N&P give a charitable incentive to vote

LONDON - Your average company shareholder is a time-pressed individual. Getting him to vote on the future of the company in which he has a stake can require some persuasive tactics.

Norwich and Peterborough Building Society (N&P) is a mutual, run by its members for their benefit, yet it still faces the challenge of getting its members to vote every year. It holds an Annual General Meeting where shareholders are asked to vote for members of the board of directors who may be up for election, and on resolutions concerning the running of the building society.

"In previous years we have sent out a letter to members to try and encourage them to vote. It has always been very dry, so this year we wanted to embrace direct marketing techniques to ensure more people have their say," says Sarah Alton, senior marketing manager at N&P.

N&P is heavily involved with its local charity - East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) - so an approach that would benefit the community seemed like a positive and inspiring way to get local members voting.

"One of the big things we decided to do was to give 50p to EACH for every vote counted. We chose this charity because it is our staff charity. We do a lot of work to raise money, such as car boot sales and races, so felt it would be very meaningful for the whole community to donate," says Alton.

Any customer with a shareholding account containing a minimum balance of £100 is a member of the society, though there are other criteria, such as being over 18 years of age. To encourage voting, it was decided members should be able to vote online and by post, as well as at the AGM itself.

A mailpack was sent out to members offering the option of voting by post and inviting them to the AGM. This was backed up by an email campaign, which introduced the option of online voting.

N&P's agency Wand created a clean, crisp design that mirrored the company's brand. Alton says: "We used Wand's creative for the email campaign as well as the mailpacks, but because of personal data included in the voting forms we had our own scrutineers send out the emails."

After one week, N&P had around 6,000 votes. "Thirty-four per cent of the votes have been online, which is a great start," says Alton.

Last year, 12 per cent of members voted; this year N&P is hoping for 15 per cent. "We will be sending out reminders to any members who haven't yet voted," adds Alton.

Brand: Norwich & Peterborough Building Society
Client: Norwich & Peterborough Building Society
Brief: To invite members to its annual meeting and encourage them to
vote on issues raised there
Target audience: Current members
Budget: Undisclosed
Agency: Wand

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