'Cartwheels For A Cause' Spins Members' Propellers

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SEATTLE-Verity Credit Union is offering members of its community an opportunity to win $1,000 for themselves, plus a $5,000 donation to their favorite cause-all they have to do is turn a cartwheel on camera.

The "Cartwheel For A Cause" video contest kicked off Jan. 24 and accepted submissions of 60-second videos through Feb. 21. Contestants 18 and older were asked to describe the cause they think is worthy of receiving the donation, and include, "a cartwheel, or anything representing a cartwheel."

Melina Young, marketing manager for $365-million Verity CU, was quick to note the contest does not discriminate among non-gymnasts.

"We will reward creativity," she said, adding she has heard one entry is going to put a drawing of a person on the end of a barrel and will roll it down a hill. "We want creative cartwheels. It does not have to be a physical cartwheel, and we think the creative ones will have the best chance."

All legal submissions were put up for an online vote from Feb. 23 to March 2, Young said. "Verity is not going to select its favorites; all videos will have an equal chance to win. Unless, of course, they have something obscene."

The winner was slated to be announced March 6. In addition to the grand prize, second and third place each won $200 plus $1,000 donated to their cause.

Video contests have worked well before for Verity CU, including its "Verity Mom Contest" 18 months ago. Young said the CU wanted to have a "spokes mom," a position that paid $20,000 in exchange for blogging about the CU. Details for the "Cartwheel" contest can be found on the www.VerityMom.com website. "Spokes Mom Rosemary Garner has a video on the site that says what she thinks makes for a strong video," Young explained. "As someone who has won a contest such as this, she offers tips and tricks."

The CU received 37 entries into the contest and online voting for the winner was still ongoing at press time. At press time no submissions had been received, but Young said from previous experience she knows it takes 10 days to two weeks to get videos because people put a lot of thought into them.

Paying It Forward
Philanthropy is big in the Emerald City, as evidenced by the recent success of two programs across town at Seattle Metro CU. The $560-million credit union earned national attention when it handed out $10 bills to members who could answer the question: "If we gave you $10, what would you do for someone else?" ["Penny For Your Thoughts? Why 1 CU Offers $10 Instead," Oct. 13, 2008].

Seattle Metro followed up the following year with "Operation: Cooperation" ["Seattle Metro CU Rewards The Cooperative Spirit," CUJ Daily Briefing, Oct. 7, 2009], which gave prizes of $500 to $5,000 for creative projects that answer the question how people "come together and share a resource to achieve a goal."

Verity CU's Young said she worked as a consultant on Seattle Metro's Pay It Forward. "This is different in that people can submit online for a month, as opposed to one day. With ours there is more thought. We do not give out small amounts to everyone; we award a prize to three winners and their three charities."

Verity CU serves 26,161 members.

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