Impact Makers: How BOK Financial Invests in Innovative Community Engagement

BOK Financial Corporation is a top 25 US-based bank, offering sophisticated wealth, commercial, and consumer products and services. As a financial services company, they’re dedicated to helping individuals and families, small businesses, and large corporations succeed and thrive. But despite their regional presence and national capabilities, some of their most critical work happens on a much smaller scale—within the communities in which their employees live and work. Through BOK Financial’s Community Engagement strategy, employees are able to make financial contributions and volunteer their time and talent in order to make a significant impact on local communities.

To learn more about BOK Financial’s Community Engagement strategy, how they invest in innovation, and how they leverage the CyberGrants product suite, we sat down with their Community Relations Specialist, Terri Sears.


Value-Driven Community Engagement

At BOK Financial, the company’s culture is built upon its core values—be known for unwavering integrity; engage, empower, and invest in employees; prepare clients to make better financial decisions, and actively advance the communities it serves. Community engagement is a way to connect employees to the company’s mission and values, specifically the value of actively advancing the communities it serves. But how is this achieved? The key is a multi-faceted employee giving and grants strategy focused on four pillars of giving—United Way, education, basic needs, and economic development. These pillars guide BOK Financial’s corporate philanthropy strategy and shape its community-based giving and volunteerism programs.

Volunteerism is an important component of BOK Financial’s Community Engagement strategy, with more than 33,606 volunteer hours logged in 2022. The company supports these efforts by providing each employee eight hours of paid volunteer time off (VTO) annually to support causes or organizations that are making a difference in the community. As a result, employees don’t have to request PTO or miss out on a paycheck in order to give back to their local communities!

In addition to their VTO offering, BOK Financial hosts a company-wide financial education program, Learn for Life. Through this initiative, employees partner with local nonprofit organizations and schools to teach basic financial skills to K-12 students. Activities include games, simulation, and classroom education intended to help them create the foundation for a healthy financial future and lead successful lives.

“We host volunteer events and activities focused on early childhood financial education. Our employees go into schools and we play the Allowance Game with students, which is a simpler version of monopoly intended to instill the basics of financial education—the importance of earning, spending, and saving money,” said Sears.

These volunteer events—and other employee giving programs—are created and managed directly within BOK Financial’s CyberGrants dashboard, which they call “myCommunity.” Here’s a snapshot of their impact in 2022 alone:

  • 358 employees served on nonprofit boards/committees
  • 685 nonprofit organizations received support
  • $6.1 million in total contributions from the company and the BOKF Foundation combined
  • 33,606 volunteer hours logged by employees


Innovate Programs with Impact Analytics

Beyond employee giving and volunteerism, BOK Financial also leverages the CyberGrants platform to track, measure, and understand their impact analytics with Insights. As an early adopter of Insights in January 2022, it was imperative that their team took the time to dig into existing data, identify gaps, and establish which dashboards would be critical for reporting. They spent the first several months duplicating existing reports and evaluating where they are and how they can improve. The team was also able to identify new ways Insights will be useful beyond their original program scope.

“Something that I've been able to do with Insights is use it to identify my pain points. I always have employees coming to me trying to identify what market they serve. With Insights, I can instantly make a dashboard or a report that helps me identify where they’re located in the company and where they’ve indicated their hours were served. Next, I can match those up and immediately make edits or adjustments accordingly. This functionality is really helpful in ensuring our monthly reports are up-to-date and mitigates the need to backtrack and redo a report if an error is found after it's been produced,” said Sears.

The BOKF team has also utilized Insights to better align when its employees give with corporate communications to enable maximum participation.

“I recently ran an Insights report to evaluate how much was given each day of a campaign, how many people participated, and the size of their gifts. Next, I tracked when the campaign communications were sent to employees with a link to the pledge. I was able to identify that the first two days of a campaign are when giving happens at the highest rate. The company-wide emails were crucial for driving participation and helped me better understand the importance of having a partnership with the corporate communications teams,” said Sears.

In early 2023, BOKF opened the Insights dashboard to their nine different markets with community relationship managers so they could begin to visualize the data firsthand. We’re excited for the BOKF team to harness the power of Insights and use it to better understand giving trends and scale their programs accordingly.


Harness the Power of CSR Technology

But that’s not all! BOK Financial also partners with CyberGrants for payments by leveraging the CyberGrants Disbursement Solution (CGDS). By pairing innovative programming with a streamlined disbursement solution, and Insights to track, measure, and evaluate their data, BOKF is an outstanding example of how companies can effectively harness the power of CSR technology to maximize social impact.

We applaud the BOK Financial team for their curiosity, innovation, and unwavering commitment to advancing the communities in which they serve. We cannot wait to see the impact of their upcoming programs in 2023!

Standing up a meaningful CSR program can be daunting, but it isn’t a task you should have to tackle alone. Let CyberGrants guide your corporate philanthropy efforts to get the most out of your hard-earned dollar! Start by getting your free demo today.


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