Chase Community Giving 3.0

It’s that time of the year again. On April 21st, Chase launched the third edition (I’m tempted to say the third “generation”) of its popular Chase Community Giving contest on facebook which consists of an official pageand an application. They also have a close-to- inactive twitter account.

In a nutshell, the US bank gives facebook users the opportunity to choose how it will distribute 5 million USD to 100 Charities. To participate and fully interact, you have to become a fan of the page and use the Chase Community Giving application.

The contest is open to two types of participants: the charities and the supporters. Every application user has 10 votes to take part into the 1st round of the contest.

This programme is definitely one of the best examples of engagement on facebook in the financial services industry. For the last couple of years the Chase Community Giving page has been topping my 630 pages-strong Visible Banking Facebook Watch series (70 countries).

Having said that, the topic here is “soft”, with a focus on charity work, and far from financial products. It is a topic which appeals to most people, and local charities are extremely keen to increase their online visibility and drive the level of donations up.

So you might wonder how big the impact of this initiative has on Chase’s own financial brand in our badly damaged banking industry.

Moreover, the feedback from the first two editions hasn’t all been positive. The number of votes between the 1st edition’s winning charities was so small and the size of the reward so big, in the 1st two editions the biggest charities and the most social media savvy ones had an advantage compared with the smaller ones which probably needed the money the most.

Social media is all about “live and learn”. Let’s check if Chase listened and took the user feedback into consideration to improve the rule of the contest and launch an improved version of its popular app.

How it Works
I invite you to find below the key info from the Program Overview.

Round 1 (21 Apr-4 May): users can vote for any Charity that is part of the Chase Community Giving application on the Facebook platform.

Top 100 Charities (5 May): the votes will be tallied and the 100 eligible Charities receiving the most votes will be considered the winners of Round 1 and will share in $ 2,500,000 in donations from Chase and move on to Round 2.
Donations: Chase will donate $25,000 to each of the 100 Charities receiving the most votes in Round 1.

Round 1.5 – The “Big Idea” (5-15 May): Once the top 100 Charities from Round 1 are announced, they will have the opportunity to submit their Big Idea in 1000 characters or less describing how the Charity would spend $500,000 if it won and will also have the option to submit a 30 second video and 5 photos with short captions.

Round 2 (19-25 May): users can vote for any of the Round 2 Charities through the Chase Community Giving application on the Facebook platform.

Top 25 Charities (26 May): the votes will be tallied and the 25 eligible Charities receiving the most votes will be considered the winners of Round 2 and will share in $2,500,000 in donations from Chase.
Donations: Chase will donate to the 25 Charities receiving the most votes in Round 2 in the following amounts: $500,000 to the #1, $400,000 to the #2, $300,000 to the #3, $200,000 to the #4 and #5, $100,000 to the #6 to #10, $40,000 to the #11 to #15, $20,000 to the #16 to #25.

Interface – 6 Key Sections
If you want to drive adoption and usage of a such a facebook application, you need to make it as simple as possible to use and vote, contribute, promote and share. In this case, it is critical:
* to be able to find the charities you are looking for among the hundreds of participants, and
* for those charities to fully contribute and improve their online presence to increase number of votes and maximize their chances.

But what if charities don’t totally understand how social media works? What if they don’t have a social media presence at all? Or what if they are on facebook or twitter but have no clue on how to build their audience? It is very likely that most of them won’t have dedicated resources or a proper content strategy for social media…

Please find below the improved interface with 6 key sections.
Chase-Facebook-CommunityGiving-App-23Apr2011A Clear  Call to Action
As you would expect, the main call to action is to find a charity and vote for it.

Good, nevertheless I personnally found it difficult to find the right charity. And I’d like to be able to browse by category, don’t you?

Even though the emphasis is on charity search, the app includes a couple of feeds tracking what tweeps are saying about the initiative and what the participating charities are doing.

Chase also gives extra visibility to a few featured charities.

The criteria to become one of the happy few featured charities are not totally transparent. Nevertheless it looks like charities have to “update their Charity Profile Pages to include mission statements, pictures and videos.”But it is not enough, Chase also urges all the participants to “search for their charity and upload new content today!”.

Please find below the main six sections of the menu.

1. Find charities
This is a critical piece of the initiative. I believe you must make it easy for users to find the right charity and make them searchable by category…

2. Leaderboard
This is a contest right? So in order to make it exciting and urge people to promote their favorite charity right until the very last second, you have to display the ranking live.

And we are on facebook, one of the most popular social networks in the world, so Chase might as well leverage it as much as possible. I love the “my friends” section.

3. Activity
You wonder how buzzing and active are the contestants and the participants? Check out this section! You can see in real time the profile changes from the charities and the activity from the application users.

4. For charities
As I mentioned previously, to maximize their chances it is critical for charities to be as proactive as possible. But to do so, first they need to understand how social media can help them, where to start, and make the most of their limited resources.

In this section, Chase provides guidance and support to the participating charities.
* The bank share tips to rally supporters and urge them to contribute,
* They put together a charity toolkit to help generage buzz and improve the efficient of their marketing and communications.
* They talk the participants to their notion of Big Idea
* Last but not least, they share the recommendations from the Chase Charity Insights Forum of experts they organized on March 31st.
5. For supporters
Without the help of their supporters charities couldn’t even dream of making the Top 100.

With this kind of FAQ, Chase explain why it is important to contribute and how to do so.

6. Winners Gallery
A bit like the lotto winners, it helps to be reminded that people or here charity like yours tried their luck and won. Is there anything any better than a picture or a video with a happy winner? 😉

And the stats are impressive: 200 winning charities from 35 US States…
My Take
In my opinion, Chase listened and this is a real improvement to their already popular contest.

Helping Charities Raise more Money
Just like Dell or American Express positionned themselves as The Ambassadors of Small Businesses in the US, both sharing their knowledge and experience on social media and helping small businesses improve their online visibility to drive more business, Chase is establishing itself as The Ambassador of the charity world in the US.

I love the resources they made available to charities to fully leverage social media, such as the key learnings and recommendations from their recent insights forum.

New Eligibility: Different Size of Charities, Different Contests
Chase-Facebook-CommunityGiving-EligibilityThe best improvement lies in the eligibility guidelines. Now the contest is more fair, the largest charities not competiting against the smaller ones.
Thumbs up to the Chase team which listened!

Immediate Buzz
Chase-Facebook-CommunityGiving-App-Users-15Apr2011After only a few days after the launch of the 3rd edition, the number of monthly users of the facebook application has skyrocketed from 14k in the month of March to over 100k.

Chase-Twitter-CommunityGivingBuzzThe volume of tweets about the initiative (flagged with#chasegiving) is already high.

Chase-Twitter-CommunityGiving-TwitterAccountInteresting to note that the Chase team still has some room for improvement on twitter. Indeed, they are not engaging on their @ChaseGiving account, and the syntax they use to spread the word and share content could be greatly optimized and made more RTable.

Chase-Twitter-CommunityGiving-SharingIf only they added the charity twitter handle, as an added bonus it would help it increase the size of its follower base.

Help the Charity World Embrace Social Media
From my point of view, one of the most appealing effects of the Chase Community Giving series is the positive impact it has on the charity world. It looks like it’s helping the less savvy charities to jump onto the social media band wagon and boost their fund raising effort.

Indeed to maximize their chances of success, charities have to create and build a stronger presence on facebook and twitter. Whether they successfully make the Top 100 or not, these are good learnings.

Impact on the Chase Brand
If Chase’s share of voice surely increases significantly during those contests, I still wonder how big the impact is on the Chase brand in the long term. Charities might be more likely to bank with Chase, but what about the American people as a whole?

I salute this kind of crowdsourcing effort from Chase which proved extremely well received in the US. Considering that Chase allegedly gives about 100 million USD to charities annually, I wonder if they will start to gradually increase the total amount of money available as part of the Chase Community Giving programme. More power to the people.

Best Practices: Banking, Social Media, Charities
Chase is not the only financial institution leveraging social media in order to support charities. As a matter of fact, in the last few months quite a few banks and insurance firms have urged their facebook fans to take part into various contests in order to give money to charities.

Nevertheless, none of those contests matched the level of engagement of Chase’s programme.

They only involved a small contribution from facebook users and relied on facebook’s basic comment or like features.

I invite you to check my coverage of Citi’s toy story contest (December 2010).

What do you think?

Written by Christophe Langlois

Based in London for almost a decade, Christophe is an entertaining fintech marketing keynote speaker and a trusted advisor to the global financial services industry on the topics of digital marketing, innovation and B2B social media.

Christophe has contributed to over 140 events in 18 countries.

Currently, Christophe is advising a number of fintech startups on marketing and growth hacking and he is the Chief Marketing Officer of The Fintech Power 50, an exclusive annual programme helping fintech scale-ups to accelerate their growth globally.

Christophe's views on are his own.

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