WASHINGTON (12/18/14)--It's hard to put a price tag on a miracle, but nearly a half-million dollars raised in one day might be getting close.
Shop for Miracles, a one-day event to raise funds for Credit Unions for Kids (CU4Kids), amassed more than $450,000 thanks to the widespread participation from credit unions nationwide.
The fundraiser was held on International Credit Union (ICU) Day in October.
Through the daylong event, which took place in coordination with the Credit Union National Association and the World Council of Credit Unions, credit unions pledged 25 cents, or a different predetermined amount, to their local Children's Miracle Network (CMN) Hospital for each transaction made by members with their credit union-issued debit or credit cards.
"We far exceeded our expectations for the inaugural year of this program at a national level; we had over 100 credit unions from 33 states participate," said Joe Dearborn, senior director of CU4Kids with CMN Hospitals. "Included in the $450,000 projection is over $100,000 from CO-OP Financial Service's Miracle Match program, which provides matching dollars for approved credit union applicants."
In addition to raising funds for CMN Hospitals, the event also led to stronger credit- and debit-card activity during the day for credit unions.
Desert Schools FCU, Phoenix, with $3.8 billion in assets, reported a 33% increase in transaction volume on Shop for Miracles day.
"We promoted Shop for Miracles with an online banking banner, a social media post (and print materials) for our branches to hand out to members in advance of the actual day," said Ron Amstutz, executive vice president at Desert Schools FCU. "Our members responded. They understand how important giving back to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals is, and they embrace this fundraiser enthusiastically."
The uptick in activity was not unique to Desert Schools FCU either--of the 54 credit unions to respond to a survey about the event, only 14% said transaction volume had not increased.
Other highlights from the event included Florida Customs FCU, Tampa, Fla., with $9.4 million in assets--a credit union that doesn't issue credit cards, given its size--donating $1 for every debit card transaction made by its members on the day.
"Even though we are a small credit union, we know every dollar makes a difference, and we are proud to support our local CMN Hospital," said Leianne E. Harden, Florida Customs FCU president/CEO.
The largest donation came from SchoolsFirst FCU, Santa Ana, Calif., raising $60,000 on the day.
"Both ICU Day and CU4Kids are integral ways credit unions 'Unite for Good' to create awareness about our industry," said Jill Tomalin, deputy chief of staff for the Credit Union National Association.
Efforts to support Credit Unions for Kids march on, meanwhile.
Credit unions and their members can contribute to the cause through the Credit Unions for Kids' Holiday Icon Campaign, which runs through Dec. 31.
Through the campaign, credit unions can order paper icons in fun, holiday-themed shapes at no charge. Then, credit unions can encourage members to donate dollars in exchange for writing their names on icons to display at their branches.