Credit unions across the country are spreading love for Valentine's Day with special loan offers, giveaways, social media campaigns, contests, fundraisers for good causes and other promotions.
Delta Community Credit Union in Atlanta is hosting a Facebook contest that invites members to “tell us why you love Delta Community for a chance to win a free dinner and reservations on Valentine's Day.”
Lilly Wolcott, youth financial education coordinator at TLC Community Credit Union, helps a third-grader at Sutton Elementary School estimate how much candy is in a jar as part of a Valentine's promotion.
To launch the Facebook campaign, the $4.5 billion Delta Community partnered with GroSocial, a Salt Lake City, Utah-based social media consulting business.
For last Valentine's Day, GroSocial helped Idaho Central Credit Union to gain 4,000 new Facebook fans and 5,000 user-generated stories in just 16 days through the “All You Need is Love” contest, said Lisa Davis, social media specialist at the $1.5 billion co-op in Chubbuck, Idaho.
Social media campaigns can help credit unions organically turn fans into members, Davis said, and credit unions can achieve measurable results by defining the purpose of social media.
“It is a great opportunity to humanize the credit union online, to highlight community involvement … and open up conversations that we might not normally have with our online community,” Davis added.
Idaho Central's campaign, which asked members to send in pictures of someone or something they loved via a customized widget, used a “like-to-reveal” strategy. Users had to like Idaho Central CU's Facebook page to enter the contest (for Visa gift cards) or vote.
Idaho Central CU posted teasers on Facebook days in advance, emailed targeted members who matched up with age groups and demographics of active Facebook users, distributed “like us on Facebook” stamps to all branches and held an internal employee contest to encourage team members to share the contest on their personal social media sites.
About 70 employees shared the contest on personal sites, with one lucky team member winning a $250 Idaho Central CU gift card, the credit union said.
Energy One FCU is hosting a heartfelt fundraiser. Members can support the American Heart Association by purchasing tickets for a chance to win an Energy One cooler filled with heart-shaped balloons, chocolate candy, a bottle of wine, wine glasses, a bouquet of roses, a book of love quotes, $50 cash and a stuffed animal.
“We wanted to raise money and also give our members a chance to receive something in return to help them celebrate Valentine's Day,” said Tiffany Lovell, an accounts payable/ACH processor at the $244 million Tulsa, Okla., institution.
“I support this fundraiser because my nephew was born with a hole in his heart about the size of a nickel,” Lovell explained. “At six months, he had to have open heart surgery to patch the hole. The surgery would have not been possible without the money donated from American Heart Association for research.”
Philanthropic efforts such as raising money for good causes can help credit unions to create positive, long-lasting connections with the community and to spread the message of people helping people to potential new members, said Mindi Schwab, communications director for the Credit Union Association of New York, which is hosting a second annual statewide Valentine's Day fundraiser to benefit Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.
As part of the “Brighten a Child's Heart This February” campaign, about a dozen credit New York unions are planning staff dress-down fundraisers on Feb. 14 and many are selling heart icons in branches.
Last year, CUANY members raised $12,000 during the Valentine's fundraiser, Schwab said.
As part of its Youth Financial Literacy program, the $343 million TLC Community Credit Union in Adrian, Mich., is holding a Valentine's contest at its 16 student-run branches in local elementary schools.
To determine how much impact the financial literacy programs have on membership and revenue, the credit union has begun to track family member response, said Barb Rupley, the credit union's youth financial literacy manager.
“We filled a jar with M&Ms and the students have to guess how many candies are in the jar each time they make a deposit into their savings account, and the student closest to the exact number will win the candy,” Rupley said.
Sweetheart loan deals are also in the air this season and can be a viable way to pump up revenue.
Greater Abbeville FCU proudly proclaims on its website: “We love each and every one of our members, and we’re going to prove it.”
The $12 million, 2,500-member cooperative in Abbeville, S.C., is offering a one-day loan promotion on Feb. 14. Qualified borrowers can get loans of up to $1,400 at 14% APR for 14 months, according to the credit union's website.
At Healthcare Systems FCU, members that apply by Feb. 28 to refinance an auto loan obtained elsewhere can receive a 1% APR discount off their qualifying rate, the credit union said. To sweeten the deal, the $60 million organization in Falls Church, Va., is offering members 30 days no payment, along with a giant chocolate Hershey's Kiss or a heart-shaped box of candy, according to its website.