Finance Center FCU Launches Site To Assist Other Non-Profits

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INDIANAPOLIS-Finance Center FCU here has launched Shift Indiana (www.shiftindiana.com), a website that calls attention to nonprofit groups throughout the region that share the same "People helping people" philosophy as CUs.

Michael Hostetler, senior marketing manager for the credit union, said that Finance Center has done considerable social media work over the last few years-including blogging, Facebook and Twitter-but was "looking for a way to use those tools toward some social purpose and explain what the credit union movement is all about. The objective is to put the 'People helping people' philosophy into practice."

Hostetler explained that many at the $392-million, 42,000-member credit union had been inspired by the "Change Everything" project launched by Vancity Savings Credit Union in Vancouver, B.C., and hoped to do something similar for the Indianapolis area.

While the site is named for the state rather than the city where the CU is based, Hostelter said that-at least initially-most of the partner organizations and events will be based in central Indiana. But by including the entire state in the project, he said, the credit union hopes to include groups outside of the confines of its Marin County community charter. "We wanted to make sure we had a bigger reach and can allow ourselves to grow," he said.

Shift Indiana is being promoted via Finance Center's Facebook and Twitter pages and Hostetler said he hopes the nonprofits who take part will also talk the site up on their own social media feeds. "We're trying to do it as grassroots as possible so that we can explore the way we can use social media to get the credit union mission out."

One of the goals, he said, is to increase the institution's visibility in the social media realm, and he said that they hope to increase their Facebook and Twitter followings significantly by the end of the year. "It gives us another way to reach the community and get our brand identity out there," he said.

Additionally, the credit union also hopes to offer volunteer opportunities and use the site to partner with other like-minded groups.

"Our hope is that we can find some shared missions," said Hostetler. He offered the adult literacy group IndyReads as an example of one of the groups that has already partnered with the credit union, and said that alignments like that have the potential to pay off for the CU.

"IndyReads and the type of people they serve, I'm sure that some of them are in need of some basic financial services and financial literacy, and it's my hope that the credit union can reach out to some of them," he said.

There is no cost for nonprofits to participate, although they are asked to help contribute content to the web site. The only cost to the credit union, said Hostetler, was the minimal fee of getting the site up and running. "We're just excited to promote other great organizations in the area that may not be getting the attention they deserve," he said.

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