Tuesday, October 8, 2013

International Credit Union Day—How Will You Be Celebrating?

Back on Saturday, October 2, 2010, I published a blog post on this site featuring 12 simple ways to mark your observance of International Credit Union Day. Three years later, it goes without saying that all 12 ideas continue to hold value for any credit union searching for that special way to call attention to their distinguished heritage.

So once again, here are my 12 ideas for making October 17th, this year’s International Credit Union Day, a memorable occasion for your staff, your volunteers, your members, and really, your entire community!

I.      Make your members feel like owners. Host an Owners’ Day Party.

II.     Review and closely examine the definition of a cooperative. Understand the meaning of the business model it describes. Ask yourself what makes your organization a co-op?

III.    Have a meeting with staff to identify the Seven Cooperative Principles and evaluate how your organization embraces each one. Are they posted publicly for all to see?

IV.    Invite the local business reporter to the credit union to meet and greet the staff and your members. This is a great way to help the reporter develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for credit unions and the cooperative difference.

V.      Participate in other International Credit Union Day activities sponsored by your local League, CUNA and WOCCU.

VI.     Develop special messaging to your members talking about co-ops, the cooperative difference, and what co-ops stand for in the community. Display the messages in your lobby, in electronic statements, in your mobile banking application, on your credit union’s website, and on your social media channels like Facebook and Twitter.

VII.    Sponsor an art competition for youngsters of the credit union asking them to draw a picture of a cooperative. Publicly post the images in your lobby and your website. Offer awards to the best drawings.

VIII.   Leverage your relationships at the local chamber of commerce or rotary club to serve as a presenter during the month of October to talk about the cooperative business model and the values and principles on which it is built. As part of this community education effort, talk about your credit union as one of the many organizations built on that model. (If you missed the chance to do it this year, get your name on the list for next October!)

IX.    Sponsor an essay contest in collaboration with the local high school. Offer a grand prize of $1,000. Make the essay topic: How cooperatives and their distinct business model deliver better value to the American consumer.

X.     Host an open house of your credit union. Roll out the red carpet and invite folks from the community to stop in and have a coffee, have a donut and find out what a credit union is all about. Include a local radio station to broadcast LIVE from the credit union branch to further attract public participation in the open house. And don’t forget to invite the public to bring along cans of food for donation to the local food bank!

XI.    Cooperate with other co-ops in your community to create an organized referral effort where each cooperative helps to promote awareness of one another.

XII.   Organize a community day where the staff of your credit union goes into the community to help low-income and underserved families do repair work, painting and cleaning on their homes. Invite your members to join with staff, shoulder-to-shoulder in providing these services on Community Day as a way to mark National Cooperative Month—People Helping People.