CO-OP Financial Services has launched a corporate social responsibility program for credit unions that provides turnkey, impactful community initiatives to advance their mission of empowering people’s financial well-being.
The initiative, CO-OP Purpose, “combines social mission with innovation to give credit unions a unique way to capitalize on their opportunity to attract consumers looking for both qualities in a financial institution,” says Samantha Paxson, CO-OP’s chief marketing officer.
“The program extends our movement’s traditional commitment to ‘people helping people,’” Paxson adds, “and includes financial literacy education outreach, philanthropic and charitable giving, new ways of collaborating with colleagues and consumers, and access to research on the business case for corporate social responsibility.”
According to the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer, public trust in business has fallen to the lowest levels since 2008. Organizations that enhance their net positive contributions to society are more likely to earn consumers’ trust.
At CO-OP’s THINK 16 conference on Thursday, Perry Yeatman, CO-OP’s external director for mission measurement, will speak to attendees about how corporate social responsibility programs can be profitable. She will offer examples from companies such as Kraft and Unilever.
In addition, CO-OP has commissioned a study by Mission Measurement to look at the business case for such programs specifically for credit unions. The study’s results will be available this summer.
Another arm of CO-OP Purpose includes marrying the financial technology (fintech) revolution with mission by partnering with the National Credit Union Foundation and other potential partners on two new financial literacy programs:
The CU Network + Library Network Coaching Program (currently in beta), bringing financial literacy to a trusted community hub—the local library. Libraries and credit unions will partner to educate people on improving their financial lives. This initiative was one of the winning ideas from the CO-OP THINK Prize 15. Founded in 2011 and sponsored by MasterCard, the CO-OP THINK Prize aims to inspire creative thinking about leading issues in financial services.
The Credit Union + Yoobi Classroom Initiative, in partnership with the socially driven school supply company. Upon completion of feasibility studies, the initiative will enable credit unions to donate financial literacy kits along with Yoobi classroom packs to underprivileged schools. CO-OP’s work with Yoobi stems from a THINK 15 presentation by company co-founder Ido Leffler.
In addition to the two financial literacy initiatives, CO-OP Purpose incorporates existing social responsibility initiatives, including:
The Credit Union Innovation Project , in partnership with OpenIDEO and powered by MasterCard. This initiative gives credit unions and OpenIDEO’s global community the means to collaborate and execute ideas, generating unique connections between consumers and their financial services provider.
This program builds on the success of the CO-OP THINK Prize 15, in which collaboration between credit unions and OpenIDEO innovators generated several financial inclusion projects. Two elements are central to the project: A fellowship program and specialized tools for credit union employees to create the future of human-centered financial services.
CO-OP Miracle Match, a $1 million annual matching program that encourages credit unions to conduct fundraisers for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. CO-OP matches the sums generated by these fundraisers via CO-OP Miracle Match, and offers in-product donations via solutions such as Sprig by CO-OP, ShopSPOT rewards, and Charitable Giving at the ATM. This program helps children at hospitals local to the participating credit union, regardless of ability to pay.