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By Jaidyn Crookston | January 09, 2024 | 11 Minute Read

How This Small Bank’s “Make A Difference” Day Led to Over 400 Volunteer Hours In One Day

Premier Community Bank employees after volunteering in their community

When you hear “this bank logged over 400 volunteer hours in one day,” you probably picture a bank of at least $2 billion in assets with tons of employees, right? Often, you would be right. It’s easier for large banks and credit unions to log lots of volunteer hours because they typically have plenty of employees and big community engagement programs. 

 

But small financial institutions are mighty, too, and they care about their communities just as much as large banks do. With enough support and a well-planned employee volunteer program, small institutions can log hundreds of volunteer hours in one day, too.

 

Premier Community Bank proves it.

 

Premier Community Bank is a $486 million bank based in Wisconsin. With 11 branches and around 120 employees, this bank is set on having a big impact. 

 

On October 9, 2023, Premier Community Bank had its 5th annual “Make A Difference” (MAD) Day. During this day of service, bank employees logged a total of 440 volunteer hours. In one day! 

 

Let’s see how this small bank did it.

 

Make A Difference Day

 

What exactly is MAD Day? Premier Community Bank’s “Make A Difference” Day is one day each year when the bank is closed and employees spend their time volunteering throughout the community. MAD Day began in 2017 to celebrate the bank’s 75th anniversary. It was so popular among employees and community organizations that the bank has been doing it ever since.

 

Planning and executing this day of service is a lot of work, but Gwen Fischer and her team are up to the challenge.  

 

Gwen is the AVP of the bank’s marketing department and played a large part in making this year’s MAD Day a success. 


MAD Day logo

 

“MAD Day is always a lot of fun,” Gwen said. “The bank is closed that day and most of our employees spend the day volunteering. The organizations we help love it and our employees look forward to it each year. This year we logged more volunteer hours than any other year so far.” 

 

For this year’s MAD Day, Gwen and her team organized 20 different activities throughout the bank’s footprint. Finding these activities is the most challenging part of MAD Day. It’s not that they can’t find organizations to help—there’s always a need for volunteers—it’s that they try to have an activity for everyone. They want every employee to feel involved and welcome, but not everyone can climb a ladder or mow a lawn. 

 

To solve this problem, they also arrange less physically intense activities like filing paperwork and cutting newspaper clippings at the historic society. This way, employees can choose the activity that works best for them. They sign up for their preferred activity before MAD Day so the team knows what to expect and which activities are most popular. 

 

As Gwen’s team plans these MAD Day activities, they also keeps the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) in mind. “We’re in the process of educating our staff on what CRA means,” Gwen said. “It can be difficult to find opportunities in northern Wisconsin, but we do our best to help everyone in the community and incorporate some CRA credit into our MAD Day activities.”

 

The bank president, Tom Pamperin, is a big supporter of MAD Day. Tom spends the day visiting as many of the volunteer spots as possible and enjoys connecting with bank employees. Last year, Gwen rode around with Tom and experienced MAD Day from a different point of view. “It’s so much fun seeing everyone volunteer,” Gwen said. “And being with our president was a great opportunity. The day starts out with a kick-off call from Tom. All employees can call in and listen. I recorded him speaking about MAD Day and our bank’s commitment to serve. It’s clear how much he cares about the communities that we’re a part of.”

 

Gwen serving her community

 

For other small institutions wanting to have a big impact like Premier Community Bank, it’s smart to get your president on board. Without their support, it can be difficult to get the traction needed to set up your volunteer day and get employees excited. Fortunately, most bank and credit union presidents are more than happy to serve their community and encourage employees to do the same. 

 

While all bank employees are encouraged to participate in MAD Day, it isn’t required. Employees can use their PTO if they’re not able to participate. Most employees are very excited about MAD Day, and only 5 or 6 took PTO this year. 

 

Each participating employee is asked to spend six hours serving the community. But many of them serve beyond that. “We had lots of employees who served 7, 8, or even 9 hours on MAD Day,” Gwen said. “It certainly isn’t required for them to stay that long, but it’s so fun to see them get excited and want to serve.”  

 

Once the bank’s MAD Day was over, it was time to track all those hours. 

 

How Premier Community Bank tracked these hours

 

Just like any other financial institution, Premier Community Bank employees sometimes struggle to record their volunteer hours. 

 

Luckily, Premier Community Bank started using Kadince software in 2016 to track and manage all the bank’s volunteer hours, donations, and marketing projects. Since using Kadince, it’s been much easier to track volunteer hours and see the full impact of the bank’s community involvement. 

 

“Kadince has been wonderful for our institution,” Gwen said. “I wasn’t at the bank when we first began using Kadince, but I’ve heard what it was like before and I’m glad we have it now. Before Kadince, we didn’t really have a set system to track volunteer hours. Now being able to record all our information in one spot is fantastic. Our compliance officer loves it. Since there have been some recent changes with the Community Reinvestment Act, we know it’s more important than ever to track these hours correctly. We’ve been really trying to encourage employees to enter more hours into Kadince, and we've come up with a couple of different incentives to do so.”

 

Gwen began incentivizing employees to track their hours in Kadince even before this last MAD Day. For every hour employees reported prior to MAD Day, they received one entry into a drawing. Two random winners were selected to spend the day with the bank president. They rode around to the volunteer spots, ate lunch with the president, and got to see MAD Day from a different perspective. Not only did this help get employees excited about MAD Day, it emphasized the importance of submitting their hours into Kadince and using the system. 

 

Once MAD Day was over, Gwen needed all participating employees to report their hours. “We have a Kadince form to track volunteer hours,” she said. “All the employee has to do is fill out that form and their hours are tracked in the system. Kadince makes it quick and easy for employees to report their hours.” 

 

In the end, bank employees reported 440 volunteer hours during MAD Day. “We have an overall goal to hit 3,000 hours this year,” Gwen said. “MAD Day put us at around 2,400 hours. On December 21st, we hit our 3,000 hour goal! I couldn’t be happier.” 

 

 

Kadince Hours dashboard

 

 

 

Want to learn how Kadince makes it easy to track and manage your institution’s volunteer hours, donations, events, and more? Schedule a demo.

 

 

 

After MAD Day

 

Once one MAD Day ends, Gwen turns her attention to the next one. “We always want to be growing and doing what employees enjoy,” she said. Gwen sends a survey to all employees asking about their MAD Day experience. What did they like, what did they not like, how might they improve next year, etc. Based on survey results from this last MAD Day, Gwen says they’ll likely look at planning even more locations and trying different types of volunteer work. 

 

Gwen is always looking for ways to incentivize employees to submit their volunteer hours. After the MAD Day rush to submit hours, she says it’s important to continue reminding them and reinforcing the Kadince process. At the end of 2023, the five employees with the most volunteer hours were able to nominate an organization to receive a $500 donation from the bank. Gwen has also been randomly choosing volunteers monthly to receive gift cards to their employee apparel store. Both of these incentives helped keep employees motivated to submit their hours and reach that 3,000 hour goal. 

 

Something Gwen said her bank has struggled with is making sure the community knows about MAD Day and what the bank is doing. Now, Gwen has a few ideas to change that. She wants to publish press releases and newspaper articles to help community members see their impact, and she wants to get the organizations themselves more involved. “Right now,” Gwen said, “our branch managers identify potential MAD Day locations and reach out and organize everything. I’d love to create a Kadince form for organizations to request MAD Day volunteers. More and more of them are learning about it, and using Kadince will keep everything organized and will send it through our approval process.”

 

Gwen is excited for the MAD Days to come. The more her community knows about MAD Day, the bigger it can grow and the more people can be involved. And since serving the whole community is the very idea behind MAD Day, making sure people know about it is crucial. 

 

Gwen and her team in the community

 

Having a big impact isn’t just for big institutions

 

Even though Premier Community Bank is classified as a “small” bank, they’ve found ways to have a BIG impact. 

 

Logging 440 hours in one day is a huge accomplishment, and Premier Community Bank proves that this feat isn’t reserved for large banks with hundreds of employees. Any bank can build an employee volunteer program and encourage employees to volunteer. And getting employees to submit their hours doesn’t have to be as difficult as it seems. 

 

So get out there, build a volunteer program, and have a big impact. Gwen and her team will be cheering you on. 




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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