“Good works are links that form a chain of love.” — Mother Teresa
For many organizations, a milestone anniversary provides an opportunity to reflect on the past and celebrate accomplishments of growth through the years. Some companies design special logos or buy lunch for the staff on one day. Typically, corporate anniversaries do not resonate with people inside and especially outside an organization in a meaningful way.
But at SPC Credit Union, a milestone anniversary has become an opportunity to resonate with the communities it serves in a variety of ways and over a period of more than a year – by focusing the attention on the concept of paying it forward.
75 Days of Kindness, which kicked off August 22, is the credit union’s way to give back to the community, honor its 75th anniversary, and make the world in and around Hartsville, SC a little more joyful. “We’re having fun with it,” shared Trey Ingalls, who is SPC’s sales and community development officer.
The concept is pretty simple. Each day during the work week, the credit union does something positive to impact people and the communities served by the credit union. “There are three ways we do this,” Ingalls says. “We either donate items or volunteer for cause, perform random acts of kindness in the community, or we encourage people to do something more intangible like thank as many people as they can during the day.”
In the first week of the campaign, the credit union bought ice cream for employees at Sonoco Products Company, the credit union’s founding sponsor, bought lunch for 10 people randomly, and encouraged people to do a random act of kindness during the day. SPC shares what it is doing day-by-day on its Twitter account under the #SPC75DAYS hash tag. The credit union also posts daily updates on its Facebook and Instagram accounts.
The 75 Days of Kindness initiative is the first phase of a campaign that will conclude at the end of 2017. “We’ll be doing 75 Days of Kindness until December 6, which is our founding date,” Ingalls says. “After that, we will begin a second phase called 75 Acts of Kindness, which lines up with our 75th year of service.”
This second phase will involve 75 $500 cash grants to local organizations and individuals who are planning service projects in the community. “It might be the last $500 to finish a Habitat for Humanity home, or the funding needed to complete an Eagle Scout project,” shared Ingalls. These 75 Acts of Kindness will take place throughout the upcoming year.
So far the campaign is having the intended effect of bringing smiles to faces in the community and helping others, but Ingalls says it’s also having an impact the credit union did not anticipate or set as a goal when it planned the campaign. “The staff here has really gotten behind it, and feels a great sense of ownership,” he says.
Ingalls says that employee ownership of the campaign is translating into pay it forward action within the halls of SPC. Some credit union employees put together goody bags and did other nice deeds for fellow employees on the day when the credit union encouraged the community to sincerely thank someone. “We envisioned this as a way for us to help the community, but we’re also seeing the staff pour into each other.”