Philosophy in Action: How First Tech Increased its Give Back

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Like many other credit unions across the nation, First Tech Federal Credit Union supports charitable causes including Credit Unions for Kids, a non-profit organization that raises money for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.

The majority of the $9.4 billion-asset credit union's fundraising efforts derive from its annual golf tournament — The Dave & Dan Classic, named after former National Football League players Dave Wilcox, all-star linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers; and Dan Fouts, who as San Diego Chargers quarterback, led the NFL in passing yards four straight years.

This year, the Mountain View, Calif.-based credit union set a stretch goal more than $1 million and managed to beat it by raising $1.13 million, an 18% increase over 2015. Here's how First Tech did it:

The credit union leveraged industry and vendor partnerships.

"We are very, very lucky to have some amazing support," said Nicole Frisch, community engagement director.

Eight other credit unions and more than 80 of its vendors sponsored the tournament this year. Already thinking about the future, Frisch said First Tech wants to build off of that success and has set a goal of doubling the number of credit union sponsors next year to 16.

"We are looking at different opportunities to engage credit unions of all sizes for this event," she added.

First Tech also got members involved, encouraging them to donate to CMN and making it simple to give money in branches, through social media and for the first time this year—via text, Frisch noted.
The credit union raised over $30,000 through branches and more than $1,600 online.

Getting Staff on Board

Some 57% of the credit union's employees were enlisted to help and raised nearly $24,000. To build employee awareness, First Tech reviewed fundraising efforts during meetings, provided branch kits with talking points as well as CMN hospital donation balloons, posted regular updates on its intranet, identified development champions to keep the momentum going and shared photos of employee fundraising activities, according to Frisch.

The credit union took a multi-channel approach to encourage donations and sponsorships, including e-mailing over 200,000 members. And the e-mail campaign resulted in a nearly 315 "unique open rate," according to First Tech.

First Tech also reached out to the hospitals themselves. "To help raise awareness and funds for our CMN partner hospitals, we created social media kits outlining suggested posts for pre- and post-event contact," Frisch noted. "Many partnering hospitals spread awareness of the tournament and followed up sharing the results that we exceeded our goal of raising $1.1 million."

The credit union said it plans to announce next year's fundraising goal in January.


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