Paying one’s bills isn’t typically something to look forward to, and rarely does it offer a potential reward beyond the self-satisfaction of marking an item or two off the ol’ to-do list.
But DirectLink wanted to change that — and that’s exactly what the local communications provider did in 2003 with its innovative Pay N Win program, which is still going strong 19 years later.
The idea is simple: Members who pay their monthly bills on time are entered in a drawing to win a prize.
“It was started at what was then Canby Telcom by former Vice President of Member Services Debbie Jewell as a way to give back to current members and to say thank you for paying their bill on time,” explains DirectLink Marketing Specialist Conner Williams.
The idea came from the neighboring Mt. Angel Telephone Company, which was purchased by DirectLink in 2007. For most of the program’s history, lucky winners received a handmade gift basket stocked with local products, items and other goodies — often following a particular theme.
“Some would center on a major holiday like Halloween or Thanksgiving,” Williams says. “There were a lot of gardening ones with seeds and plants and tools for springtime. We even did a car wash-themed one.”
Winning members would typically be invited to DirectLink’s offices on Southeast 2nd Avenue to collect their prize. That practice ended in March 2020 due to the pandemic.
But, still wanting to thank and connect with members during a difficult time, DirectLink leadership opted to pivot to awarding $50 gift cards to local businesses, which are delivered to winners through the mail.
“We always enjoyed being able to do photos and interact with folks,” Williams recalls. “When that had to change with the pandemic, we really wanted to figure out a way to continue this program that had been going for 18-19 years.
“The goal was always not only to thank our members but also support local businesses in the community, and the gift cards allows us to do both.”
Now that pandemic restrictions have lifted, DirectLinks is offering winners the option to come into their offices and collect their prize (and get a photo) if they feel comfortable. Winning members can also send in a selfie if they’d prefer.
Canby businesses that have been included in the gift card giveaway so far have included Puddin’ River Chocolates, Canby Builders Supply, Gwynn’s Coffee House, Ebner’s Custom Meats, Wilco, Frontier Golf, Swan Island Dahlias, B’s Bake Shoppe, Cutsforth’s Market, The Book Nook, Baker’s Prairie Bakery, Hulbert’s Flowers and Art-O-Maddic.
Mt. Angel properties have included Oktoberfest, Sin-Able Sweets, Boschler True Value Hardware, Mt. Angel Meat Company, Pacific Honeybee, Evergreen Golf Course, Magnolia Grill, Roth’s Fresh Markets (Silverton), Mt. Angel Community & Senior Center, Mt. Angel Sausage Company, Julie’s Flower Boutique and the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival.
Members who are enrolled in autopay are also eligible for Pay N Win, Williams says. For more information about DirectLink or the Pay N Win Program, visit directlink.coop or call 503-266-8111 in Canby or 503-845-2291 in Mt. Angel.
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