CUES Podcast
CUES Podcast 89: The Many Benefits of Using Charitable Donation Accounts to Support ‘Cause Marketing’—An Interview With Bruce Bauer and Nick Coleman
Apr 7, 2020 · 26 min
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Early on in this show, Nick Coleman explains why he’s passionate about his work as the director of strategic relationships for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. He also describes the longtime support credit unions have offered CMNH. While those stories alone are compelling enough reasons to listen to this show, this episode of the CUES Podcast also goes on to talk very practically “cause marketing” and how charitable donation accounts can support it.

Coleman defines “cause marketing” as the way an organization directs its marketing efforts both to ramp up and to highlight the good it’s doing in its community. As an example, he tells a story about a credit union in the Midwest that’s rallying youth hockey players in its community to do fundraising to support kids with disabilities and complex medical needs.

Cause marketing “is a great strategy to build affinity with both members and employees,” Coleman says. “Plus, it showcases to non-members and your community the value that a credit union brings.” He cites a figure that 79% of consumers expect an organization they do business with to actively strive to do more to support their local communities. In addition, he says, 74% of people say their job is more fulfilling when they are provided an opportunity to make a positive impact. 

In this episode, Bruce Bauer, executive benefits specialist from CUESolutions provider CUNA Mutual Group, describes his participation in an advisory committee meeting for Credit Unions for Kids, a credit union industry organization that supports Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. He presented to that group’s Orange County, California, chapter about how charitable donation accounts could be used by each of the participating credit unions to possibly add additional donations to their efforts.

More specifically, Bauer told the advisory group, and explains in the show, the National Credit Union Administration allows credit unions to expand their investment opportunities to help their charitable giving when they use charitable donation accounts as the vehicle. CUs can invest up to 5% of their net worth into a wide range of investments that are permissible with a CDA. 

“When they do that investment and they get earnings from that investment, 51% of those earnings, of that total return, have to go back into a 501(c)3 charity,” Bauer says. “That’s where CUs for Kids falls into place. The remaining 49% of that investment’s earnings can stay right with the credit union.

“We’ve seen enormous growth with this opportunity—about 127% growth in the last year in investments into CDAs. Interestingly enough … more than half the contributions of those earnings from CDAs we have out there go to CUs for Kids. … So if we can find a way to enhance their investment portfolio to earn some additional dollars through this regulation it’s going to provide additional dollars that CUs for Kids and other charitable organizations can benefit from.”

The show also gets into:

  • What credit unions are eligible to do CDAs (all federal credit unions and state-chartered organizations; some need approval from the state)
  • The kinds of investments credit unions can use with a CDA
  • Some examples of how CDAs have been used by credit unions
  • The impact of current market volatility due to coronavirus on CDAs
  • How supporting 501(c)3 organizations will be increasingly important as the world tries to find a new normal in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Tips for doing cause marketing 
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