Employee Volunteer Program - We’re Really onto Something

Blog Author Elizabeth Nuss

Written by: Elizabeth Nuss

Published: January 27, 2016

Found in: Community

I have the pleasure of overseeing our Employee Volunteerism Program here at the credit union. This program allows our employees the chance to engage with their communities, give back, and make a difference.

The credit union gives each full-time employee eight hours of paid volunteer leave per year. We started 2015 with some pressure due to the success of our launch year. In 2014, our first year of the program, we blew our goals out of the water with nearly 60 percent employee participation. That’s pretty much unheard of for an organization our size! Was that just beginner’s luck? How do I ensure we have continued success with this program? These were some important questions I had to tackle.

This past year I got the opportunity to organize some micro volunteer opportunities – that’s when we bring the action right into our workplace. We partnered with Olympia’s Hands on Children’s Museum a couple of times. They had some craft needs for their big summer event, Sand in the City – sounds like fun, right? Another time we held a mail-stuffing party for our local United Way – they needed payroll deduction forms counted out and stuffed into brochures. The most recent micro volunteer activity was for the YWCA’s Other Bank making hygiene kits to be distributed through the FORKids Program at The Thurston County Food Bank.

Bringing these activities in makes it easy for staff to give their time but it also does a couple more things – it builds relationships by bringing people together that may not know each other – and it also gives staff the opportunity to learn about new organizations or programs they may not be familiar with.

Across the company, we also have great teams that took to organizing volunteer activities on their own – like Joe Horton in the IT group who scheduled a day to clean up the McLane Creek Trail for the Department of Natural Resources. Or the manager of our new Puyallup branch, Lisa Beach, who connected with the Pierce County United Way Day of Caring to spruce up the Pegasus Therapeutic Farm. Then there’s our Spokane branch team. They worked at the Boys & Girls Club one Saturday last spring. It all adds up and I’m happy to report that we had 77 percent participation in 2015 with our Employee Volunteerism Program – more than I ever dreamt! But honestly, I work with an amazing team so I’m not the least be surprised.

One of the best parts of 2015 was the opportunity to connect our members with great causes. We did this three times with Member Volunteer Events – twice in Olympia with our partner GRuB (an organization that focuses on connecting youth with education about sustainable food solutions) and one in partnership with the City of Spokane at the Riverfront Park. Wow, each of the events was just amazing and heartwarming. People like you and I just giving up your Saturday morning because your credit union asked you to. We belong to a great community and that’s obvious. I cannot wait to bring more of these activities to our Washington neighborhoods in 2016.

Elizabeth Nuss