So what exactly is International Credit Union (ICU) Day?
We know when it is (third Thursday in October).
We know where it is (celebrated around the world).
We know why it is (to promote the credit union philosophy)
But what, exactly, is it?
For the answer, I’ve turned to some credit union marketers and front-line staff.
Kristy Olson is new to Credit Union West in Arizona, but she already knows ICU Day is about recognizing members.
Credit unions are known for thanking members in October with prizes, raffles, handshakes, and, as always, food. From hot dog lunches to coffee and cake, there will be food.
Evelyn Tafalla with HUD Federal Credit Union in Washington, D.C., considers it a traditional event and expects to celebrate “even in these austere times.”
Taking a day to recognize the impact credit unions can make in our lives goes back as far as 1927. Although Bank Transfer Day grabbed the spotlight in 2011, credit unions have been telling the credit union story every October for more than half a century.
Last year, Communities of Abilene Federal Credit Union and children from the Youth Services of Dyess Air Force Base created country flags to represent credit unions worldwide. The credit union displayed the flags at each branch.
Other credit unions, such as L.E.O. Credit Union Inc., Painesville, Ohio, shared desserts staff baked using their family “homeland” recipes. This year, credit unions have been sharing international recipes, which are published weekly in the free weekly e-newsletter, ICU Day Update.
Many credit unions celebrate ICU Day by contributing to a charity or community need. Be it their time or their money (or both), staff and members illustrate the philosophy of “people helping people.”
In 2011, Desert Valleys Federal Credit Union in Ridgecrest Calif., joined forces with a local animal shelter to help find homes for some lonely pets. The credit union also collected donations of pet food, animal treats, and money to support the animal shelter.
Making sense of it all
Nationally and internationally, credit unions work to build their communities. On October 18, credit union staff can step back to thank those who make a difference and reward members for being a vital part of their credit unions.
This year’s theme, “Members Matter Most,” strives to be simple and clear, summarizing credit unions’ primary purpose and reason for being.
Beyond a day of thanks, ICU Day can serve as a chance to explain how credit unions are different and to anchor a membership campaign. Bank bashing may garner headlines, but what sort of new member does it attract?
Whereas an educated new member has full reason to put down roots and take advantage of multiple credit union advantages.
Whatever form ICU Day takes, these resources will make it memorable:
- Art and articles, including high-resolution images of the ICU Day poster, coloring pages, and copy to promote ICU Day.
- Worksheets to help members schedule, plan, and budget, featuring promotion and celebration tips and a budgeting tool.
- Weekly e-newsletter sent free with celebration and social media ideas.
For more information, contact Joanne Sepich at 800-356-9655, ext. 4867.