Monday, March 21, 2011

Twelve Ideas to Mark the Observance of the International Year of Co-operatives

The United Nations 2012 International Year of Co-operatives is only several months away. This year-long observance promises a wealth of opportunities for credit unions, delivered on a silver platter. All we have to do is capitalize on them, whether they are opportunities to herald our cooperative brand distinction in the marketplace, gain increased exposure through the news media, or because of a heightened understanding of what credit unions are, grow our membership to levels never seen before.

Charles Gould is the Director-General of the Geneva based International Co-operative Alliance (ICA).

In this video, he talks about plans to exploit the opportunities which the international year brings to the movement. As well as revealing the slogan for the year, "Co-operative enterprises build a better world", he discusses the three key messages which will be embedded in the year-long campaign spearheaded by the ICA.

In addition to the background information Charles supplies, I have developed a list of 12 ideas to help credit unions begin to form their own ways to mark the observance. Each of these ideas not only presents an opportunity to teach and inform but to promote your credit union/cooperative brand as well. Hopefully, one of these ideas can find a home at your shop.

12 Ideas to Mark the United Nations 2012 International Year of Co-operatives

1. — Invite local co-ops to set up an info table in the lobby of your credit union.

2. Include coupons to local co-ops in your statement mailings.

3. Post promotional videos, photos or call-out boxes on your website providing info on the cooperative business model.

4. Invite local cooperators to write a column for your member newsletter, discussing cooperative values and principles.

5. Join with local cooperators to participate in giving talks and making presentations about the cooperative distinction to groups within the local community (ie: Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, schools, retirement homes, library, etc).

6. Join with local cooperators to sponsor a kiosk at the mall, airport or library to serve as an educational tool discussing cooperatives.

7. Organize a neighborhood volunteer cleanup and repair taskforce involving other local cooperators. Mission is to help improve properties of the elderly and less fortunate as a way to give back to the community. Solicit local Ace Hardware to provide tools and assist in PR and sponsorship generation.

8. Each month, hold a drawing among your members. The winning name is awarded a membership in a local food co-op.

9. Earmark a sum of money for loans reserved for promoting “green” initiatives or “social justice”-related services within the community. Promote the availability of these funds through the local news media.

10. Present a “Cooperator Award” to a person in the community who embodies the cooperative values. You may invite members to vote for the candidate of their choice. Hold an awards dinner or reception with proceeds going to the Children’s Miracle Network or the local Red Cross.

11. — Launch your own Credit Union Angel program. Credit Union Angels are volunteers who make it a point to look in on an elderly couple or a military family whose spouse is deployed, to ensure that their needs are being met.

12. — In the spirit of cooperation, the 12th idea is reserved for your creative contribution. Tell us what it is (using the comments section below) so we all can benefit.

For more information on The United Nations 2012 International Year of Co-operatives, visit 


  1. I think this ideas are very fantastic. I think you should not just make it suggestive, but impress it on the national apex bodies to achieve the desired impact.
    Theo Effah

  2. It 's good to see this un effort
    i think for a country like India we need to launch an extensive financial literacy compaign to educate uneducated and unaware majority Indians living in slums and rural areas

    It may be encouraging to note that JANSEVA COOPERATIVE CREDIT SOCIETY----a mulitstate society with permission to operate in 12 major states of india has already planned this and the first of this kind of program is scheduled at BANGLORE on Jan 28,2012 the theme is DIMENSIONS OF FINANCIAL INCLUSION AND INTEREST FREE FINANCIAL SYSTEM
    anybody and everybody is invited to attend, comment, cooperate and advise for effectivness of the campaign
    dr. rahmatullah
    chief promoter and chairman

  3. Fabulous ideas you have mentioned here regarding the credit unions. It’s really a full learning package. Keep posting such things in future.

    Credit union marketing plan