Chase Misses on Philanthropy Program

AdAge ran an article lambasting the Chase Community Giving Program, a Facebook-based, philanthropic campaign.

The program certainly has had some success. If one measure of engagement is the number of Facebook "likes," then the page is a sure winner, with 3.8 million. Also, in 2012 alone (the program has run since 2009), 196 charities received $5 million in prizes, based on online votes.

Chase Community

But the article criticizes Chase's voting process:

"The same charges of voting fraud that have plagued the contest since it started also resurfaced this year, and Chase has been accused of conducting a secret vote count that allows it to block winners whose mission is not consistent with the bank's public image.   Even some of the winners were disgruntled, wondering whether the effort they had to make with their limited resources had actually left them worse off in the end."

Chase Community FB apologyAlso, apparently a clerical error promised $10,000 in prizes to 15 charities that didn't win enough votes. Chase made good on the commitment but soured the program's credibility.

Chase's apology, shown here, received more than 6,500 "likes," but it may not be enough to offset comments such as this from a representative of a pet sanctuary:

"This mistake of theirs caused damage to each organization's ability to raise funds, since our supporters think we won 10K, and it damages the integrity of the organizations as well; people will think we did something wrong to cause us to lose the $10K."

B.L. Ochman, the author of the AdAge article offers this advice for companies running online contests: 

  • [Understand that] Facebook is not a secure site for nominations or voting. 
  • Acknowledge screw-ups openly.  ions stand to gain from engaging in productive conversations with both positive and negative responders.
  • Don't be in such a hurry to announce winners. 
  • Show us where the money goes. 
  • Take viable steps to prevent cheating next year.

Discussion Starters:

  • What else could Chase do now to redeem the program's credibility?
  • Looking at the Facebook page, what suggestions do you have for Chase to improve its communications with online voters?