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Making a Difference With Marketing Automation

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By Prisma Campaigns
March 21, 2024

Credit unions have a long history of supporting local communities through charity work, community outreach, and other initiatives. By providing this support to the people and businesses in their area, the credit union can help reinforce their image as the friendly, local alternative to big national banks.

However, these efforts can be extremely expensive and time-consuming for credit unions without the right support. In this article, we’ll explore how one credit union drastically improved the performance of its community outreach program with the help of Marketing Automation.

Meet Oregonians Credit Union

Oregonians Credit Union was founded in 1936 to serve federal, state, and county employees of Northwest Oregon. Now, almost a century later, Oregonians CU has expanded to serve additional neighboring counties, opened its doors to all members of the community, and hopes to continue fueling healthy growth by providing top-tier financial products and services to all.

Since 2011, Oregonians has funded an annual scholarship program that gives four deserving local students funds to help them pursue higher education. As tuition continues to rise for colleges and universities, this scholarship program has become an even more important part of the overall community outreach strategy for Oregonians.

However, the credit union was having trouble getting the word out, and even more trouble collecting and reviewing applications. From 2016-2020, the scholarship program averaged only 16 applicants per year. Applicants were required to fill out a paper application, and then mail it in or drop it off at one of the branches. The Oregonians’ staff then needed to scan, review, and physically record all of the applications and supporting documents in order to start the process.

The Solution

For Oregonians, the scholarship program represented a commitment to their members and the next generation of college students. To revamp the program, a number of changes had to occur in how the application was formatted, distributed, collected, and processed.

Initial Outreach

Oregonians’ previous experience working with marketing automation gave them the confidence that such solution would align with their overall strategy and existing technology stack. By integrating previously collected data into the new campaign, Oregonians started the scholarship outreach program with an established audience and the means to reach them.

Oregonians also shifted their campaign advertising to digital. Previously, paper postcards had been used to inform prospective students about the scholarship opportunity. With the right marketing automation tool, Oregonians was able to more narrowly define their audience members and reach them more quickly.


This new approach also allowed Oregonians to shift the entire application process to a digital format. Not only was this more in line with the expectations and needs of emerging college students, but it also doubled as an effective countermeasure against abandonment. Because the progress of applications could now be reliably tracked, Oregonians could distribute reminder emails to those who had not opened or finished their application. The ability to upload files directly using the marketing automation tool also made it simple for applicants to attach transcripts, identification, and other materials needed to complete the application process.

Collection and Review

Digital submission allowed Oregonians to implement automatic scoring on portions of the application. This helped to speed the process up, as well as eliminate ineligible applicants automatically. The form also automatically forwarded transcripts and essays in a separate email for review by Oregonians’ staff, removing the need for tedious scanning and filing.


The reworked scholarship program was a resounding success. Both applicants and Oregonians’ staff reported that the new application process was substantially easier, with particular emphasis coming from Oregonians’ own marketing department. Distributing the scholarships has become a rewarding experience rather than a hassle for the credit union.

In its first year, the new scholarship application saw 53 conversions from 81 qualified applicants, representing a 330% increase in applications from the previous year. The new email outreach campaign saw an open rate of around 50%, and the reminder emails for those who had not finished their application saw an almost 90% open rate. Overall, the email campaign produced around 60% of the total applicants.

Oregonians also massively cut back on the amount of time and manpower dedicated to reviewing and grading applications. The credit union reported that they had reduced post-campaign processing time by 87%, saving them and the applicant’s valuable time.

Oregonians is confident that, with this new campaign, they will be able to expand the scholarship program in the coming years, rewarding more tuition money to a larger number of applicants. To see a complete breakdown of the campaign and the results achieved for Oregonians, you can read the whole case study.

Connect with Prisma Campaigns to learn more.

About Prisma Campaigns

Prisma Campaigns is a marketing automation platform specifically designed to help credit unions develop deep and empathic relationships with their members through personalized marketing campaigns. It uses a connected, data-centric approach to communicate with members on all your digital channels - email, SMS, online banking and mobile app. Prisma Campaigns’ open platform integrates with your existing banking technology and is ready to grow and expand with your credit union.

Prisma is trusted by 25 credit unions to enhance their member experience and increase conversion rates.