Pay It Forward: The Ripple Effect

Almost a year ago to the day, Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union unveiled a new type of promotion never before seen in the financial industry. They asked people, “If we gave you $10? What would you do for someone else?” For their answers, the credit union gave away $10 to people — free — with the assignment to “pay it forward.”

The credit union gave $10 to 182 people, awarding a $1,000 prize to one. For a $2,820 investment, the credit union yielded $1.3 million in tracked PR value.

Skip ahead a year, and you can see other credit unions have clearly taken note. At least three other credit unions — one in Canada and two in the United States — have recently deployed the “Pay It Forward” promotion. It would seem the “pay it forward” concept has transcended itself, creating ripples up through the industry and not just down from one credit union.

Servus Credit Union: ‘Feel Good Ripple’

The credit union then wants you to share your “feel good deeds” on their website. For each story someone shares, they are entered to win one of ten $500 donations. There’s already been over 180 “feel good deeds” submitted. You can read them by clicking here.

The initiative has its own dedicated microsite, Overall, the site delivers a contemporary take on retro-70s themes, subconsciously tapping our inner-hippie. The site is rich with creative, branded language like “keep the ripple alive,” and “let’s make ripples together.” There’s even a “Ripple Counter.”

servus-feel-good-ripple“We’re asking you to make someone’s day. Anyone’s day. All in the spirit of community. Help a stranger carry groceries to their car. Give a calling card to someone far from home. Volunteer to walk dogs for an animal shelter. Do something. Anything! Make someone feel good and inspire them to do the same for someone else.”

The site has built-in functions for people to share the Feel Good Ripple with others via popular social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Click on the hotlink to share via Twitter, and a new window will appear with an auto-populated tweet: “Join the movement. Make someone’s day and inspire them to do the same for someone else. #ripple”.

“This concept of sharing reinforces our strong cooperative beliefs,” the Feel Good Ripple microsite says. “This demonstrates just how different we are from the banks.”

Servus Credit Union’s slogan is “Feel good about your money,” so there seems to be nice brand alignment with this promotion.

Tonawanda Valley FCU – Pay It Forward

tvfcu-pay-it-forwardThe credit union is deploying an almost identical version of Seattle Metropolitan’s original Feel Good promotion.

At a special event this Thursday (October 15th), anyone who answers this question on video gets $10: “If TVFCU gave you $10, what would you do for someone else?”

A panel will select 10 finalists, whose videos will be posted on the credit union’s website. The public will vote on the best idea, and the winner will be awarded “$1,000 to use however they wish in contributing toward their cause.”

Educational Credit Union – Pay It Forward

Same basic strategy here, only it’s $20 free, with the assignment to “create your ripple and pay it forward.”

educational-cu-pay-it-forwardVideo responses to the challenge will be posted on the credit union’s YouTube account. The video with the most comments will pocket $500 and receive a $500 donation to their charity of choice.

Source: Thanks to Market Insights Insiders for bringing these three promotions to The Financial Brand’s attention via their Twitter account.

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