Giving makes sense
Giving generously to local nonprofits is a banking tradition.
Community banks know that giving is an investment in their
communities. Community banks often have firsthand knowledge
of the best-run local organizations and their need for support.
Giving makes sense to consumers. According to Cone Com-
munications’ 2013 Social Impact Study, “The U.S. consumer likeli-
hood to opt for brands associated with a cause, given comparable
price and quality, has jumped from two-thirds of the population
in 1993 to nearly the entire population in 2013. Nearly all U.S.
consumers say that when a company supports a cause, they have
a more positive image of the company (93 percent)—up from
85 percent in 2010 and 84 percent in 1993. Americans say they
are also more likely to trust (90 percent) and would be more
loyal (90 percent) to companies that back causes.”
A giving campaign doesn’t require additional money. Often
you can repurpose dollars that were already budgeted for con-
tributions to nonprofits as the prize for your charitable-giving
contest. Offering the money as a prize can provide significantly
more exposure and excitement for the nonprofits than simply
sending a check.
How to do it
Find an idea that will resonate with your target audience. Brainstorm with your team and with others to see what’s important
to your market. What’s going on around your community right
now or when you plan to run the contest?
Match the idea to your brand’s positioning. A giving contest
will amplify your bank’s brand tremendously, but it has to be a
smart fit. A contest can’t suddenly make your bank feel young
and hip if everything else you do shouts serious and stodgy.
How much money can you give away? Make the amount
attention getting and worth going after for the nonprofits. You
can have multiple nonprofits be the beneficiaries, but make sure
the amounts they win are still worth competing for.
Test the concept on a small subset of the target audience.
Learn answers to questions such as: Would participating in this
contest be worth their time to promote it? Is the prize worth
the effort? Does it seem easy enough for their fans to participate
in? Are there too many obstacles to receiving or using the funds
they may win? Did the test group like it enough to participate?
Determine how to run the contest. Use a third-party application to host a Facebook contest (though Facebook now does
allow you to do simple contests through the use of Likes and
Comments). Third-party apps can be out of the box or custom-built. It’s best to use a third party that has experience in contest
apps so you know that its tools have been tested and its rules
have been reviewed. Companies such as Café Give, Woobox,
Wildfire and Offerpop are just a few of the options to consider.
Tips: Make sure potential recipients are aware of the contest in
advance of launch. Make it easy for people to participate. Don’t
make fans jump through too many hoops to join in the fun. Don’t
make the contest drag on too long. People tire quickly of being
asked to participate every day. Make the contest worthwhile for
winners and their fans to promote.
Promote what you do widely, in whatever ways are most
appropriate, before, during and after the contest. Use as many
channels as you can to spread the word about your contest. Put
materials in your branches to promote conversations and for
people to share with others. Use other events to promote your
contest (for example, a booth at the county fair). Use your own
website, creating banners and landing pages to provide more
Don’t forget to educate your employees about the contest.
Get your staff to add a phrase to their Outlook signature on
emails that will promote the contest thousands of times daily.
The contest shouldn’t be left only to the social media team to
promote. It should be seen as an all-out full bank effort.
This is a view of
the information that
Ann Arbor Bank,
Michigan, placed on
its Facebook page
concerning its Sweet
15 Local Charity
Drive. Also shown
is a ballot for online
is a banking