3/23/21 Last week, the Northwest Credit Union Foundation convened more than 70 credit union leaders, where they had the opportunity to hear from United…Read more »
Your Community and Nonprofit Partners Need Your Continued Support
As COVID-19 continues to spread across the Northwest, the role credit unions play in serving their communities is even more important. Apart from offering financial services, many credit unions provide a variety of charitable contributions or sponsorships to local organizations and serve as directors on nonprofit and community boards. Credit unions’ continued engagement with these community partners is crucial to their viability. Recently, many fundraisers and events that nonprofits depend on to raise operational and programmatic support were canceled for the safety of the community.
The Northwest Credit Union Foundation (NWCUF) has outlined several considerations for credit unions to continue to engage with their community partners as they implement response plans. Contact Sharee Adkins, NWCUF Executive Director, with ideas and questions.
Even though events may be canceled, credit unions can donate the cost of a sponsorship or the amount they may have contributed to an auction. It’s important to find ways to financially contribute to local nonprofits as they may rely on events as their main revenue source. Consider giving the same contributions to favorite nonprofits a little earlier this year. Also, consider new gifts organizations that may be providing essential social services to the community to help mitigate the effects of COVID-19.
Offer More than Money
Some smaller organizations may not have sophisticated systems to support video conferencing or large virtual giving campaigns. Credit unions that have access to digital resources or platforms that nonprofit partners may benefit from may be able to help. Host a meeting or coach them on e-payment systems. Perhaps a community partner needs expertise on budgeting to overcome upcoming revenue loss or to launch a donor recruitment campaign — credit unions can provide free financial counseling or marketing strategy sessions.
Many community organizations offer services that are relevant to credit union employees and members. While communicating to partners on product and service options available to them during this time, also inquire about what services can be shared with your members and employees regarding local resources and support systems they can utilize. Keep the lines of communication open and lean on partners’ expertise and services.
Use NWCUF as a Fiscal Sponsor
Local government agencies and charitable funds are looking to deploy resources in the community, but need a 501(c)(3)s partner to do so. NWCUF can be a fiscal sponsor, acting as a conduit for credit unions to receive funding or grant support for targeted products or services. Options could include funding for interest rate subsidies, industry-based financial aid, loan loss reserves, alternative payment structures, or innovative financial products for members and communities. Reach out to Adkins for more information.
Low-Interest, Short-Term Loans
Community organizations that have limited revenue streams may have short-terms capital needs similar to small businesses. Credit unions should communicate with local partners about their adapted finance products, even if those partners are non-members. State and philanthropic agencies are setting up response funds that may be available to credit unions to subsidize 0% interest loans or delayed-payment-options. Credit unions are encouraged to keep NWCUF informed on the resources they need to lend these products and support their communities.
Working in partnership with the Northwest Credit Union Association, NWCUF will continue to identify resources and funding opportunities to support credit unions in meeting the needs of their local communities through this pandemic.
Contact NWCUF Executive Director, Sharee Adkins with ideas and questions. She’s available by email, or call or text her at 206-265-0313.
Editor’s Note: Is your credit union giving back to the community during COVID-19? Share your stories with us! Email Communications Director, Elizabeth Baker.