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30 Ways to Reward Employees for Volunteering

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By Jaidyn Crookston | February 21, 2023 | 7 Minute Read

How to Reward Employees for Volunteering

How to Reward Employees for Volunteering

What’s more likely to convince an employee to volunteer? 1) Knowing that their volunteer hours will count towards the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and help their institution get a good rating? Or 2) knowing that volunteering gets them a gift card to Amazon or Starbucks? 


I think we can all agree the answer is generally option #2. 


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! 


This shows that rewarding employees for their volunteerism should be a top priority. Not only will employees continue to help their community, but your institution will collect more volunteer hours and your community involvement program will likely grow. Here are the ins-and-outs of rewarding employees who volunteer. 


(And if you haven’t built your employee volunteer program yet, check out this article.)


How to reward employees 


There are lots of ways to reward employees for volunteering. You need to figure out what works for your employees and your institution. What motivates employees? Do they only need a small prize or some recognition? Or does your program warrant some more substantial rewards? 


When it comes to rewarding employees, you may think that cash is king. But 65% of employees actually prefer non-cash incentives. Here are some non-cash reward ideas:


  • Reserved parking spots

  • More vacation time

  • Higher priority when approving time off

  • Relaxed dress code days

  • A department-wide pizza party

  • Tickets to a local playhouse, amusement park, or sporting event


For more reward ideas, download this PDF



No matter what you offer, the goal is to show employees that you value the time they spend volunteering. Every institution’s reward system will be different, and no reward system is better than another. Whatever works best for your institution is the way to go. 


Here’s how some other financial institutions reward employees for volunteering. 


Bankers Trust’s annual Employee Volunteer Awards


Bankers Trust, Iowa’s largest privately owned community bank, holds an annual Employee Volunteer Awards ceremony that recognizes team members and bank committees that have gone above and beyond in their communities. 


This award program has three categories: Community Impact, Community Development, and Teamwork Impact. Each winner gets $2,500 to donate to a nonprofit of their choice, as well as 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 over $52,000 to local nonprofits!


In addition to the annual Employee Volunteer Awards, Bankers Trust also has a special “Honor Roll” that encourages employees to volunteer. This is reserved for employees who have volunteered more than 30 hours throughout the year. 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.


Learn more about Bankers Trust’s volunteer program (and how they encourage employees to volunteer) here



Washington Trust’s Reach for the STARS Program


Washington Trust's Reach for the STARS program is a great example of how to reward employees for volunteering. 


Washington Trust employees earn STAR points each time they volunteer at a company-organized event. Attending a 2–3 hour event is worth 5 STAR points, and employees can earn more points for inviting friends and family members to participate, submitting photos after the event, wearing bank swag, and more. Employees can also earn points for serving on nonprofit boards, advisory councils, or committees. 


At the end of the year, each employee’s points can be redeemed for various gift cards or swag items (including jackets, beach towels, mugs, umbrellas, and more). Or employees can redeem their points in exchange for a charitable donation. In this case, 1 point = $1 for the nonprofit of their choice. 


This Reach for the STARS program has won a national Points of Light award and has been recognized in several publications. Employees love it and even compete with one another to earn the most points. These points are a great way to motivate employees to volunteer and help them feel a sense of accomplishment. 


Washington Trust tracks employee STAR points with Kadince. When employees volunteer, their hours are updated in the software and STAR points are assigned.


In addition to the Reach for the STARS program, Washington Trust also has an Annual Employee Fest where they reward employees who have gone above and beyond in serving their community. Winners of these awards are able to direct a $1,000 donation to a nonprofit of their choice. 


When to reward employees


What type of rewards program you have will likely determine the best time to reward employees for their efforts. You might reward employees every time they volunteer, or you might distribute awards weekly, quarterly, or annually.


Rewards can be kept one-on-one between you and each employee, or you might publicly congratulate employees for their service (like Bankers Trust does with the Employee Volunteer Awards). Rewards might even be automated so you aren’t heavily involved in the process (like Washington Trust’s point system). 


Publicly rewarding employees may serve to motivate others and remind them of your volunteer program. This keeps your program top of mind and may lead to more volunteer hours. Privately rewarding employees likely won't have the same effect, although it will still encourage that employee to volunteer again. Your program may even call for a mixture of the two. Maybe you publicly acknowledge everyone who has volunteered this quarter, but work with each employee privately when distributing rewards. Do whatever works best for your institution! 



How to track employee volunteer hours 

Rewarding employees for their volunteer efforts is a lot more difficult (i.e. impossible) when you don’t know who’s volunteering. That’s why it’s crucial to have a tracking system that logs employee volunteer hours. And it’s best if this system is easy to use, simple, and automated.   


Bankers Trust and Washington Trust Company use Kadince to track and monitor each employee’s volunteer hours. Here’s what they have to say:



As you can see, Kadince makes tracking employee volunteer hours a breeze. No more manual spreadsheets. No more begging employees to submit their own hours. And with an easy-to-read list of employee volunteer hours, you can reward those employees with the most hours and follow up with those who have logged very few hours. 


Schedule a demo to learn more.




And don’t forget to download this PDF for more ideas on how to reward employees.


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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