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Verity members cartwheel for a cause in video contest
SEATTLE (1/29/13)--A credit union is asking state of Washington residents to submit a short video that features a cartwheel, or anything representing a cartwheel, for the chance to win a $1,000 prize and a $5,000 donation to the cause of their choice. Verity CU in Seattle launched its second "Cartwheel for a Cause" contest earlier this month.

"We see this as a great opportunity to let the community get involved and tell us which causes they feel we should donate to," Melina Young, Verity's director of marketing, told the Northwest Credit Union Association. "This was a great way to brand Verity in the community without having to spend a ton of money, and it helps to teach the community about our values" (Anthem Recap Jan. 25).

"Cartwheel for a Cause spun out of our Cartwheel Checking account," Young told News Now. "For that checking account--and really across the board--our target market is moms. People appreciate the visuals that come out of cartwheels and that makes them smile. Focus groups a few years ago helped us see that and come up with name for that rewards checking program. Also, Cartwheel Checking ties in with Verity Mom."

The $385 million asset Verity previously used contest marketing to build and maintain member engagement in its Verity Mom campaign, Young told NWCUA.

The credit union launched Verity Mom in 2009 because moms and families were not being well-served by large faceless financial institutions. Moms in Washington didn't have a voice in getting what they needed financially. So Verity launched a search for a Mom and gave her platform: the Verity Mom website.

For the cartwheel contest, each video must describe the cause that person believes deserves a $5,000 donation. All causes must be a designated 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization. Also, the video must include a cartwheel somewhere.

"The creative cartwheels are one of the best parts of this contest," Young said. To see the videos, use the link.

The contest also promotes Verity's brand and visibility, gives members a voice in the credit union's community involvement, and draws attention to organizations and areas of need that might not otherwise have access to such a public forum, NWCUA said.

"In the first year, we had someone bring a $150,000 home equity line of credit to us because her sister was on the board of one of the charities that was nominated and she thought our values represented us as a place she would like to put her money," Young told the association. "Stories like that help justify the money spent to market a campaign like this."

Two runners-up will earn $1,000 donations to the causes highlighted in their videos, along with a $200 individual prize.
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