DES MOINES, Iowa — Though dwarfed by the $3.5 million Katrina collection relief effort of three years ago, national credit union contributions, many coming on-line and directed toward Iowa flood victims, have now topped $224,000, foundation leaders reported Tuesday.

While the $224,000 figure is gratifying particularly coming less than two weeks after river flooding began its devastation of major eastern Iowa cities, the head of the National Credit Union Foundation, Steven M. Delfin, expressed surprising regret “that charitable donations have not been as strong as we’d like.”

He said the Iowa donations made through the Iowa Credit Union Foundation and NCUF’s CUAid program, designed to collect from a broad base of employees, volunteers and members for disaster relief and to be distributed in the Iowa and Midwest flood calamity, is essentially “modest.”

That is the case, he said, as compared to the potential of money to be raised from the industry if more CUs joined by their trade groups took a more active role in soliciting online contributions using websites and various marketing vehicles.

Delfin, a former national Red Cross fundraising executive before taking the NCUF job, says the way to raise more substantial funds lies “in more methodical, grassroots fundraising” demonstrating meanwhile the strong CU commitment to helping its own. That effort can really be led, he said, by CUs “closest to the areas” affected by disaster.