CUSO Makes Charitable Giving Easy and Fee-Free

NetGiver app screens on smartphones
By Eric Berg

4 minutes

NetGiver app allows members to make safe, secure and direct donations to nonprofits.

In 2019, more than $18 billion was lost from charitable donations to credit card and platform fees. Credit unions built NetGiver to solve that problem.

NetGiver, a Minneapolis-based credit union service organization founded in 2019, is an easy-to-use mobile app that allows individuals to make safe, secure and direct donations to any nonprofit nationwide, fee-free. Because more than 7% of most charitable donations are lost to fees, credit unions that offer NetGiver save members and communities millions of dollars every year. 

Recently crowned the “Next Big Idea” by the National Association of Credit Union Service Organizations, NetGiver is the charitable-giving counterpart to PayPal and Venmo. With a built-in database of over 1.3 million 501(c)(3) organizations, member giving is as simple as a few taps on the phone, and donations are securely sent. When your members give from their CU account, their full donation reaches the charity. If they give $100, the charity gets $100. That’s how it should be, and that’s the difference CUs make. 

Philanthropy is an important part of your many members’ lives. It’s also a member retention tool, an acquisition tool and an opportunity to clearly tell the story of the credit union difference­—your “why”—to your community, your lobbyists and the governing bodies who vote to maintain the credit union not-for-profit status. 

Share Your Values

The average age of a credit union member is 53 years old. 5W Public Relations’ 2020 consumer culture report shows that 73% of this demographic say that it is important that the companies that they buy from or do business with align with their beliefs and values. NetGiver helps retain your members by supporting them in their most emotional financial decisions. 

Perhaps more importantly, 71% of the next generation of members know little or nothing about what a credit union is or does. What they know about is the plethora of fintech solutions at their fingertips, even the ability to open a fully virtual bank account with an app. They don’t necessarily see the need to go in-branch; they can have all their needs met digitally. Venmo had 40 million active accounts at the end of the first quarter of 2019, and there’s also Apple Pay, Google Pay, Facebook, Cash App, Square, Snapchat, Betterment, Credit Karma, Simple and Acorn. These are the systems millennials and Gen Z interact with daily.

How does a credit union stand out in all of this noise? Tell everyone what makes you special. Claim your piece of the fintech toolkit, but do it with credit union values. 

Of millennials, 83% agree with the statement: “It is important to me that companies from which I buy align with my values.” The credit union “why” aligns with member values. Individuals choose where their money goes, and the full donation reaches their charity, all supported by their financial institution. Many studies show that not only do millennials want to live their values through their purchases and daily choices, but 62% enjoy associating with products that show off a social or political ideology or belief. 

NetGiver started with just the simple ability to donate without fees but is growing quickly. The app offers the ability to feature your credit union’s recommended charities or foundation and to easily track and report all donations as a nonprofit, credit union or donor. Recently released is the opportunity for members to share their impact across all social channels, highlighting the charity as well as the credit union that supports fee-free giving. Social sharing is free word-of-mouth marketing and increases your opportunity to capture a new generation of members.

Built by SPIRE Credit Union and venture studio DNT BLNK, NetGiver was built out of the belief that credit unions can do better. “Credit unions were founded on the principles of ‘people helping people,’ which is why I believe that as an industry we can not only help our members with their charitable actions but be an inspiration and resource for them as well,” says SPIRE CU President/CEO Dan Stolz. 

Just a little over a year after forming the CUSO, NetGiver is making waves in the innovation and fintech arenas. Along with the honor of being named the 2020 “Next Big Idea” by NACUSO, NetGiver has received a Tekne award from the Minnesota Technology Association and is successfully building relationships with leagues, credit unions and advocates across the country. 

Fewer Fees Add Up to More Help

Credit unions using NetGiver are actively advocating for members and proudly promoting the philosophy of “people helping people.” Imagine five years from now, when credit unions across the country are supporting the community and saving millions of dollars in platform and processing fees. Thousands more abandoned puppies are being saved by local animal rescues. Hundreds of additional low-income homes are being repaired to help residents stay warm through the winter. Millions more children are receiving the basic and essential school supplies and breakfasts to focus and be successful.

Imagine the difference your credit union can make by sharing your “why.”cues icon

Co-founder of NetGiver Minneapolis, Eric Berg has worked with credit unions and companies to create products and services that engage, inspire and drive revenue. His diverse experience allows him to creatively draw conclusions and associations that are uniquely exciting and effective, and NetGiver is a confluence of his passion to create revenue-generating products and his compassion and work with charitable organizations.

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