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ICU Day Nears, CUs Preparing Special Activities
MADISON, Wis. (10/7/13)--With Oct. 17--International Credit Union Day--fast approaching, more than 196 million credit union members in 100 countries are preparing to "unite for good" with a variety of activities to celebrate the credit union difference and demonstrate the value of credit unions. Credit unions already are tweeting their excitement.

Among the tweets:
  • "@BestAdvantageCU  will be educating our members on what we stand fork...the 7 Cooperative Principles!!"
  • "We're gearing up for #icuday! Feel free to print out this coloring page for the little ones so they can color awayJ ow.ly/i/3fUCJ." The tweet, from TDECU, was accompanied by a Unite for Good coloring page.
  • "Join us Oct 17th for  #cookies and #coffee in our lobby as we celebrate International Credit Union day! " said Star Choice CU, while Pen Air FCU, noted "All Pen Air FCU branches will be serving refreshments!"
Their excitement isn't new. For 65 years, since 1948--the credit union has celebrated ICU Day by reflecting on the movement's history and promoting its achievements on the third Thursday of October.
 
This year's theme, "Credit Unions Unite for Good," builds on the Credit Union National Association's Unite for Good campaign, which has united credit unions to work to remove barriers, create awareness of the good credit unions do for members and their communities, and foster service excellence to encourage Americans to choose credit unions as their best financial partner.
 
Many credit unions are extending their celebrations for the entire week--or even the entire month.

In Kansas City, Mo., Mazuma CU has united with CommunityAmerica, United Consumers and Kansas City CUs, to host a Facebook sweepstakes. The credit unions will give away $2,000 to one of three Kansas City organizations--Junior Achievement of Middle America, Down Syndrome Guild of Kansas City, or Great Plains SPCA--as well as randomly select an individual to choose a matching $2,000 contribution to a cause of the winner's choice. Voting, which began Oct. 1, is open to the general public and will end Oct. 17.

"We wanted to do more than lip service and something that would really show the cooperative spirit of credit unions," said Mazuma brand manager Andy Dickhut. "This allows us to do it in a unique way that everyone can take part in."

Together the credit unions  have more than 8,000 Facebook friends.  "Facebook is all about connecting with a community of people who share similar interests," Dickhut said. "We're all interested in doing good, so turning to social media for this idea was a natural fit."

To vote, consumers can go to any participating credit union's official Facebook page and "like" the page, which will then direct them to the vote page. There, they select the organization they'd like to win and fill out a form to be eligible for the individual drawing.  To vote from a mobile device, voters can go to woobox.com/q7ycw6.

At the chapter level, North Carolina credit union chapters are activities throughout the month, with the Tarheel Chapter getting an early start--tomorrow--in a discussion about the political landscape for the 2014 election cycle. Attendees will also get federal and state legislative updates from North Carolina Credit Union League staff.  On Oct. 15, the Foothills Chapter featuring guests Al Henry, H&H Barber Shop and a local comedian, while the Western Chapter celebrates with wine and cheese, dinner and bingo.

On Oct. 17, the Northwest Chapter will have dinner, host B-52 Bingo and present its Person and Volunteer of the Year Awards.  The Southeast Chapter plans an auction to raise funds for the Southeast Chapter Charity and Scholarship Programs, with a dinner and raffle. And the Piedmont Chapter dinner meeting will feature magician Chris Hannibal.

The Cornerstone Credit Union League has announced a "$10.17 for 10/17" fundraiser for its credit union advocacy efforts in Texas. It plans to raise $25,000 for the Texas political action committee. The league said that if five members per credit union contributed $10.17 for Oct. 17,  it would raise the full amount.

Both CUNA and the World Council of Credit Unions have created Web pages with resources credit unions can use, including posters, logos, member gifts, marketing ideas and more. Use the links for more information. Credit unions can share their ideas by using the link.

And here are a few suggestions for celebrating:
  • Hold an open house at the credit union and branch offices, with tours and refreshments. It is an opportunity to build relationships with members and discuss products and services.
  • Invite elected officials to a "Meet the Members" day.
  • Get the word out about the worldwide credit union movement by displaying posters and offering international foods.
  • Have a "guest day" at the credit union where members can bring guests for refreshments and learn more about the credit union.
  • Help members "meet their credit union" by displaying photos and biographies of employees.
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