Credit Union Marketing Corner

Compliant Contests and Giveaways

Who doesn’t love the chance at some free swag? Even better, what company doesn’t enjoy seeing its logo being advertised by happy members in the community or social media posts?! Contests and giveaways are a great opportunity for your credit union to gain engagement and strategically grow measurable metrics (i.e. lending, following, engagement, membership, etc.). Though it seems simple enough to give things away… like always, being compliant does take some special steps. Each state, social media site, and type of promotion comes with its own regulations. Here are a few basics to get you started with your next compliant contests and giveaways.

Contests and giveaways are a great way for credit unions to market their services and attract new members. They can also help to build excitement and engagement among existing members. When done correctly, contests and giveaways can be very effective marketing tools. However, it is important to be aware of the laws and regulations that govern these types of promotions.   

Examples of Contests and Giveaways

There are many different types of contests and giveaways that credit unions can use to market their services. Some examples include:

  • Sweepstakes: A sweepstakes is a contest in which participants are entered into a drawing to win a prize. To enter, participants typically need to do something like post on social media, sign up for a newsletter, or make a purchase.
  • Contests: A contest is a competition in which participants compete for a prize based on their skills or knowledge. To enter, participants typically need to submit an entry, such as a photo, essay, or video.
  • Giveaways: A giveaway is a free prize that is given away to participants. To enter, participants typically need to do something like a post on social media, sign up for a newsletter, or visit a website.  

Once you understand the basics and what type of promotion your credit union would like to run, there are some simple steps to follow in order to set up a compliant giveaway:

Step One:  Follow the basic laws of the prize promotion. To keep your promotions lawful, you cannot contain all 3 elements of gambling (AKA resemble a lottery): Prize, Chance, and Consideration.

  • Prize: An award of any kind that holds any value
  • Chance: Randomly selecting winners
  • Consideration: Monetary and Non-Monetary. This is seen as an “enter
    with money” or a substantial amount of time – all of which directly benefit the
    sponsor and is not seen as ethical practice for sweepstakes.

Step Two: No matter the promotion or prize, the contest or
sweepstake needs to have clearly stated, official rules. This keeps you from
objections from contestants or entrants. These rules need to be conveyed with
every post or mention of the prize promotion.

Basic rule example information:

  • No purchase necessary
  • Participation eligibility (ages, locations, employees)
  • Opening and closing dates
  • Name and contact information of the sponsor (you)
  • Number, description, value, and odds of winning prizes
  • Method of winner selection and date when a winner will be announced
  • How the winner will be notified and where a list of winners can be obtained
  • Alternative methods of entry
  • Acknowledge that the social media platform is not associated with the

Step Three: Review federal legislation and consult compliance teams. (i.e. COPPA, CAN-SPAM, TCPA, FTC) Do not use misleading or deceptive advertising – always use clear statements with clearly stated rules
of engagement and participation.

Step Four: When promoting any sweepstakes or contests, carefully read through all legal rules and limitations of each posting platform (especially social media). Many social media platforms have very clear-cut requirements for promotions such as sweepstakes and contests. If you are running promotional programs within public and private facilities, these areas may also have specific rules and regulations pertaining to advertisement and promotion (such as prize promotion).

Tips for Keeping Contests and Giveaways Compliant

There are a few things that credit unions can do to keep their contests and giveaways compliant with the law. These include:

  • Make sure that the contest or giveaway is open to all members of the public, not just members of the credit union.
  • Disclosing all of the rules and regulations of the contest or giveaway in advance.
  • Avoiding any type of discrimination in the selection of winners.
  • Obtaining the necessary permits and licenses from the state.


Contests and giveaways can be a great way for credit unions to market their services and attract new members. However, it is important to be aware of the laws and regulations that govern these types of promotions. By following the tips in this blog post, credit unions can ensure that their contests and giveaways are compliant and effective.

Here are some additional tips for running a successful contest or giveaway:

  • Make sure the prize is something that people will actually want.
  • Promote the contest or giveaway widely.
  • Make the entry process easy and convenient.
  • Be transparent about the rules and regulations.
  • Choose winners fairly and randomly.

By following these tips, credit unions can increase their chances of running a successful contest or giveaway that will help them achieve their marketing goals. By no means is this blog post the most exhaustive on this topic and it is always wise to do further research before starting any such promotion, but we do hope we inspired you for your next project. We are always writing about things important to you and your industry, so continue to follow our blog and our social media channels!