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Get Ready for International CU Day
Friday, September 20, 2013 6:45 AM

Since 1948, International Credit Union Day has been celebrated on the third Thursday of October. On Oct. 17, credit unions around the world will celebrate our movement's history and promote our achievements. Credit Unions Unite for Good is the theme of this year’s International CU Day, and the Cornerstone Credit Union League encourages credit unions to take advantage of this opportunity to help raise awareness about the great work that credit unions are doing for their members and the communities they serve.

If you are you looking for ways to celebrate this event, consider the following:

Plan a Festive Week in Your Credit Union

  • Hold an open house at your credit union, including branch offices. Conduct tours and serve refreshments. This is a great opportunity to build relationships with members and discuss your products and services.
  • Invite your elected officials to a "Meet the Members" day.
  • Let credit union members "meet their credit union" by displaying your employees' and board members' photos and biographies.

Promote Products and Services

  • Offer loans or new share draft accounts for the same fees that the credit union charged the year it opened.
  • Work cooperatively with other local credit unions to purchase outdoor billboard advertising space. Radio and television advertising can be very affordable when a group of credit unions contribute toward the cost.

Focus on Education

  • Offer your credit union as an elementary/primary school field trip destination. Give teachers an opportunity to build real-world experience into their students' math lessons.
  • Teach a basic money management class at a local high school/secondary school. There are lots of programs available to credit unions, including financial education reality fairs, Thrive by Five, Sammy the Savings Rabbit, BizKid$, Family Mint, and the highly-acclaimed National Endowment for Financial Education High School Financial Planning program. Credit unions can learn more about available programs by visiting the Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation’s web site, at www.cscuf.coop/foundation_focus.html.  
  • Offer a series of lectures on basic finance in the evenings or over the lunch hour for your members. Topics can include managing a checking account, building good credit, shopping for a mortgage, handling credit cards, and saving for college/university.
  • Distribute financial self-help information in your lobby and at the drive-up windows. Don't forget to insert statement stuffers and articles in your monthly newsletter.
  • Set up a booth at a local shopping mall, community center, or special event. Offer personal finance information and brochures that emphasize the credit union difference.

Focus on the Credit Union Difference

  • Organize a fun event to teach your staff and members about credit union history and philosophy. Set up booths featuring information on philosophy and operations.
  • Coordinate efforts at the chapter level to produce a historical view of credit unions in the area. This could be a traveling poster display or a slide presentation shown throughout the year.
  • Sponsor an essay or art contest for young members or your entire membership. A short essay (100 words or less) about why the credit union is special would be appropriate. Publish the winning entries in your newsletter or in the local newspaper.
  • Reward employees for exceptional service to members.
  • Recognize members for exceptional service to the community.
  • Deliver good news (and good food) to the media. For example, deliver cakes decorated with the words "Happy International Credit Union Day" to the local media. Sometimes volunteers receive free airtime to talk about International Credit Union Day.
  • Organize an event with your local legislators.

Community Projects

  • Take part in a paint-a-thon to help older members or anyone else in your community who is physically unable to paint their own home. Take a variety of photos of your team and publicize your activities.
  • Plant a tree in a nearby park or on the credit union grounds. Coordinate a local beautification program. Sponsor a community cleanup effort or other charitable event.
  • Hold a bicycle safety clinic for young people and donate helmets to needy children.
  • Adopt a social service agency for the day or week and recruit staff and members to help out with tasks like serving meals, painting, filing, and cleanup.
  • Collect business clothes to donate to a local organization that helps people get back into the workplace.
  • Join forces with other credit unions in your area to sponsor a run/walk team for a good cause, such as purchasing new technology for local schools. Provide members of your team with T-shirts to identify them as credit union staff and members.
  • Invite a local school to perform a musical concert at your ICU Day event.

Engage with Members Online

  • Sponsor a contest on your credit union's website and social media networks that encourages members to share photos and/or videos that show why they love their credit union.
  • Post trivia questions about your credit union on your social media networks in exchange for giveaways.
  • Create a staff video that illustrates your credit union's values and post it to your social media networks, feature it in your electronic newsletters, play it in branch lobbies, and send it out to staff. Don't be afraid to get creative!

You can learn more about the history of International Credit Union Day at www.woccu.org/events/icuday.

Once you’ve outlined your plan for celebrating International Credit Union Day, share your ideas with your peers. E-mail your story to lwebb-manon@cornerstoneleague.coop, and we will publish your idea in the Leaguer, as well as our Facebook page.