Warren Federal Credit Union in Cheyenne, Wyo., recently offered local consumers an opportunity to open a new checking account and make a difference in the community with its Do-Gooder Unite Campaign.
In the process, the credit union built its brand loyalty both in the community and with existing members and established an internal culture of caring, News Now reports as part of its "The CU Effect" series.
The $502 million-asset credit union offered $100 to the first 200 members to open new checking accounts at its Laramie branch. There were no strings attached to the offer, merely a suggestion that they "pay it forward"--that is, use the money to "do good" in the community.
When new members opened checking accounts, they were asked to enlist in the Do-Good Army. Warren Federal staff asked them to sign a pledge to "do good" and gave them a kit complete with volunteer ideas, gardening gloves, seeds, even a superhero cape.
When signed its 200th new member, it did some good of its own, donating $10,000 to Laramie Street Alliance. The credit union also assisted in a downtown beautification mural project that transformed the facades of decrepit buildings into works of art.
Steve Salazar, Warren Federal's chief marketing officer, said the idea evolved from a desire to for the credit union to establish growth in a way that was meaningful to the community.
"We're always trying to market rates, and tell everybody how we can save them money, but we don't spend enough time telling people about the good we do in the community," Salazar told News Now. "We thought we could really utilize the community to make this a bigger campaign."
While the $100 offers were directed toward new members, the Do-Gooders Unite Campaign had a far-reaching effect. For one, it gave Warren Federal an opportunity showcase its top asset--its staff, Salazar said.
The credit union dedicated little money to traditional media buys for Do-Gooders Unite and treated the campaign with a grassroots approach. The success came largely from attending inexpensive events such as the Laramie Farmer's Market and Jubilee Days so the staff had a chance to interact with the community and provide free activities like professional face painting and refreshments.
"The spirit of doing good within the community really blossomed among our staff," Salazar said.
Overall, Do-Gooders Unite exceeded the Laramie branch's new membership goals. Additionally, branch transactional traffic is currently up by 34% year-over-year from September 2013.
Perhaps, just as importantly members are voicing their loyalty to the credit union.
Among the comments the branch received:
Current members can be a part of the Do-Good Army too. Members who pledge to do good for Laramie receive a Do-Gooders kit. The members were entered to win $1,000--$500 of which goes to the charity of the member's choice. The winning member donated $500 to Interfaith Good Samaritan, a nonprofit that assists Laramie residents in need.
Salazar said the credit union has plans to bring similar campaigns to other communities the credit union serves. "Moving forward, we'll be making sure all our marketing tactics have a meaningful message and serve the interest of those make Warren successful."