Community Service

Kansas CUs: We’ll Make Your Day

KCUA’s statewide awareness campaign puts into action credit unions’ people helping people philosophy.

December 01, 2013
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“You’ve made my day.” 

That was a common reaction during the Kansas Credit Union Association’s (KCUA) third annual “Make a Difference” event Oct. 9, when 17 state credit unions distributed $23,000 worth of gas, gift cards, and cash at 10 retail locations— all while promoting the credit union difference. 

The effort, which took place during International Credit Union Month, was part of KCUA’s statewide Make a Difference awareness campaign, which puts into action credit unions’ “people helping people” philosophy. 

Recipients reacted with surprise, tears, and profound gratitude. 

“One man initially took the money, but then asked us to give it to someone more in need than he was,” recalls Angie Reed, marketing/ business development manager at Kansas State University Federal Credit Union in Manhattan, which gave individuals $25 in cash. 

“Sometimes we don’t realize what other people are going through,” says Adrianne Basham, a business development staff member at Central Star Credit Union, Wichita, after one recipient gave the gift card to her son who had recently lost his job. 

Credit union volunteers coordinate activities at each location, and do not promote the events in advance. Only the association, credit unions, and the partnering businesses know when and where each event will take place. 

“Our efforts have the greatest impact when they’re unexpected, says Susan Dyer, KCUA communications director. “We want to brighten someone’s day, and we hope people on the receiving end pass it on so it has a ripple effect in the community.” 

“Teasers” were posted on Facebook and Twitter, such as, “People, not profit. It’s #theCUway. Wichita will live it on 10/9.” 

To date, Kansas credit unions have given away $45,000 through three Make a Difference events. 

More events are in store for 2014. 

Unite for Good on ICU Day 

International Credit Union Day, celebrated the third Thursday in October, brings out dozens of stories related to the national Unite for Good campaign—examples of credit unions removing barriers, creating awareness, and fostering service excellence. The campaign continues to rally credit unions to work toward the goal in which Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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