Co-Op Services Credit Union, a $385 million financial institution with 8 branches in the Detroit Metro area, has generated a lot of buzz during the past half-year with Project 100. Rather than trying to describe it myself, I’ll quote the microsite: “it’s a program designed to promote the positive aspects of giving. We’re giving away 100 dollars to 100 people over 100 days in an effort to encourage people to give back to others in their local community.” Simple as that. A program representative from the credit union gave out $100 bills to random people on the street, with no strings attached, and simply asked them to think about what they were going to do with the money. Some folks had a hard time believing there was no catch!
In addition to a well designed Project 100 microsite, the program also included a:
I recommend checking out the YouTube channel, where you can see short clips of peoples’ reactions. While the 100th recipient just received her $100 at the end of November, the videos are all from this past summer. It would have been nice to see more recent clips from throughout the program – not just the beginning. On the other hand, Project 100’s Facebook page has been continually updated during the past 6 months, with both photos of $100 winners and non-program related content. Good public relations and use of social media seem to have paid off – Project 100 has been covered in various media outlets, including The Detroit News.
The latest development is the introduction of the Co-Op Cares Project. This project allows anyone opening a checking account to donate funds to a local charity. Project 100 site visitors can vote for their favorite community non-profit, and the top three charities will each receive one-third of all checking account donations. (The credit union gives $100 to any person opening a free checking account, so it’s really Co-Op’s money being donated.)
In addition to contributing monetarily, people can visit the microsite to learn about more ways of helping the community. The “Give” section lists ideas on how to give back as well as volunteer opportunities.
All in all, Project 100 displays very nice, cohesive design and good integration of different social networking sites. Whether it actually motivates Detroit area residents to give back to the community remains to be seen. This may be a campaign where tangible results are difficult to measure and the real benefit is spreading brand awareness. It will definitely generate word of mouth about the credit union at the community level (after all, a person who gets handed $100 on the street is bound to brag about it.) And even if the program doesn’t cause people to go volunteer in droves, at least it communicates the message that Co-Op Services Credit Union is about giving back, pure and simple, with no strings attached.