Never underestimate the power of innovation and a mutually beneficial partnership within your credit union’s local community.
In Raleigh, N.C., Local Government Federal Credit Union has partnered with the UNC School of Government and the NC Local Government Information Systems Association to encourage and reward technology-based developments across local governments in the state.
Incentives will be offered to those who create innovative solutions designed to improve citizen services.
“Local governments are known for coming up with innovative technological solutions to meet their growing demands–and often in a very cost-effective manner,” said Maurice Smith, LGFCU president/CEO. “We think this program will be a unique way to inspire this kind of innovation and creativity, as well as put forth an avenue for it to be shared with others.”
The credit union will fund the program with $30,000 annually. Organizations can apply on a rolling basis for quarterly awards, which will be commemorated with a plaque of achievement, along with a feature on the presenting organizations’ websites. Applying for a quarterly award also enters an organization into consideration for the annual award–a $10,000 grant. Two $2,500 grants will also be awarded to other entries.
Program funds will also pay for an annual awards banquet and a “State of the State of Technology” e-publication, which will feature all award submissions and offer promising practices for local governments to model and implement.
“North Carolina’s local government information technology leaders are the most innovative in the country,” said School of Government Dean Mike Smith. “This awards program will recognize their daily efforts at improving the lives of North Carolinians and will make their important contributions more visible.”
Two quarterly awards will be announced for 2011; one on Aug. 1 and one on Nov. 1, with submission deadlines of July 15 and Oct. 15. All local governments and schools in North Carolina are eligible to participate in the competitive grant process.
Focused on involving locals to help improve Jacksonville, Fla., Community First Credit Union has launched an Investing in You contest. Tapping its Facebook fan base, the credit union has offered six opportunities to fund projects that make a difference in six categories: health, arts and culture, food and shelter, environment, neighborhoods, and education.
The more “likes” from Facebook audiences the more likely that idea will be chosen. Announced every two weeks, the $1,000 grant winners are selected among the ideas that receive the top votes So far three winners have been announced Natalie Nguyen and Sam Farmer for their documentary Living Out Loud, Chets Creek Elementary ARC, and Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary.
The Facebook page has become a hub for people to submit, share and vote on ideas that make things better in the community.
Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union has taken a slightly different approach to serving locals with the launch of www.moneystrongforlife.org.
The new online financial education resource has been designed to serve as the primary way in which members of the community, such as teachers, Brownie leaders, day care providers, and nonprofit organizations, seek assistance from the Lowell, Mass.-based credit union’s community education department. They can go to the website to submit a request for an in-school financial lesson, learn more about its bank at school program or sign up for various financial workshops and seminars.
“Financial education has always been the cornerstone here,” said Mark S. Cochran, president/CEO of Jeanne D’Arc CU. “The MoneyStrong For Life website is a way for us to make it easier for people to gain the financial knowledge that will not only help them but also allow them to help others.”
The website also offers a number of tools and tips that can help users in making smart financial choices, such as learning how to track expenses, using credit wisely, guarding against fraud, working toward a high credit score, and even writing a check.
To lend a hand to the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, Sunmark Federal Credit Union drew inspiration from the popular Angry Birds mobile video game to create its own game–Duck Pirates.
As part of its year-long fundraising effort, the game is the first of three versions that will be used to hopefully keep funds flowing into the Food Bank at a time when charitable donations have dropped.
“We feel that we have created a uniquely appealing product that will help Sunmark enhance contributions for the Food Bank while creating a revenue stream for future charity partnerships that provide services which are so important for the region” said Bruce Beaudette, president/ CEO of the Latham, N.Y.-based credit union.
Patterned after Angry Birds, the game, pits the Sunmark duck against the angry pirate monkeys. The main objective is for players to hurl projectiles at the monkeys knocking them off their perch and then capturing the treasure while obtaining the highest score.
The app is free to download and locals are encouraged to make a small donation and share the game through Facebook. All proceeds go directly to the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York.
Other partners include the Tri-City ValleyCats, a local minor league baseball team, for the Suggin’ SouthPaw video game, which will be promoted throughout the 2011 season during ballpark events. In addition Sunmark FCU has joined forces with local country radio station WGNA to launch Country Ducks, which will make its debut before the station’s July 9 Countryfest at the Altamont Fairgrounds. Sunmark has been a major sponsor of the event and plans to add a viral component to build awareness among area residents of the food bank.
According to Rich Meddaugh, public relations specialist at Sunmark, the app has already garnered over 30,000 downloads and created branding opportunities for the food bank and the credit union.