If your credit union or bank marketing strategy doesn’t include community involvement during the holiday season, then you’re missing the mark.
Consumers today—specifically millennials and Gen Z—are increasingly cause-driven. They buy from and work with brands they believe are making a difference in the world. A survey from Fortune magazine indicated that nearly two-thirds of millennials would prefer to work for a company who gives to charity. Thus, by showing a strong presence in the community, you’re already off to a great start in reaching these key demographics.
So how can you maximize these charitable investments and see a direct return?
It’s never easy to say “no” to donation requests this time of year, especially for those of us who are in the financial industry specifically to make a difference in others’ lives. But by saying no to some things, you’ll ultimately make a bigger difference with the dollars you do give.
First, focus your available charitable funds on a few key local charities or events instead of spreading your budget across many causes—which can ultimately water-down the impact of your donations.
According to “Giving USA 2018,” U.S. companies gave more than $20 billion to charity in 2017. Imagine if that $20 billion belonged to one of your members or customers. Would you tell them to spend it all in one place? Of course not. But if they wanted to make the biggest impact possible, you’d likely tell them to give a sizable gift to only a select few organizations.
Second, ensure that the few you choose are linked to your brand and your target markets. The charitable causes your financial institution supports should be reflective of your brand. They must also tie into target markets you’re hoping to reach. For example, if an important part of your brand is financial literacy for children and young adults, it makes sense to contribute to charitable causes which also focus on this age group.
Third, develop a request form to go on your website. A request page would inform charitable organizations about your guidelines and requirements for donation requests and potentially save time on the back-end by reducing the amount of uncomfortable “I’m sorry but we just can’t help at this time” responses.
Giving isn’t, and shouldn’t, ever be solely about getting a return on your investment. That’s insincere, and consumers today can smell lack of authenticity from a mile away. But if your financial institution is going to invest time and resources into charitable giving this holiday season, then you need to make it count.