In a novel approach to conferencing, the $1 billion FORUM CreditUnion of Indianapolis said its annual "Symposium" seminar, apopular event among Midwest CUs for examining industry trends, isundergoing a low-cost remake allowing attendees to pick speakersand the agenda.

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But FORUM officials warned that the Oct. 7-8 event, which hasbeen on CU calendars for five years, may be scrapped if the creditunion "cannot break even" without financial help from the attendeesthough advance bookings and sponsorships.

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"For those of you that have attended you have consistently toldus that you want the event to live on," said a FORUM notice citingthe CU's subsidizing the cost of past symposiums. "We love thisevent, but we have to break even and to do that we need 150 peopleto pledge to attend at $225 each, plus 10 sponsorships at $500 apiece."

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Since FORUM has sought to host a symposium "catered to you andtaken your feedback seriously" it is offering attendees a chance to"make it happen" on their own by submitting "video auditions forthe speaker spots and determining the agenda."

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"Can't afford the registration cost? Then submit a video and getvoted onto the agenda," suggested the FORUM notice which isutilizing what is called the "crowdsourcing" concept used by otherindustries.

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FORUM officials stressed their intent has never been to makemoney on the symposium held in Fishers, Ind., the CU headquarters,but with marketing budgets slashed, it could no longer bear thehosting expense alone.

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