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By Jaidyn Crookston | August 30, 2022 | 8 Minute Read

How to Get Employees to Volunteer: 4 Methods to Try Today

Woman volunteering in her community

Community involvement is one of the most valuable ways to build goodwill as a financial institution. And your employees are crucial to this effort. Without the talents, hard work, and bright smiles of bank and credit union employees, chances are your institution won’t make much of a difference in your community. But motivating employees to volunteer can be difficult. 

 

Here are four unique ways to encourage employees to become active in the community. 

 

1. Compensate employees for volunteering

 

Motivation is often driven by compensation. When we receive something for the work we do, we’re much more likely to volunteer and enjoy doing so. Your employees have plenty of responsibilities, both at home and on the job, and that can make it difficult to prioritize volunteering unless it's worth their time. Compensation is a simple way to boost employee engagement and get the volunteers you need. 

When you think “compensation,” you may think this means paying your employees for the time they spend volunteering. But while effective, this isn’t the only way to compensate someone. Instead, you might provide powerful incentives that are even more motivating than a few extra bucks. In fact, a recent study found that 65% of employees prefer non-cash incentives.

Vacation time is a great example. Imagine getting an extra hour or two of vacation time every time you volunteer. That would be a pretty powerful incentive. Now the effort it takes to volunteer will feel more worthwhile, as employees can see clear benefits. 

Other great ways to compensate people for the time they spend in the community might include:

 

  • Reserved parking spots

  • Higher priority when approving time off

  • Relaxed dress code days

  • A department-wide pizza party

  • Tickets to a local playhouse or amusement park

 

No matter what you offer, the goal is to show employees that you actively value the time they spend volunteering. Now they’re more likely to volunteer and enjoy doing so. And now your institution can make an even bigger difference in the community.

 

2. Let employees choose which charitable causes to support

 

Your financial institution likely helps fund several community projects and nonprofit organizations. Another effective way to encourage employees to volunteer is by allowing them to choose which organizations your institution supports. Ask employees what causes are dear to them. Ask them where they want to volunteer. And then seek out partnerships with those organizations.

Studies have shown that giving people a choice makes them more engaged in an activity. Whether you encourage employees to suggest organizations for your institution to support or you offer them a selection of volunteering opportunities to try, you're giving them more autonomy. That helps them feel a sense of ownership over their time and will lead to better participation

3. Make volunteering easy

 

Most people want to help others, but may not have the time, budget, or push to do so. When your institution makes it easy to volunteer, you’re likely to see employee engagement rates and job satisfaction soar. With your institution backing them, employees can spread their talents around the community and bring awareness to your brand. 

The simplest way to make volunteering easy is by giving employees time during the workday to do so. There are three ways to do this. First, you can offer regular volunteer opportunities onsite, like food collections, financial education classes, or charity drives. This lets people volunteer while at work, and it directly links the benefits of volunteering to your institution. 

Second, you can give people time during the workday to go volunteer at their preferred location. Offering people two paid hours weekly to commute to and volunteer at their preferred organization makes it much easier for them to schedule it into their day. It also gives them an extra push to volunteer, since whatever organization they choose is likely important to them.

Finally, you can combine the two other options and plan group volunteering opportunities during the workday. Take several of your employees offsite to volunteer while wearing branded t-shirts once or twice a month. If you plan the volunteering opportunity and guarantee that people won't have other obligations during that time, you remove most of the barriers that would keep people from getting involved. A good example of this is Isabella Bank’s annual Compassion Into Action event.

 

Here are other examples of bank and credit union employees volunteering in their communities: 

 

 

4. Recognize employees who volunteer

 

Recognizing employees for the amazing work they do may be all they want. Praising others and acknowledging their work is known to have amazing results and can boost employee performance rates by over 11%

 

Ready for some more cool statistics? 92% of workers are more likely to repeat a specific action after receiving recognition for it. And an employee who has been recognized is 63% more likely to stay at his or her current job within the next three to six months. Recognition is clearly important! 

There are several ways to give your volunteers the recognition they deserve. The simplest method is straightforward: Keep tabs on the people who regularly volunteer and make a point to pull them aside and thank them for their efforts. This kind of in-person gratitude shows that you actively value their contributions, which can be motivating all on its own. 

You can also send monthly, company-wide emails that thank the employees who logged the most volunteer hours that period. Sending these emails to the whole company adds a social element to the praise, making it that much more powerful. It can also encourage people who have fewer hours to try harder during the next period in hopes of making the list.  

Finally, you can formally recognize employees for their efforts by setting up quarterly or annual awards. Awarding those with the most community involvement hours is a great way to recognize and encourage your employees. Giving a simple prize basket, gift card, or "Volunteer of the Quarter" award is easy and effective. For a small cost, you can turn volunteering into a competition that's good for both your company and the community. 

How to track and manage employee volunteer hours

 

Getting your employees to volunteer is just one piece of the puzzle. Now you have to track employee volunteer hours and manage their volunteer opportunities. 

 

Some institutions do this using spreadsheets. But this is slow, difficult, and much more frustrating than it’s worth. That’s why hundreds of banks and credit unions around the country use Kadince, community involvement software built specifically for financial institutions. 

 

Kadince makes it easy to track, manage, and report all your institution’s community involvement data, including events, donations, and volunteer hours. Ready to reward employees for volunteering last month? Just look at Kadince and see exactly how many volunteer hours each employee has (even logging these hours is super easy!). Planning a cool new volunteer event and need employees to sign up? Kadince makes this SO easy for both you and your employees. (See how Univest Financial uses Kadince to track and manage events.) 

 

Schedule a demo to learn how Kadince makes it easy to engage your employees in the community and track all the data. 

 


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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