Desert Schools ‘Shines’ $350,000 on Local Charities
To celebrate its 75th anniversary this year, Desert Schools Federal Credit Union said it invested about $350,000 in a campaign featuring a friendly competition among local charities.
As part of the Shine On campaign, six charities are competing for a $30,000 grand prize.
To enter the competition, dozens of non-profit organizations submitted proposals for projects focused on the arts, animal welfare, education, health, neighborhood beautification and youth development, according to the $3.8 billion Desert Schools in Phoenix.
The credit union said it awarded $7,500 to six finalists in January during the campaign’s kickoff celebration.
“The six finalists are making a real, positive impact in our communities and we want to help them further these projects by bringing awareness of each cause to the larger community as a whole,” Susan Frank, president/CEO of Desert Schools, said.
For the Shine On campaign, the credit union designed a dedicated website where the public can follow updates from competitors and vote on a favorite project. Individuals can vote once a day and are automatically entered to win prizes, including a 2015 Chevy Camaro.
More than 350,000 votes have been cast, according to Desert Schools. Voting ends in December and the grand prize-winning charity and voter will be announced in January.
“We set aside $75,000 in grant money for the six different charities, $75,000 in member prizes for monthly raffles, and $200,000 in costs to develop a marketing campaign, which included website development, a promotional video and other advertising collateral,” Cathy Graham, vice president of marketing at Desert Schools, said.
The credit union said it has pledged to give back more than $1 million to the community in 2014.
The Shine On campaign’s marketing budget included new radio, television and digital spots with a campaign song titled “We Change With We,” praising the power of working together for positive change, she said.
The campaign was designed as a community-giving initiative and not intended to deliver a monetary return on investment, but it has resulted in measurable ROI by raising awareness about the credit union’s mission, services and products, Graham said.
For the Shine On campaign, the credit union provided tailored e-newsletters to the six participating charities for their own use to help spread word.
“Through our public relations efforts, we've received more than 180 million impressions from news releases, broadcast opportunities, printed stories, online articles and more,” Graham said.
There have been nearly 600,000 page views to the campaign’s dedicated website, she added.
“Direct traffic to the Shine On site makes up 85% of total traffic sources, so we're seeing incredible success from our marketing efforts,” Graham said.
For other credit unions contemplating contests, Graham offered these tips:
“If you're going to do a contest designed to last months or more, make sure you have a great plan for avoiding fatigue and keeping your audience engaged,” she suggested. “Also, do your homework, take the time to develop the appropriate rules and run everything past your legal department.”