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Minnesota Bank Drives Support for Local Non-Profits

Feb 20, 2019
Audrey Wright-Cipriano
Once many community banks were touting “full service.” Today, Harvest Bank aims to improve upon that concept, to truly champion and assist their communities’ continual survival and, hopefully, growth.

Founded in 2013, after its holding company Cattail Bancshares merged two of its banks to streamline efficiencies and reduce regulatory burden, Kimball, Minnesota-based Harvest Bank offers a mix of innovative products and services to serve the needs of its retail, commercial, and agricultural clients.

True to the full-service concept, Harvest Bank actively looks for ways to spread prosperity to the citizens and communities it serves. One way it accomplishes this is by supporting the economic development of charities and non-profits in its footprint. 

Harvest Bank Chairman Bob Meyerson, who also serves as a director for multiple local non-profits, says “fundraising for these organizations is always a priority and a challenge.”

Many of the volunteer-run non-profits in his community are highly dependent on charitable donations and simply don’t have the financial resources and human capital to execute elaborate fundraising campaigns, he explains. Also, worried that recent changes to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act could make it harder to claim charitable deductions, Meyerson wanted a solution that would bring new funding opportunities to the nonprofits in his community.

As a result, Meyerson says he was pleased to learn about a new charitable giving platform being offered by ICBA Bancard while attending an Independent Community Bankers of Minnesota peer-group session.

Offered through ICBA Bancard’s long-term partner FIS, the charitable giving platform is an integrated giving solution that allows cardholders to make donations to local and national charities via a secure online portal that is hosted on a bank’s website. Whether cardholders want to support a local school on a recurring basis or quickly give a one-time gift to a disaster-relief effort, with the platform they can make quick and safe online donations.

In addition to featuring local non-profits the giving tool hosts more than 1.8 million charities and lets consumers manage all their charitable donations and tax receipts in one convenient place. The system leverages social sharing and real-time content and banks can create campaigns to support charities that are meaningful to the communities they serve and can even create matching campaigns if they choose. And, unlike other charitable platforms Meyerson researched, ICBA Bancard’s pricing structure was the most favorable with fewer contribution funds eaten up in service fees and other charges.

Ella Meyerson, Harvest Bank’s assistant vice president of marketing, says that the bank opted for a soft launch of the platform so that it could be reactive and fine-tune any issues should they arise. As part of this strategy, she took the bank’s new charitable giving platform for a test drive. Instead of asking for gifts for her upcoming nuptials, Meyerson invited her wedding guests to make charitable donations via the platform to the Living At Home Network, a Minnesota nonprofit that works to improve the quality of life for Minnesota’s elder citizens.

More recently, the bank launched a matching campaign, titled “Bank Local, Give Local,” which featured several local organizations. Ella Myerson says that it was a small campaign, but some area organizations really met the challenge with enthusiastic participation. “We look forward to our next effort with this beneficial marketing and fundraising tool.”

A true believer in the power of philanthropy to drive change, Bob Meyerson says that his goal in rolling out Harvest Bank’s charitable giving solution was to find an efficient and cost-effective means to support the community by improving the fundraising capabilities of its local charities and non-profits.

Both Meyersons agree, ICBA Bancard’s charitable giving tool provides helpful, cost-effective technology and aids in their goal of promoting the communities they serve, thereby allowing them to be much more than the sum of their online components.