Charitable giving an extension of Telhio’s mission to serve the community

Telhio Credit Union believes in giving back to the Central Ohio community because doing so not only supports its customers, but also its member owners.

Telhio membership is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in Franklin County and select surrounding communities. The credit union is a full-service financial institution offering services and products that meet the financial needs of individuals and businesses− from personal checking, savings and mortgages to payroll services, corporate lines of credit and credit cards.

“Because we believe that our credit union is here to serve the financial needs of our community, we created our charitable giving and community support program as a natural extension of this fundamental belief,” says Karen Daniels, vice president of member services at Telhio.

Telhio has given nearly 1,500 volunteers hours and $35,000 in contributions to a variety of local charities, including Lifeline of Ohio, YWCA, YMCA, the Lupus Foundation, Franklin County Children Services, and local community food pantries.

Telhio tends to focus its efforts on organizations helping children, youth, and families, but also supports community development. That focus had led to a strong partnership with two charities: See Kids Dream and the Ronald McDonald Charities of Central Ohio.

“In total, we gave more than $20,000 and nearly 240 hours to these two organizations in 2011,” Daniels says.

Telhio’s partnership with the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio began in 2011, when the credit union agreed to be the first and only corporate collection point for Central Ohioans to drop off pop tabs. Ronald McDonald House recycles the pop tabs to raise funds. Thousands of tabs have been collected and recycled by both Telhio employees and its members.

“Over time, we modify our support to ensure we’re responding to the changing environment from a community needs perspective,” Daniels says. “For the most part, our program has always involved employees and members working together to achieve a shared goal.”

One modification was an expansion of Telhio’s collection efforts. The credit union began gathering items on the wish list for Ronald McDonald House beginning in mid-2011. Since then, more than 3,000 items have been collected.

The most unique partnership between Telhio and Ronald McDonald House is the result of an opportunity from daily deal website Groupon. The site’s G-Team approached Ronald McDonald House Charities when it was looking to launch a community philanthropic match program in Central Ohio.

The Ronald McDonald House Charities and Telhio developed a social and traditional media campaign to ensure that the former’s supporters were registered with Groupon and ready to respond to the opportunity being made available by the G-team. Telhio agreed to match $10 for every $10 donated. The team effort netted $4,540 in three days for Ronald McDonald House Charities, which allowed the organization to provide more than 225 nights for families in need.

Daniels attributes the success of programs like this to Telhio’s employees.

“Our employees have to have a passion for the project or organization, so that we can share that enthusiasm with our members,” Daniels says. “Once our employees embrace the projects as their own, our members respond accordingly and it is a win-win for all of us.”

Daniels suggests that businesses looking to incorporate philanthropy into their operations start with their customers and employees.

“Employee engagement and involvement is critical, and letting your members/customers know what you are doing and why is also an important element to a successful program,” she says. “Additionally, we ask our partners to come to us with ideas. And we do the same, so that our fundraising and support efforts stay fresh and exciting.”

Philanthropic Pursuit is a monthly feature on The Metropreneur, powered by Community Shares of Mid OhioIs your business giving back to the community or partnering with a local nonprofit in a unique way? We want to hear about it. Contact Ryan Kovalaske at [email protected].