Driving digital product adoption with charitable giving campaigns

Charitable giving campaigns can increase product adoption, maximize digital usage and strengthen quality relationships with customers.

By Megan Pannier

With demand for digital interactions on the rise across generations, financial institutions have responded by delivering suites of digital tools that provide consumers with more convenient and secure ways to manage, send and receive money. This combination of increasing demand and complementary technology makes this an excellent time for financial institutions to encourage customers to adopt and increase their use of digital payment solutions.

Financial institutions have good reason to encourage adoption of digital capabilities. A Fiserv study showing digitally engaged customers are 29 percent more profitable than non-digital customers. However, another recent study from Fiserv showed that 39 percent of financial institution customers who are digitally engaged only use mobile banking, indicating there is plenty of opportunity to grow usage of other digital capabilities to deepen customer connections. One way to do this is to think creatively about ways to incent customers to engage, including appealing to their altruistic side through charitable giving campaigns.

Building an effective campaign

Charitable giving campaigns create the opportunity for consumers to give back when they complete activities such as paying a bill, making an external funds transfer or sending money to friends and family. Typically, a donation is made for every transaction completed, up to a set total amount. In some cases institutions add an extra incentive with a sweepstakes component, with each transaction earning the customer an entry to win a prize for themselves.

To craft a campaign that suits both the organization’s goals and customer needs, take into consideration the following:

Pinpoint the audience

Understanding who the audience is and what its needs are is a crucial foundation. Financial institutions that successfully engage customers with targeted marketing—rather than a “one-size-fits-all” approach—will build a more engaged and loyal customer base. It’s important to understand that different demographics will have different needs, and varying comfort levels in trying out digital solutions. Offering both support and encouragement during this process will make a significant difference.

Align giving to values

It is imperative to align the focus of any charitable giving campaign with a cause that reflects the values of the institution and resonates with the audience. Consider causes or organizations that the institution already supports, perhaps ones with a long history or special connection to the community. A campaign will be more impactful if customers feel the donation is for a worthy cause and will make a difference for their friends and neighbors.

Time it with a seasonal hook

Finally, to ensure a campaign is both relevant and engaging, financial institutions can align with a seasonal hook. This could be something like the holiday season, back to school, spring cleaning and more. As an example, it may make sense to launch a charitable giving campaign ahead of the winter holiday season as consumer generosity and spending trends high during this time.

With the right campaign in place, financial institutions can see anywhere from an 11 to 14 percent increase in users and transactions, per Fiserv. By leveraging charitable giving campaigns, financial institutions can increase product adoption, maximize digital usage and strengthen quality relationships with their customers.

Strengthening relationships

Overall, these campaigns create product awareness and build excitement among customers; excitement for giving back, gaining a chance for a “big win,” exploring new tools and finding a solution that adds value to their daily financial lives.

Not only do these campaigns offer opportunities to grow product adoption and usage, they are also a strong exercise in brand and relationship building. Campaigns linked to a philanthropic cause build goodwill and can boost an institution’s reputation. Charitable giving campaigns that highlight shared values can also help foster a strengthened sense of loyalty between customer and financial institution.

While the benefits are significant, planning and executing these campaigns can feel like daunting undertakings. The good news is financial institutions do not have to do it alone. By partnering with a well-connected, trusted tech provider, financial institutions can alleviate the stress of campaign organization and administration. These partners can also help with campaign ideation, suggesting opportunities to encourage usage of financial technologies in new and meaningful ways.

Finally, financial institutions should intertwine charitable campaigns within a larger marketing and communications strategy to support ongoing awareness and education of existing and new digital features. Aligning a given campaign with the institution’s overarching strategy can also help create a sense of familiarity for customers when they encounter campaign promotional messaging.

Through collaboration, strategic alignment and fostering a sense of excitement, financial institutions can launch successful campaigns that strengthen both their business and their relationships for years to come.

Megan Pannier is VP of marketing and analytics at Fiserv.