How CU4Kids Became the Children’s Miracle Network‘s 5th Largest Donor

October 27, 2022

  • Credit unions across the country joined forces to raise funds to help children’s hospitals deliver a better experience for kids. Over the past 26 years, the organization — called CU4Kids — has raised $165 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, making credit unions CMN HOSPITALS’;s fifth largest fundraising partner.
  • If credit unions were to showcase the real-life stories about how the funds helped patients have better hospital experiences, it could motivate more credit unions to join this mission.
  • Credit unions are more willing to donate money for a good cause than most fortune 500 companies. They set a gold standard in giving and having a significant social impact, and they don’t do it because it’s something they should do — they do it because it fits the credit union ethos of “people helping people.

According to Nick Coleman, the Director of Strategic Partnerships at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, sometimes a child’s life doesn’t need to be saved — it just needs to be improved. That means giving them a better stay at the hospital and helping them cope with stress through activities and family support.

“[Hospitals should be] able to provide them the small comforts that you wouldn’t necessarily expect from a hospital like allowing comfort for your family, being able to have them stay with you or near you, providing vending machine tokens so that you can have free food, or child life programs, where they bring in experts to draw with the children or, in fun ways, train and educate them on what to expect in this upcoming surgery. That kind of impact is real, and it’s important,” suggested Coleman.

Credit unions across the country host different fundraising events to collect funds for hospitals — from karaoke contests to golf tournaments. However, as this modern era calls for more innovative and tech-driven ideas, organizations now leverage technology and digital banking to raise funds, and so far, this initiative has provided significant outcomes.

This article tells how Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, with significant help from credit unions, enhance children’s experiences during hospital treatments.

Credit Unions Keep Giving

Credit Unions for Kids has raised $165 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, making them the fifth largest CMN HOSPITALS fundraising partner. The idea of CU4Kids arose from the need to recruit more credit unions across the country to help raise funds for local children’s hospitals. In 1996, the concept of CU4Kids came to life, and ever since then, it has been focused on a single goal: to help hospitals provide a better experience to children.

“CU4Kids was born in Portland, Ore., in the ‘80s. Over the next few years, we saw credit union communities in Florida, Texas, and Southern California start fundraising for their children’s hospitals under the name of Credit Unions for Kids. At its very essence, CU4Kids is the brand that unites credit unions in giving to children’s hospitals across the U.S.,” confirmed Coleman.

Many Paths to Success

According to Coleman, CU4Kids has been so successful in its fundraising because of its unique ideas for collecting funds in more innovative ways that go beyond traditional fundraising dinners and similar events.

“When you think of CU4Kids, it’s centered around these collaborative events, We always look forward to ways that we can bring people together. There are local golf tournaments, too. The Minnesota credit unions have an annual karaoke event, credit unions in Atlanta have a Bowl-A-Thon, and in Austin, Texas, they have a Topgolf event, ” said Coleman.

Recently, CU4Kids has started using more technology in its fundraising, with significant results. For example, credit unions came up with a “Give on the Go” digital program, which is expected to increase donations by making it more convenient to give.

“We’ve been working on taking the concept of members donating a dollar at the branch to purchase one of those paper Miracle Balloons and bringing that to the digital space. So, instead of being in the branch where members are no longer banking as often, we bring that concept to online and mobile banking. When you’re logged in, there is a pop-up where you can click and donate $1 to your local Children’s Miracle Network hospital,” said Coleman.

Another great campaign is planned for April when credit unions will be asked to donate a portion of their ATM transactions to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. This is quite an easy and efficient way of fundraising, and some credit unions have already committed.

“We have a couple of credit unions, and I’ll give them a shout out. Wescom in Southern California and Desert Financial in Phoenix have been donating a dollar of their ATM transaction fees for years. They’re large credit unions, but they each raise over six figures, and it’s pretty remarkable,” confirmed Coleman.

Fundraising in a Pandemic

COVID-driven circumstances have affected every aspect of our lives, but they have undoubtedly had the biggest impact on healthcare. Nonprofits and credit unions have noticed a dip in fundraising, resulting from decreased business performance over the past couple of years.

“We’ve seen a slight dip in fundraising, and our children’s hospitals are impacted. CMN HOSPITALS is hoping to raise as much money as we can for them during this time. What we were focusing on is how we can help get hospitals back to functioning how they were pre-pandemic or how we can get them functioning within the new reality of the world,” said Coleman.

“Kids still break their arms,” noted Coleman. “They still get sick or injured in many other ways. And hospitals still have to provide that kind of support, but they’re dealing with all these challenging issues. It’s remarkable to have seen what hospitals have gone through and gone up against during the past couple of years.”

Coleman concluded, “The doctors and nurses are so committed to providing that good experience and making kids healthy. But they need support. They need funds. I’m glad that I can work with credit unions to help provide some of that.”

This article is based on an episode of the Digital Banking Podcast, a bi-monthly podcast for credit unions, community banks, and the digital banking industry in general. The podcast explores key topics related to the financial industry — from customer experience and technology to actual trends in digital banking.

Brewing Up Something Special

At Tyfone, we are we are deeply passionate and heavily fueled by two major forces: empowering community FIs to provide their consumers with beautiful technology and lots of coffee! So in the spirit of CU4Kids, Tyfone has partnered with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals to create Java4Kids. No, it’s not a computer coding course for the young ones. It’s actual Tyfone/CU4kids co-branded coffee that will be sold online, with all profits ($5 per bag) going directly to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Order your coffee today!