Fundraising and putting on events during the best of times takes a lot of tenacity. At OCCU we have first-hand knowledge of this, and we have seen our nonprofit partners put their imaginations and passion to work to create engaging galas, auctions and relays that help keep our community thriving. Many nonprofits we know and love have had to ask themselves new questions as needs have risen and fundraising has changed due to COVID-19:

  • “What can we offer our sponsors to maintain donations?”
  • “How are the needs for the services we provide changing?”
  • “Is there still a safe way for us to collect and distribute donations?”

On the other side of these questions are organizations like OCCU who are eager to enrich lives through direct impact. Sure, we love to raise our paddles and be in a room filled with laughter and good food in the name of giving back — but more than that we want to continue to support youth education, financial literacy and basic needs for the communities we serve where they are at right now.

As a community partner, we recognize change is happening for both nonprofits and sponsors. Here are some ways that nonprofits are adapting to COVID-19 changes.

1. How are the needs for the services we provide changing?

FOOD For Lane County (FFLC) — Before COVID, FFLC was receiving requests for emergency food box deliveries two to three times per month. COVID caused many community members to be out of a job and/or stuck at home, after this shift FFLC begin to receive requests for food deliveries four times or more each day. Something that was available on a case-by-case basis has transformed into a critical program.

With this increase in need we were able to respond. We provided an emergency donation through the OCCU Foundation. This inspired us to kickstart the Give where you live campaign: where OCCU credit card holders purchased groceries in the months of July and August, we committed to match their rewards and donate up to $10,000 in support of Food for Lane County, Marion Polk Food Share and Wilsonville Community Sharing.

2. Is there still a safe way for us to collect and distribute donations?

St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) — For nearly 20 years, OCCU has partnered with St. Vincent de Paul to help students throughout Oregon be school-ready by collecting school supplies and donating and raising funds. While school looks drastically different this fall, SVdP learned that school districts supplies will still be in high demand.

In order to safely collect and distribute the supplies, SVdP accepted donations online (notate ‘school supply drive’ in specific program field), and then worked with school districts to distribute the supplies in conjunction with the meal programs schools are providing to families.

3. What can we offer our sponsors?

Looking Glass Community Services — Many events have gone virtual, but there are a few opportunities to have a safe in-person event – especially while the PNW weather is still blues skies and sunshine. Looking Glass just held its third annual Hike For Hope at Mt. Pisgah on Aug. 8. The event raised over $5,000 in support of their runaway and homeless youth programs.

As a sponsor, OCCU was able to offer registration to some of our team members, giving them an opportunity to give back and get out into nature. When considering what you can offer your sponsors, providing their staff an experience along with the opportunity to give is truly a win-win.

At OCCU we are a part of the communities we live in and serve. We understand that part of being there is lifting the nonprofits we believe in, in order to create a spirit of equity and inclusion both in times of uncertainty and in times of success. Sometimes support from OCCU can be monetary, sometimes we’re your greatest cheerleader, we’re always your credit union and we’re always ready to get creative when it comes to finding financial solutions for you and your cause.