Members 1st Federal Credit Union is based in Pennsylvania. They have a mission to help members thrive and better the communities they serve. Where others see dollars and cents, Members 1st sees people and passions. They offer a full suite of financial tools and services that help credit union members do more with their money.

“We can’t say enough positive things about Fond. They’ve given us hours of valuable time back, and our HR team no longer has to worry about the administrative side of managing a rewards and recognition program.”

Deanna Smith
HR Business Partner


Extensive Manual Gift Card Processes

With nearly 60 branches in the Pennsylvania area, Members 1st Federal Credit Union was spending hours of valuable time manually purchasing and distributing gift cards to managers, who then gave them out to their associates. Some associates live in rural areas, and gift cards had to be inclusive and accessible to those employees. As a result, Members 1st’s HR team carefully selected specific gift cards that were relevant to each region. This meant bulk-buying was not an option and the process was extremely manual.

“It was very time consuming,” says Deanna Smith, HR Business Partner at Members 1st. “We were spending several hours a week on simply labeling the gift cards, printing out the list, dividing them out, putting them in envelopes, and taking them to the mailroom. That doesn’t even include the purchasing process.” These manual processes cut into the HR team’s workday, eating hours of time that could be spent on other tasks.

Rewards Limitations

Because the HR team at Members 1st was spending so much time purchasing and distributing gift cards, rewards options were limited. With over 1,100 members, the process of identifying which gift cards were available in specific regions was time-consuming and difficult.

Associates struggled to access rewards relevant to their locations and interests, resulting in a less successful program. “If we found gift cards that worked for one location, there was no guarantee that they would be accessible and attractive to another location,” says Smith. “It was impossible to find something that worked for everyone, so instead we spent hours of time doing it all manually.”
Additionally, most of Members 1st’s rewards were focused on gift cards, which is only one component of a holistic rewards and recognition program. Members 1st wanted personalized notes of appreciation, a wide variety of rewards, and frequent and timely recognition for associates across the company.

Tracking and Reporting

Tracking and reporting their rewards budget was a cumbersome process, and Members 1st needed a way to save time and effort. Before Fond, Members 1st tracked their rewards budget in spreadsheets, which left room for error and took hours of time. Additionally, if an associate changed branches or departments during the gift card buying process, several problems would occur. Teams would end up with either too many or too few gift cards, and correcting the process added hours of time.

“It was a time-consuming process,” says Smith. “We were labeling and counting gift cards to make sure that we had enough for each department, but if you had people that changed departments during the distribution process, certain teams ended up running into trouble and we had to duplicate our efforts.” These manual workarounds took hours of time from Members 1st’s HR team who wanted to focus their efforts on more critical tasks.


70% Increase in Recognitions Sent Over 12 Months

96% of Managers Have Sent Recognition

67% of Peers Have Sent Recognition

6 Hours of Work Saved per Bulk Recognition Occasion

Program Automation

Fond saves Members 1st hours of work annually by eliminating their manual processes of buying and distributing gift cards. The extensive catalog available on Fond provides thousands of gift card options at the click of a button, and Members 1st no longer has to deal with the hassle of purchasing and distributing gift cards. Associates simply choose which reward they would like and redeem it in an instant. Gift cards are emailed to associates within minutes so Members 1st no longer has to stress over tracking and distribution.

“Fond is great because on the administrative side of things, we no longer have to worry about where associates are located, whether they have changed departments, or labeling and mailing out gift cards on time,” says Smith. “Fond handles all the work for us and saves us hours of time.”

Fond automates several additional programs for Members 1st, like their referral bonus program, job certifications, service awards, and welcome rewards for new hires. Any associates who refer someone to the credit union receive a referral bonus, and this bonus now comes in the form of Fond Rewards points. If an associate completes a new certification for their job, they also receive Fond points. Lastly, when a new associate joins Members 1st’s team, they are automatically rewarded with Fond points to welcome them to the credit union.

A Variety of Rewards

Fond offers thousands of rewards, from gift cards to items and experiences. Associates at Members 1st can even exchange Fond points for additional PTO, which has been a popular reward redemption company-wide. Fond’s expansive catalog ensures that any Members 1st associate can find and redeem what they want seamlessly. “Our associates love Fond because they’ve gone from struggling to find what they’re looking for to picking anything they want,” says Smith. “They are constantly finding ways to receive more Fond points.”

In fact, associates are so excited about Fond’s offerings that Members 1st’s HR team has developed creative ways to promote the platform, like featuring hidden messages in their HR newsletter. Associates who find these messages receive additional Fond points that they can use to redeem for rewards. Not only do associates love receiving extra Fond points, but the percentage of people who read the HR newsletter has also increased — a win-win for Members 1st.

Improved Rewards Automation, Reporting, and Strategy

Members 1st can easily schedule rewards to send out on important dates, like work anniversaries or special recognition events (i.e. Associate Appreciation Day). “All we have to do is upload a list, which saves tons of time,” says Smith. “I don’t have to manually give those rewards out anymore, and from an administrative standpoint it’s a great time-saver for my day.” Fond automates the process of sending rewards for these milestones so Members 1st’s HR team can focus their efforts on other critical tasks.

Members 1st uses Fond’s reporting to strategically inform their rewards and recognition program. “We are passionate about involving managers in the recognition process,” says Smith. “We love Fond’s reporting because we can identify which managers are excelling at recognizing associates and strategize ways to encourage other managers to increase their recognition activity. Our managers are more aware of the importance of recognizing team members, and recognition is more widespread at Members 1st than what it was previously. ”

Additionally, Fond’s reporting helps Members 1st track and manage their rewards budget. Instead of tracking spend in spreadsheets, Members 1st monitors their rewards spend within the Fond platform, making budgeting easy and transparent for their Finance team.

Continuous Innovation

Fond’s Customer Success team has been a true partner with Members 1st, from guiding implementation and answering questions to documenting feedback on platform improvements. Members 1st is able to consult with Fond on their specific needs and Fond can take this feedback and incorporate it into the existing product roadmap. “I love how receptive Fond is to our feedback,” says Smith. “I can offer my suggestions on features that would be helpful to us and Fond truly listens. Sometimes, we even see updates to the platform based on our feedback! It’s really amazing to see how much thought Fond puts into creating a platform that puts customers first.”