleigh Deatherage, they created the program “to demonstrate how important community involvement is to the organization and to encourage the staff to volunteer their time supporting local efforts.”

Throughout the summer and fall, every Scott Credit Union employee who volunteered for credit union-sponsored community events and activities was entered into quarterly prize drawings. Each employee received one entry in the quarterly drawing for each hour spent volunteering, qualifying for a December VIP grand prize drawing after accumulating 10 hours.

Management made sure that the VIP drawing prizes were substantial enough to adequately incent participation. Each quarterly VIP drawing winner had their choice of an iPod Classic, $250 gas card, one paid day off, or a digital Camera. The grand prize winner could choose from a portable GPS system, stainless steel gas grill, 42-inch plasma television, or a Dell laptop.

Adam Koishor, Chief Marketing Officer for Scott CU added, “I think the prizes and the overall idea of having an incentive program has really helped propel our staff to get excited about volunteering.” According to Deatherage, “The community VIP program exceeded our expectations, and we’re extremely excited and proud of our staff for all that they do to give back to the community.”

Multiple Community Touch Points

Touching their community in another way, Scott Credit Union’s 2nd annual golf tournament last May raised more than $10,000 to donate to the United Way of Greater St. Louis. Attracting nearly 100 golfers and dozens of area sponsors, the tournament was accompanied by a silent auction also organized by the credit union.

Samples of local sponsorships by Scott CU in 2008 include:

  • $5,000 pledge to help with construction of a new hospice home being built by the Hospice of Southern Illinois.
  • Contributed $2,500 as a sponsor of the Bob Hardy USO fund-raiser tournament held at Scott Air Force Base
  • $5,000 to help sponsor the community air show at Scott Air Force Base
  • $10,000 to the Highland Area Community Foundation to support varied local civic efforts
  • $2,500 as a sponsor of the Midwest Salute to the Arts in Fairview Heights
  • Contributed as a sponsor of the Match-Up $3,000 Dream Vacation prize at Scott Air Force Base
  • $1,000 to help the Troy Grade School PTO in their efforts to build new playgrounds

The credit union also donated $1,000 each to several other community efforts, including the Home for Our Troops project, the Children’s Miracle Network Swim-a-thon, the Edwardsville Little Tigers Football Club and the Tour de Belleville charity bike race.

It’s Not Just About the Money…

For each community activity that Scott CU supports with a donation, they also make sure that credit union volunteers are personally on hand to help out, reinforcing the credit union’s presence through the time and effort of their employees.

The credit union also sends their special marketing/promotional vehicle to community events whenever possible, a specially designed Hummer H1 to enhance their interaction with the public at many larger events. Kids like to climb into the driver’s seat to get their picture taken, which the credit union gives to them in a custom frame. For community events, the Hummer is usually accompanied by their Kidz Club mascot, Scotty the dog, and a mobile ATM trailer. They offer ATM withdrawals surcharge-free for attendees, making it available to the event’s organizers at no charge.

Emerging Opportunities

Financial institutions, businesses, consumers, and credit unions alike continue to be affected by the tumultuous economic conditions that defined 2008. Scott CU recognized several recent partnership opportunities that emerged in this troubled environment. They stepped up as a sponsor and became involved in several community events previously supported by other financial institutions and organizations in the community who could no longer participate.

When a bank backed out as a regional sponsor for the 2008 American Cancer Society Relay for Life, Scott CU saw a great opportunity to become directly involved with an extremely popular event that touched many people in their community. Many credit union employees volunteered to participate, with Scott representatives able to address the crowd at several of the supporting events. Word quickly spread that Scott CU continues to help with community events, influencing several new causes to approach them with upcoming sponsorship opportunities.

Driving Tangible Results

Primary objectives for Scott Credit Union during 2008 included increasing their membership, loan volume, and deposits. Emphasis on heightened community involvement closely played into this strategy, and the credit union achieved outstanding growth across these core areas in 2008. According to new member surveys collected in the last few months, the most frequently cited reason for joining the credit union has become word of mouth.

According to Koishor, “We understand the power of word of mouth advertising and made a strong effort to be visible in the community and top-of-mind when people have financial needs.” He added, “Our community involvement adds another layer to our marketing portfolio as another way people see our name, logo, and hear why we are a better solution when it comes to financial services.” They also succeeded in getting the local media to pick up several of their press releases and cover some of the events.

For their second annual golf tournament, Scott CU was awarded first place in the $200 to $500 million asset category for the Illinois Credit Union League Dora Maxwell Award competition, which honors the work of credit unions in their community.

“We are very proud of the work we have done to give back to the community and to raise money for organizations like United Way that help so many people in our area,” said Deatherage. “It’s nice to be recognized with the award, but the real happiness comes with knowing that we are able to build on the credit union philosophy of People Helping People.”

 

 

 

Aug. 3, 2009


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