In a recently published article, CreditUnions.com featured Golden 1 CU Vice President of Communications and Community Relations Erica Taylor (headquartered in Sacramento, CA): GivingTuesday, a grassroots movement that began only a decade ago, has turned into a global powerhouse that encourages radical generosity.
According to GivingTuesday’s latest impact report, the organization raised a record-breaking $2.7 billion in the United States alone on Nov. 30, 2021, and more than 80 countries officially celebrated the day.
Credit unions, well-known for their community impact initiatives, are participating in global movements like GivingTuesday as well as local fundraising efforts. Golden 1 CU ($18.5 billion in assets) is no stranger to charitable giving and has partnered with a local foundation to match members’ generosity.
As California’s only state-chartered credit union with a statewide field of membership, Golden 1 is dedicated to making a positive impact and strengthening financial wellbeing in communities across the Golden state.
In addition to partnering with the Sacramento Region Community Foundation on the Big Day of Giving, the cooperative also encourages its members to participate in GivingTuesday and has made monetary donations to food banks across the state on this date for the past several years.
“After Black Friday and Cyber Monday, GivingTuesday is such a great juxtaposition,” says Erica Taylor, vice president of communications and community relations at Golden 1. “We encourage our members to take this opportunity to give where they live. It’s a neat opportunity to promote philanthropy with members who don’t live in the Sacramento region.”
Golden 1 promotes both GivingTuesday and the Sacramento-based Big Day of Giving via social media. According to Taylor, this year the cooperative is pivoting its own donations to meet basic needs. While still concentrating on food banks, Golden 1 is also supporting food pantries and basic needs pantries at California State University campuses in some of its major markets.
“Access to affordable and nutritious food can be a real barrier for students looking to invest in their futures and enhance their long-term financial wellbeing,” Taylor says.
The Big Day of Giving is an annual celebration of local non-profits, and Golden 1 has been part of the event since its inception nearly a decade ago.
“It’s a day where the region gets together and celebrates our local nonprofits and our community,” Taylor says.
The credit union is a low-level sponsor of the event, but to encourage members to give and to make members’ financial contributions stretch even further, Golden 1 matches up to $100,000.
“We used to proportionally match up to $50,000 in donations, but as our members’ generosity has grown so has our match,” Taylor says. “Last year we doubled it to up to $100,000.”
Many community businesses participate in the event and have their own matching pools, but Golden 1 also helps elevate the event through joint advertising, including social media, billboards, the cooperative’s website, and member newsletter.
“We want to get members excited about The Big Day of Giving,” Taylor says. “Advancing these local philanthropic efforts is something we celebrate every year.”
Indeed, the amount of member donations continues to increase year after year — social media engagement and positive member feedback also has grown.
“Our members are proud of our involvement and have been vocal about it,” Taylor says.
However, even positive efforts can stagnate. That’s why the VP encourages other credit unions to ensure they’re listening to community needs on an ongoing basis and pivoting plans when necessary.
“Keep your finger on the pulse of the community and respond,” she says. “The past few years have been hard for nonprofits and our communities, that’s why we’re now focusing more on meeting basic needs.”
Golden 1 has noticed a similar shift in members’ donations to keep up with community needs. Food banks were among the top of the proportional match in 2021; in past years, arts organizations and children’s nonprofits garnered the highest amount of member donations.
Taylor says it is important to invite members to participate in charitable giving and letting member donations guide where the credit union donates money is an important component of Golden 1’s Big Day of Giving efforts.
“However, credit unions give, inviting members to be part of the effort is something that’s worked really well for us,” she says.
This year’s GivingTuesday takes place on Nov. 29. The next Big Day of Giving is planned for May 4, 2023.
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