Hawaii State Federal Credit Union is conducting its annual election for its board of directors. During this time, all 84,000 members are encouraged to vote — typically by mailing in paper ballots.
“Doing the election through paper ballots is pretty expensive,” explains HSFCU president and CEO Andrew Rosen. “For the last few years, we’ve been giving our members the option to vote online, but we never really got more than 10 percent of the vote through that channel.”
In past years, only about 1,000 votes came from online ballots.
Thus started the credit union’s twofold mission: Increase the traffic of online voting and give back to those in the community.
“What I wanted to do is figure out … without decreasing our member voting participation, figure out a way to entice members to vote online,” says Rosen. “That’s a lot cheaper for us, and we’ll donate a portion that we save when members vote online to a local charity.”
Each year, HSFCU surveys its members, and one important question always asked is: “What types of charities and organizations would you like the credit union to support?”
Member responses showed great support for organizations that focus on children, education and social causes. This year, Make-A-Wish Hawaii will benefit from the credit union’s online voting push for 2015.
Ideally, Rosen would like to eliminate paper ballots altogether, which would mean the credit union could give back even more funds to community organizations that need it.
He also feels very blessed that the credit union had a great year in 2014. “We’ve grown really fast and generated a lot of income, so it’s important to give some of that back to the community,” Rosen adds. “I want to encourage our members to vote online so we can increase our donation to Make-A-Wish.”
This year, three board seats are vacant and five candidates (David Weiss, Ryan Morita, Russell Yamashita, David “Nalu” Akaka and Rochelle Lee Gregson) hope they can garner enough votes to win.
For every vote HSFCU receives online, it will donate $5 to Make-A-Wish Hawaii up to $10,000. Voting opened March 2 and continues through April 10. According to the credit union, all eligible members are able to vote through a secure website or by paper ballot, and donations to Make-A-Wish will only be made from online votes.
For more information and candidate bios, visit hawaiistatefcu.com/election.