Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union ($1.2B, Lowell, MA), the third-oldest credit union in the United States, celebrated its 104thanniversary on Friday, Feb. 12.
It’s a happy time for the credit union that serves communities stretching from northwest Massachusetts — it borders Boston — to southeastern New Hampshire. This year, the credit union’s anniversary coincides with a quarterly giveback program it sponsors called Give A Click.
What Is Give A Click?
Jeanne D’Arc launched Give A Click in 2011 in conjunction with its founding of the We Share A Common Thread foundation. The foundation works to better the lives of the people in its local communities by providing manpower to serve food at local shelters, repair homes, provide education, and assist in other similar worthwhile causes.
CU QUICK FACTS
Jeanne D'arc credit union
Data as of 12.31.15
HQ: Lowell, MA
12-MO SHARE GROWTH: 8.85%
12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 21.77%
“The credit union believes in social responsibility,” says Michelle Silveira, Jeanne D’Arc’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “Credit unions were founded on the philosophy of people helping people. We call that sharing a common thread.”
The credit union runs Give A Click through the We Share A Common Thread foundation. Every quarter, it gives two or three local institutions the chance to win a $1,500 donation through a community vote.
“We focus the campaign on small organizations that receive little funding and recognition and bring their efforts to life in the community,” Silveira says.
Do You Give A Click?
Check out the Give A Click voting page.
The campaign focuses on area nonprofits, specifically those that match the foundation’s social responsibility mission. To make sure it is choosing the most appropriate and deserving recipients, the credit union conducts research to familiarize itself with an organization before eventually interviewing those in positions of leadership. There is no application process, and, generally, Jeanne D’Arc hears about these businesses through word-of-mouth.
Campaigning And Results
The credit union typically selects contest participants one or two months before the start of a new quarter. When the new quarter begins, the credit union updates its Give A Click campaign page with a new poll and information about the participants. For example, the first quarter 2016 businesses participating in Give A Click are American Cancer Aid and The Megan House Foundation.
Typically, Silveira says, the community casts between 4,500 and 7,500 votes each quarter — exclusively on the Give A Click webpage.
That number has quickly risen since the credit union stopped requiring voters to log in and provide an email address. That initial requirement, Jeanne D’Arc found, created an unnecessary barrier and user friction for a campaign designed to reward nonprofits doing good by their communities.
“Now that we let people come in and vote, we’ve seen voting totals increase by 50%,” Silveira says.
The credit union presents winners with the funds during a photo shoot at Jeanne D’Arc’s headquarters and publicizes the names of the recipients through press releases, its media contacts, and a social media push.
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The combination of increased brand awareness and free money is a positive opportunity for organizations with limited resources.
“$1,500 for these small organizations means a lot,” Silveira says.
And for all participants, the campaign provides welcome free promotion.
$1,500 for these small organizations means a lot.
“Even though they’re not all winning money, they are all getting people going to their sites and reading their stories,” Silveira says. “We help bring recognition to those nonprofits.”
But that recognition is not solely on the shoulders of Jeanne D’Arc. The nonprofits can, and do, increase their own recognition with internal campaigns that drive traffic to the voting site. Silveira has seen voting numbers skyrocket days before the campaign ends as participants mobilize their own employees and supporters to vote in higher numbers.
“We appreciate them getting involved,” Silveira says. “It shows they’re thrilled to have a chance to win some money.”
To date, the Give A Click campaign has had 38 total participant businesses, with 19 winners resulting in $28,500 in total donations. Previous winners have included nonprofits such as Zach’s Team, which provides knowledge, hope, and funds to help families affected by substance abuse, and Power of Flowers, which recycles gently used flowers from events such as weddings, banquets, and memorial services to boost the mood of individuals who are “lonely, isolated, ill, or simply going through a rough patch,” Silveira says.
Previous winners of the credit union's Give A Click campaign. Courtesy of Jeanne D'Arc.
The positive contributions these organizations make to the lives of Jeanne D’Arc’s members and communities resonate with the credit union and inspire the continuation of this campaign. And at the end of the day, Give A Click is more than a contest.
“It’s not just about the money,” Silveira says. “It’s about bringing to light what these organizations do.”