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HELENA, Mont. – When it comes to political fund raising, the Montana Credit Union Network has discovered an old-style technique can simply work wonders: sell inexpensive raffle tickets to members for prize giveaways. Officials of the League agree that it’s not a vehicle that brings in huge dollar amounts but it certainly rallies the membership to the lobbying cause and in 2004 it was a huge hit. “I think our credit unions realize more than ever the importance of political fund raising and so we were pleased to get the CULAC award,” declared Al Vukasin, League chairman and president of Bear Paw CU in Havre, who made reference to a major GAC honor handed to the Network in Washington two weeks ago. The Network was recognized as the leading per capita CULAC fund raiser achieving 380% of its goal. The next highest percentage was 320%. Though the raffle promotion, the Network raised $31,000 of which $25,000 went to national CULAC races and the remainder to state contests. Employees, management and directors of the state’s 69 CUs sold the raffle tickets at $2 apiece with books of 20 often purchased by members with prizes awarded at the annual meeting. There were eight top prizes ranging from an $800 travel voucher to golf clubs, cash cards and jewelry. A hand-made quilt has been a perennial prize. A repeat of the raffle drawing is to be held this year at the Network’s annual meeting April 21-23 in Billings with expectations again that CULAC goals will be exceeded. The original Network pledge in 2004 was $6,500 which was raised to $7, 200 this year based on the 360,000 Montana CU members. Network officials are particularly proud that due to the raffle campaign, Montana was awarded a seat on the CULAC Executive Committee. The position will be filled by Montana’s CULAC Trustee, Rhonda Diefenderfer, president/CEO of Avanta FCU who attended her first meeting as a trustee and Executive Committee member during the GAC. “It is interesting that the success of Montana’s CULAC fundraising is made possible by donations that average around only $10 per contributor,” noted Jill Jarman, director of public relations and communications for the Network. “Our goal is not surpassed through large donations made by individuals but by widespread participation of our credit unions and their members,” she explained. Vukasin of Bear Paw said he is particularly gratified that the raffle creates wide participation by members. “Ninety per cent of the tickets we sell are bought by our members,” said Vukasin, whose $52 million CU has 12,500 members. [email protected]

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