How has your career prepared you for your current role?
I had a journalism degree when I started at the bank as a teller almost 13 years ago. A little over two years later, I moved into the marketing department and used my experience from working with our clients with my background in writing and telling a story (marketing isn’t all that different from journalism!) and soon developed a career in bank marketing. I have been heavily involved in my company’s philanthropic activities for over 10 years and have been the leader of the marketing department for the last five years. It allows me to combine my love of marketing with my love of community and corporate activism.
How are your bank's philanthropic activities — i.e., grants, impact investments, sponsorships, volunteerism — structured?
We are a community bank, so it is important to us that money remains locally. Pacific Continental’s activities are primarily centralized at the market level so that decisions and activities are being made locally. For example, our Seattle bankers plan volunteer activities for local employees and the decisions for which organizations to give to are made locally as well. From time to time, the markets will reach out to me for input and guidance on some opportunities for contributions or sponsorships as there may be some strategic marketing components to consider. Additionally, we have a bank-wide employee program — Giving with Heart — that oversees our employee volunteer program and as a committee, they may coordinate similar activities across all markets, which will still be coordinated locally. For example, every spring we participate in the American Bankers Association’s Teach Children to Save activities; the committee will determine what activities we will do and then bankers in each market will volunteer at local schools to teach kids about saving money.
How has this work changed since the Great Recession?
There haven’t been too many changes to our activities since the recession. However, we have increased our support to be more than just financial contributions and/or volunteer help. We also host a number of educational events for nonprofit organizations and provide various resources, such as a white paper series, to help nonprofits run their organization effectively and efficiently so they can focus on serving their mission. Additionally, since the recession, we have added new areas of support to our employee program (sustainability and animal welfare) and increased our employee match program; we previously matched our employees’ donations up to $100/year and we now match it up to $500/year.
What's been a big success for your bank's philanthropic activity?
One of our most recent successes was increasing the amount of an employee donation that the bank will match. For more than 10 years, the bank has matched up to $100 a year for an employee’s personal donations to organizations of their choice. The program has been very popular and successful and starting in 2016, the bank now matches up to $500 an employee each year! Many of our employees support a number of organizations so this has allowed them to provide even more support — and a matching donation — to more organizations.
What's a big challenge for your philanthropic activities?
There may be some challenges that vary by market, but our biggest challenge overall is our desire to support the community and nonprofit organizations, especially as a bank that specializes in banking nonprofits, while understanding we don’t have unlimited funds to do everything we might want to do.
What’s one more question we should ask, and how would you answer it?
Q. What are other ways that you support nonprofit organizations?
A.In addition to our corporate philanthropy program and our robust employee program (where employees are given up to 40 hours a year of paid time off to volunteer and have up to $500 of their personal donations matched by the bank), we provide support to the nonprofit community in a number of ways. We host an average of over 25 events a year for nonprofit leaders and board members, on a variety of topics including fundraising, board development, preparing for an audit and more. We also publish a white paper series specifically for nonprofits on timely and relevant topics for the sector, including program evaluation, capital campaigns and more. Additionally, many of our bankers make presentations throughout the year to nonprofit leaders, board members and students participating in nonprofit management or similar programs at many schools and universities throughout the Pacific Northwest. As an organization, we believe in helping nonprofits in many ways so they can run their organization successfully in order to deliver on their mission.
Amy Delaney is vice president and marketing director at Pacific Continental Bank, joining us this month for our virtual roundtable with philanthropic banks.