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By Jaidyn Crookston | October 17, 2022 | 10 Minute Read

How Bankers Trust Encourages Employees to Volunteer in the Community

A Bankers Trust employee volunteering in her community

You know it’s important for your financial institution’s employees to volunteer. You know that volunteering comes with many benefits, both for your institution and your employees. What may be difficult to know is how to actually get those employees to volunteer. 


You’re busy. Employees are busy. Everyone is busy. But don’t let employee volunteerism fall to the bottom of your to-do list. Instead of just hoping employees will volunteer and log their hours, you need to actively and regularly encourage them to volunteer. Your efforts will help employees see how important it is to volunteer and will likely lead to much higher volunteer rates across your institution. 


One financial institution that regularly encourages employees to volunteer is Bankers Trust, Iowa’s largest privately owned community bank. Bankers Trust has seen a lot of success while encouraging employees to volunteer. In fact, almost half of the bank’s employees regularly volunteer, giving thousands of hours to their community each year. 


So how can you encourage your employees to volunteer like Bankers Trust does? Let’s find out. 


Ensure that employees know about volunteer opportunities


The first step to encouraging employees to volunteer is making sure they know about different opportunities. You can remind employees to volunteer all day long, but your efforts won't make any difference unless they know what’s out there and how to get involved. 


Bankers Trust has a page on its intranet dedicated to volunteerism. This page is frequently updated to list upcoming volunteer events and highlight various activities in the community. This keeps employees informed and allows them to sign up for the volunteer opportunities of their choice. 



Give each employee time to volunteer


If you expect employees to volunteer after work or on their time off, chances are you’ll be disappointed. Everyone is busy, and volunteering at the request of their employer when not at work often falls to the bottom of their priority list. Instead, employees are much more likely to volunteer when given specific times to do so.


At Bankers Trust, each full-time, non-exempt employee is given 8 hours of Volunteer Time Off (VTO) every year. Employees can use this time whenever they want, but must use it to volunteer at a nonprofit organization of their choice. Bankers Trust has found this to be an effective way to encourage employees to volunteer because employees get to choose where they serve and it’s typically at a nonprofit close to their heart. 


Track volunteer hours and reward those with the most hours


Unless you know which employees are volunteering, it’ll be impossible to reward them for their efforts. That’s why it’s crucial to have a tracking system that logs employee volunteer hours and easily lets you see which employees are volunteering the most and which need to step it up. And to avoid spending too much time manually tracking volunteer hours, it’s important that this system is automatic and easy to use. 


Bankers Trust uses Kadince to track and monitor each employee’s volunteer hours. Kadince makes it easy for employees to report their own hours and for the bank’s community engagement officer to input hours themself. And with an easy-to-read list of employee volunteer hours, it’s easy to reward those employees with the most hours and follow up with those who have logged very few hours. 


While employees are given 8 hours to volunteer, the employees who have volunteered more than 30 hours throughout the year are placed on a special “Honor Roll.” This is a prestigious list that only includes the top Bankers Trust volunteers, and getting on this list brings a sense of pride for that employee. Employees want to be on this list, and many employees continue to volunteer beyond their allotted 8 hours in hopes of making it. 


Once on the “Honor Roll,” employees receive several perks, including a special T-shirt and the chance to win a $500 donation to the nonprofit of their choice.


(To learn more about rewarding employees who volunteer, check out this article.)


Tracking isn’t just for rewarding employees


Bankers Trust also tracks volunteer hours for its Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) program. Because bank employees do so much service, some of those hours are bound to count under the CRA, and Bankers Trust knows exactly how to capture them. 


According to Joshua Kummer, “Kadince has not only streamlined our process of collecting employee volunteer activities, but it has also allowed us to improve reporting for CRA community development purposes. We have the ability to create customized reports, which help us track and monitor CRA-qualified volunteer activities, and we can now provide this information to management in a clear and consistent manner. We also can provide our examiners with login credentials to access interactive, user-friendly reports, which has significantly improved our overall exam process.” Way to go Bankers Trust! 



Reward employees for their efforts


You’ve probably heard that employees are more likely to volunteer when given some incentive to do so. This is true! In fact, studies show that 92% of workers are more likely to repeat a specific action after receiving recognition for it. This means that when you reward employees for volunteering in the community, 92% of them are more likely to volunteer again in the future. That’s a lot of repeat volunteers! 


But rewarding employees doesn’t have to mean larger paychecks and end-of-year bonuses. 65% of employees actually prefer non-cash incentives. This might mean more vacation time, priority parking spots, tickets to local events, or whatever else will incentivize your employees. And a super simple way to recognize employees’ efforts and encourage them to continue volunteering is by regularly praising and rewarding their hard work. 


Bankers Trust has annual Employee Volunteer Awards that recognize team members and bank committees that have gone above and beyond in their communities. There are three categories: Community Impact, Community Development, and Teamwork Impact. Each winner from each category gets $2,500 to donate to a nonprofit of their choice, not to mention an invitation to a special luncheon and internal and external recognition. Since the bank started the Employee Volunteer Awards in 2016, nearly 90 team members have been honored and the bank has donated $52,500 to local nonprofits!


This recognition program has encouraged employees to volunteer because employees want to donate that money to a nonprofit they care about. This motivates them to serve their community and track their volunteer hours. After starting this recognition program, Bankers Trust saw employees making a bigger effort to volunteer and track their hours. It sure helps to reward those volunteers!


Tell your community


Your employees aren’t the only ones who need to know what you’re up to. Another important part of getting employees to volunteer is spreading the word among community members.


When community members know that your institution regularly helps the community, they’re more likely to look favorably upon you and support your institution. As for your employees, seeing your institution’s name and logo around the community supporting nonprofits and other organizations can be a powerful drive to get them to volunteer.  


Because your community expects to see your employees helping others, your employees may feel a little bit of healthy pressure to get out and volunteer. This will boost your numbers and further cement your institution’s culture. 


Bankers Trust tells the community about its efforts in various ways, including a podcast highlighting nonprofits and community leaders. This “Community Difference Makers” podcast is Bankers Trust’s way of connecting with the community and having real conversations with people who can make a difference. Every week, the bank’s Chief Consumer Banking & Marketing Officer sits down with nonprofit leaders, community members, or bank employees to talk about an organization’s missions, ways to get involved in the community, and what Bankers Trust is doing to help. 


This podcast is shared around the bank and the community and encourages employees to get out and make a difference through volunteer work.  



Define your goals


Volunteering has always been a strong part of Bankers Trust’s culture. Employees love their community and want to give back. But that still doesn’t mean that every single employee is able to make the time to do so. 


To encourage employees to volunteer, Bankers Trust has made some very clear goals. These goals include:


  • 30% of employees volunteering 30 hours or more

  • 18% of employees serving on a nonprofit board or committee 


While bank employees haven’t hit both these goals quite yet, they are well on their way.


Creating clear goals and communicating these goals with your employees can serve as a strong motivator. Once they see a goal, everyone wants to accomplish it and may work harder to do so. Just make sure to create goals that are realistic and easy to track. 


Speaking of tracking, Kadince makes it easy to track and manage your institution’s employee volunteer hours, as well as your volunteerism and donation goals. According to Christina Jarck from Bankers Trust, “Kadince has streamlined our community involvement tracking by offering one system where we have a complete overview of a nonprofit and a full picture of the bank’s and our employees’ involvement with each organization.”


Want to learn more? Schedule a demo


And if your institution’s volunteer program is just getting started, check out this article to learn how to create a successful employee volunteer program.


None of Kadince, Inc., its affiliates, or its respective employees, directors, officers, and agents (collectively, “Kadince”) are responsible or liable for any content or information incorporated herein. Read full disclosure.

Jaidyn Crookston | Content Manager, Kadince

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