October 7th, 2008

SMCU Makes Big Splash with “What If…?” Event

SMCU Makes Splash with "What If...?" Event

Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union follows the 7 Cooperative Principles (explained in detail throughout this site) that guide us in everything we do. Principle #7 states that giving back to the community is an obligation. SMCU gives back to the community through our Feel Good Checking account, our partnerships and Green Loans. But we wanted to know what YOU would do to give back to your community. So on October 6, we asked Seattleites, “What if we gave you $10? What would you do for someone else?” We videotaped people’s answers (the videos are here) and handed out ten dollar bills. Now we’re following up to see if people really did what they said they would do.

The “What If” Event was an incredible success. Many people turned out to answer that question, and the event drew lots of attention. Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union was featured in nearly all the big local media outlets, including KOMO, King5, the Seattle P.I. and more. The story was picked up nationally on CNN, and positive feedback is coming in from all across the country! We could not be more pleased.

Why all the attention?
Undoubtedly, it has to do with the timing and the novelty of a credit union giving out money when other financial institutions are experiencing unprecedented difficulties. We began planning this in July, and only because the logistics of giving away money proved somewhat tricky did we push the event back to October. “What If…?” didn’t happen because of the economy, but rather in spite of it. We have been inundated with reports of people across the nation talking about the notion of doing something for someone else. It has been inspiring.

So what happened?
We met a lot of Seattleites yesterday. Some of them had very inspiring ideas and we are excited to see what they do with the $10. We’ll have lots of those ideas posted here soon, and on October 14th, we’ll begin voting to see who will receive the $1,000.

The $10 clearly meant different things to different people. We met a lot of people who talked about the urgency of feeding themselves and someone else. That simple message, and its importance to our community, is a key revelation that presented itself throughout the day.

The Ripple Effect
We are hearing encouragement from people in Los Angeles, Dallas, Phoenix, Virginia, North Carolina and all around the country. But you didn’t have to attend the event to be part of the pay-it-forward effect. People who could not attend the event are still writing in to tell us what they plan to do for someone else. It seems that many were inspired to do nice things without any compensation or recognition. At least one other credit union has expressed interest in doing a similar event of their own. Our members and employees are saying that they are extremely proud to work and do business at a credit union that reaches out to its community in this way. An emotion we plan to continue to live up to.

The Vote!
The biggest way you can still be a part of Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union’s “What if…?” Event is to take part in the big vote for the best video. On October 14, we’ll present the top 7 ideas, as chosen by all of our coworkers at SMCU. You can vote for your favorite video, as many times as you want, between October 14 and October 19. On October 20, we’ll announce the winner, and we’ll donate $1,000 to his or her cause. So tune in to www.7principles.coop next Tuesday through Friday to be part of this one-of-a-kind event.

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