Community Service

A Brief History of International CU Day

This year’s slogan: CUs Unite for Good

October 15, 2013
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A worldwide focus

During the 1950s, CUNA’s World Extension Department provided technical assistance and philosophical guidance for credit union development across the globe. So many countries had established credit union movements by 1964 that CUNA’s mission was formally expanded, and CUNA International was formed.

Each year, new national movements joined the credit union family, and more people wanted to celebrate their uniqueness and unity. Many people found appealing the idea of a special holiday that could be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of religion, political beliefs, cultural differences, or language.

An array of credit unions and leagues began to distribute publications, banners, slogans, and kits, and the day of honor and recognition grew to be acknowledged globally. Thus, the worldwide exposure to International Credit Union (ICU) Day became formalized.

By 1971, worldwide credit union progress was so substantial that it was again decided to restructure the movement and to form a fourth tier of service. This led to the creation of the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), which assists in the establishment and maintenance of viable credit union movements wherever the need and desire are expressed.

In Canada, Australia, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, New Zealand, Great Britain, and the South Pacific, national and regional credit union federations and confederations were established to support and endorse credit union development. To aid in the process, that same year WOCCU also created the first ICU Day materials that were used around the world.

In 2010, CUNA created a Facebook page for ICU Day.

How do CUs celebrate?

As more people became involved, they created a variety of ways to mark the occasion. Many credit unions sponsor open houses and hold picnics, fairs, festivals, and parades. Public gatherings with visiting dignitaries have been found effective in attracting media attention and public involvement.

There are special contests and parties for children, plus poster or essay competitions. Tribute is paid to past, present, and future credit union leaders at banquets and dinner dances, and government officials make proclamations.

There are more than 112 million people served by more than 36,901 credit unions in 93 nations around the globe who could, potentially, celebrate ICU Day.

NEXT: Sixty-five years of ICU Day slogans

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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