How To Engage Your Employees In Giving Back To The Community


(MENAFN- 3BL) This article was previously published on MaineBiz

By: Tony DiSotto, KeyBank Maine market President

Recently, 140 KeyBank Maine teammates and I completed 18 community projects and 564 community service hours in a single afternoon. KeyBank's annual Neighbors Make The Difference Day started in Key's Alaska market in 1991 and was quickly embraced by the Maine market. I personally have participated in the effort in each of my eighteen years with Key. This day of volunteerism has been a cornerstone of our business and culture for decades and is just one of the ways our bank supports the communities where we live and work.

Why is employee volunteerism important?

The textbook answer includes increased employee engagement, talent development, teambuilding, and an enhanced corporate reputation. But a truly impactful employee volunteer program accomplishes so much more – it says to employees and other stakeholders that the health and wellbeing of the communities where we do business is vital, a priority, and our collective responsibility. Employees giving of themselves that truly builds community commitment within a company. This is the foundation that KeyBank is built upon.

What makes a successful employee volunteer program?

I can point to several elements in our Neighbors Day program that have contributed to its success and longevity:

  • Clear alignment with company culture – KeyBank's culture is built on our commitment to helping customers and communities thrive and we do that through fair and responsible banking services, community lending and investments to low-and moderate-income neighborhoods and populations, impactful philanthropic giving, and employee community outreach. Our employees are encouraged to“live our brand” by conducting financial literacy programs in their communities, serving on nonprofit boards and committees, and participating in the bank's employee giving program. Neighbors Day is another way our employees can“own” the bank's commitment to the communities we serve.
  • Management supported - Not only does KeyBank close branches and provide paid-time off for our employees to participate in Neighbors Day, our leaders from the top-of-the-house down take part in local projects. It says to our employees, our clients and the public that community service is a priority at Key.
  • Employee-led -- Neighbors Day is spearheaded by a committee in our Cleveland headquarters, but it would not be successful without dedicated teams of local employees in each market. Here in Maine, branch and line of business teams identify nonprofits with which to work and organize project teams and tasks. This employee-led initiative is what sets Neighbors Day apart from KeyBank's other community investment activities and has kept it going strong year after year.
  • Valued nonprofit partnerships – collaborating with reputable nonprofit organizations ensures that our volunteer efforts are impactful and address genuine community needs. Our branch teams have built strong relationships with local nonprofits by serving as their bankers, board members, and community partners. They are nonprofits that we believe in and we're proud to support their efforts.

A well-implemented and supported employee volunteer program is just one element of a comprehensive corporate community support strategy, and one of the many ways that KeyBank supports the Maine market. In 2023, KeyBank and KeyBank Foundation provided $28.7 million in community investments in affordable housing, community development, LMI small business and mortgage lending, and philanthropy in the state.

Key Private Bank is the marketing name through which KeyBank National Association (KeyBank) provides a range of financial products and solutions. KeyBank, Member FDIC.

About KeyBank's 2024 Neighbors Make the Difference Day

Neighbors Make The Difference Day of community service was held Thursday, June 6, 2024, with more than 4,200 KeyBank employees across the nation completing 559 community projects and 17,000 service hours in one afternoon. In Maine, 141 employees completed 18 projects for the following nonprofit organizations: Hirundo Wildlife Trust, Alton; Bread of Life, Augusta; Bridgton Historical Society; Birdsacre Sanctuary, Ellsworth; Fort Kent Public Library; Ark Animal Sanctuary, Houlton; Greater Androscoggin Humane Society, Lewiston; Travis Mill Foundation, Mt. Vernon; Oxford School Age Child Care; McAuley Residence, Portland; Maine Needs, Portland; Homeless Services of Aroostook, Presque Isle; The Ecology School at River Bend Farm, Saco; Spirits Place, Saint Albans; PL Services STRIVE, South Portland; The Come Spring Food Pantry, Union; Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals, Windham; Yarmouth Community Services.

About the author:

Tony DiSotto serves as KeyBank Market President and Key Private Bank Market Leader in Maine and Vermont. He can be reached at KeyBank's Portland office at (207) 874-7102 and ....

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