Credit Unions Prove a Little Bit of Kindness Goes a Long Way

If there’s anything the world needs more of right now, it’s kindness.

With a global health crisis rounding the corner of its second year with no clear end in sight and families and communities struggling to regain a new sense of normalcy, even the smallest act of kindness can make a big difference.

Earlier this month, O Bee Credit Union in Olympia launched a Kindness Contest in an effort to help members improve their mental health as well as make someone else’s day.

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“As stewards of the community we serve, we continually look for ways to bring about positive interactions,” said O Bee’s Vice President of Marketing, Lee Wojnar. “These are stressful times. We want to remind everyone that simple acts of kindness like expressing sincere appreciation, holding a door, and smiling, are good for your health.”

The contest rules are simple. To enter, members only need to visit a branch, show kindness in some way, and complete an entry form. O Bee will randomly draw a winner at each of its seven locations each week to win $100 through March 4. Soon after launching the contest, the credit union reported positive reactions from many of its members.

“Members are responding well to our Kindness Contest,” Wojnar said. “Just a week into the campaign, we are hearing first-hand accounts about how forming kindness habits has enhanced moods, improved relationships, and reduced stress.”

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An Extra Special Birthday

SELCO Community Credit Union, headquartered in Springfield, Oregon, also knows how powerful kindness can be. That’s why it celebrated its 85th birthday by committing 85 random acts of kindness to honor the support of its members and community throughout the past several decades.

“We’re always looking for new and meaningful ways to connect with our members and communities, not to mention ways to empower our team members,” said Bob Newcomb, SELCO’s President and CEO. “The 85 Acts of Kindness outreach was a chance to do just that. At the end of the day, even small acts of kindness can make a major difference — whether you’re on the giving or receiving end.”

Through a combination of planned and spontaneous acts of community kindness, some organized by SELCO and others performed independently at the whims of SELCO team members, the credit union inspired precious moments of positivity its community needed. Examples of these acts include:

  • Handing out 20 Café Yumm! gift cards to healthcare workers as they went on their lunch breaks
  • Picking up the tab for someone else’s dinner at a restaurant
  • Handing out 100 DonorsChoose gift cards that recipients could use to make a $25 donation in their own name to a local public school teacher’s classroom project
  • Restocking 12 Little Free Library neighborhood locations
  • Providing 50 free car washes to unsuspecting customers at a local car wash and to members during in-branch visits
  • Donating 30 pairs of new socks to an elementary school sock drive (random/individual)
  • Purchasing and donating pumpkins to a local after school program serving the needs of K-5 families

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Colleen Thompson, SELCO’s Director of Marketing, visited and delivered flowers to a neighbor whose wife is in a memory care facility.

“A connected community has always been important, maybe now more than ever,” said Thompson. “The 85 Acts of Kindness outreach wasn’t just a celebration of how long SELCO’s been serving others—it’s a reminder of why we do it.”

When all was said and done, what started as 85 random acts of kindness quickly exploded into 284 — a testament to the old adage, “Kindness is contagious.”

Editor’s note: During the holidays, numerous Northwest credit unions performed acts of kindness as part of their seasonal community giveback, bringing joy to those who needed it most. Read more about this heartwarming effort and other examples of community support here.

Posted in CU Difference.