Community Matters: How Philanthropy Can Support Your Agency's Goals

Nov. 12, 2021

Corporate philanthropy is something every agency should be considering as a benefit to their employees and their local community. It is a privilege of small organizations to be able to give back, and you’ll find that the benefits can help grow your brand, your salesforce and your reputation. Above all that, it simply feels good to give back and is great for employee morale.

At Symmetry Financial Group , we place a great deal of importance on giving back to the community. We have a couple of core values that reflect this idea, but none more important than the core value that reads “Being of service and doing good in the world.” Here we’ll lay out how philanthropy can help shape and grow your agency’s goals.

Be genuine

When deciding which route to take for your agency’s philanthropy, it’s important to be genuine above all else. If your company’s values and heart are not at the core of your efforts, then it will be transparent to clients and employees alike. That’s why it’s critical to choose philanthropic pursuits that mean something to you and your team. There are many benefits to giving back outside of the impact on your community, but it is unwise to use philanthropy as an easy grab for tax deductions and a community spotlight.

A great way to ensure your intentions are genuine is to be consistent with your philanthropy. To get started, choose to partner with non-profits that you would enjoy ongoing partnerships with. With that in mind, decide on your agency’s philanthropy mission with passion and intention. These choices are what will help build your agency’s culture and reputation.

Community involvement

The first, and likely most obvious, aspect of philanthropy is community involvement. As an insurance agency, your community is important. It’s in your agency’s best interest to engage with your community as much as possible, this will help to establish a positive reputation for your organization when done correctly. Through philanthropy, your agency can achieve a reputation of being a trustworthy business.

To that end, the best commitments to make will be local ones. To truly be a community-driven agency, it’s best to research what local charities, volunteer programs and community events your agency can be involved in. High-profile charities are important for building any philanthropy, but it’s these locally based organizations that will help you build stronger ties to your immediate community. Another benefit to partnering with local organizations is seeing the impact of your agency’s support. Working with local non-profits will show your customers that your organization is actively making a difference in their own community.

Overall, any philanthropy your agency decides to pursue should reflect the needs and considerations of your community. Doing so will help your organization create deep roots with your region and showcase that your agency is trustworthy and looking out for more than your bottom line.

What does philanthropy look like?

Philanthropy can look like a lot of different things to your agency. There is no need to imagine that the only way to give back is by donating to well-established organizations. Your agency should set a range of goals like employee volunteer time and hosting events to raise money. There are several opportunities available to bolster your agency’s philanthropy efforts. Your agency should consider developing plans that involve more than just charitable donations. While donations are important, there are many more ways that you and your agents can make an impact on your community.

Local non-profits

First, your organization should research and decide on some local non-profits to partner with. You can choose an area animal shelter or a non-profit that supports children and families in the community in need of housing. What’s important is that you decide which organizations most closely align with your agency’s values and partner with them. Partnerships with local non-profits will keep you more grounded in your agency’s community.

What’s more, by focusing on local efforts you’re making more of an impact on your surrounding community. Since this is the area where most of your work takes place, it’s important to make an impact on a local scale.

Volunteering

Another excellent option for getting involved in the community is through volunteering. Volunteering is something you and your agents should participate in together. It’s a great tangible way to get out into your community to make a difference.

You might have volunteering options through your chosen, or you might need to look for opportunities elsewhere. You could arrange volunteer hours at a local Meals on Wheels, delivering food to homebound seniors or a nearby Habitat for Humanity that’s looking for furniture and household item donations. Regardless of where you land, volunteering is a great way to show up for your community. It’s also a great activity for your agents to work together and create bonds.

Agency-hosted events

Your agency can also decide to host a fund-raising event. Whether that be a 5k to raise profits for your local non-profit or a food drive that helps local families in need, hosting your own event is a great opportunity to create engagement within your community.

Through agency-hosted events, you’ll also create opportunities to network. You might discover a new non-profit to partner with or even connect with local volunteers who may be interested in becoming agents. Hosting regular events will help build a firm foundation of trust within your community, all while helping to make an impact for those around you.

Increase employee engagement

Participating in corporate philanthropy is a great way to boost employee engagement. Not only should your philanthropy align with your agency’s values, but it should also resonate with the values of your agents. To that end, having a well-established philanthropy strategy will give your agents a sense of pride by being a part of your agency.

A 2016 study by Deloitte showed that companies with an investment in philanthropy also had employees who were proud, loyal and satisfied with their company. The same survey also found that organizations that advocated for volunteerism played a big role in developing leadership skills among employees. With that in mind, your philanthropic efforts can help create better leaders among your agents.

As an example of employee engagement, your agency might consider offering an employee matching gift program. It will ensure your agents get involved while maximizing the effectiveness of their impact.

Whatever philanthropy looks like for your organization, you must be encouraging your agents and staff to be regularly involved. You might consider asking your agents if they have specific non-profits they want to work with. All of this will go a long way in ensuring your employees are engaged with your company culture.

Establish agency goals

When it comes to corporate philanthropy, you’ll want to be sure you have a set of goals for your agency. They can start out modest (smaller fundraising goals), but every year you must try to compete with yourself. If your agency set a record for volunteer hours last year, see if you can beat that record this year.

By setting agency goals you’re establishing a couple of things to your agents and the community. First, your organization is growing every year, and with that growth comes more opportunities to give back. Second, you’re able to track the success of your philanthropy with actual metrics that support your goals. That’s why it’s important to have actual benchmarks for your philanthropy. You can feel better with your progress and have actual numbers to point to for all that you’ve given back.

Build brand awareness

The purpose of corporate philanthropy is to make a difference in your community and demonstrate responsibility as an organization. Yet there are results of your agency’s impact that will benefit your business. One of those benefits will be brand awareness. Corporate philanthropy is an excellent resource for spreading awareness about your agency.

By participating in community efforts, you can showcase your agency’s brand. Everything from social posts announcing agency-hosted events to a set of t-shirts your agents can wear while volunteering will help establish your brand in the community.
Potential clients in your area, as well as recruits, will be able to associate your agency’s brand with the hard work you’ve put into your community. To that end, philanthropy is an excellent way to get your brand out there and build some recognition with your agency.

Create a positive reputation

By participating in philanthropic pursuits, your agency will develop a reputation of being a “good” company. Clients and recruits alike are drawn to organizations that have generosity and kindness at the center of their core values. By embracing these values, you’re demonstrating that your agency believes in corporate responsibility.

As an organization, having a reputation is inevitable. It’s your agency’s responsibility that you’re doing everything you can to positively impact that reputation. Having a well-established plan for philanthropy will ensure your reputation is a good one.

Brand loyalty

In today’s culture, customers expect the companies they buy from to give back. It’s something that is expected to be a part of company culture. Especially when targeting younger generations, the importance of giving back to the community cannot be overstated. When your customer base views you as an organization that genuinely wants to make an impact, you’re increasing customer engagement and brand loyalty.

Attract and retain talent

When it comes to recruiting new talent to your agency, philanthropy is crucial. Millennials, making up a majority of today’s workforce, are more concerned with corporate responsibility than any other generation before them. Everything from your organization’s values to opportunities for volunteering is appealing to new hires.

A 2015 study by the Lewis Institute found that companies with strong corporate responsibility initiatives saw a 13% increase in employee productivity and a 50% reduction in turnovers. Your agents will be more inclined to stay with your agency if they feel like you’re giving back to their community. Having a clear strategy to corporate philanthropy goes a long way in recruiting fresh talent while retaining the agents already in your agency.

Doing good feels good

Giving back is an essential tool for boosting company morale. Through philanthropy, you can nurture that positive morale for your agency.

Regular volunteer hours and charitable events aren’t only for employee engagement and retention, it’s also great for everyone’s mental health. Your agents will feel better about themselves and their work when they see the impact your agency is making. By providing your employees with regular opportunities to give back, you’re creating a work environment that is healthier for everyone.

Tax benefits

Another easy win attributed to corporate philanthropy is the tax benefits that come with it. An agency can claim everything from charitable donations to volunteering expenses as tax deductions. You only need to be sure that the charities and organizations you’re partnering with are non-profits approved by the IRS . There are also tax forms associated with any partnerships you have with a non-profit organization.

What’s more, by working with non-profits, community members will be more likely to buy a policy from an agent associated with your agency. People want to align their purchases with values that match their own.

Networking opportunities

Networking is important for your agency. Having connections for clients, recruits and partnerships will help your business thrive in the community. With that in mind, philanthropy is an excellent resource for creating those connections.

By holding fundraising events, you’re widening your net for making new connections with volunteer groups, people interested in life insurance and potential recruits —- all of whom share similar interests as your agency. The same is true for volunteering and charitable donations; your agency can build lasting relationships through giving back to the community.
Through corporate philanthropy, your agency will foster a team of trustworthy individuals who also want to make an impact. These individuals will make ideal partners, clients and agents for your organization.

Increase your marketing

Corporate philanthropy is a great way to market for your agency. We’ve already established that it’s good for brand awareness, but the same is true for marketing your agency.

By making regular charitable donations, you’re attaching your agency’s name to the associated non-profit. The same is true for volunteer work, your agency becomes a sponsor for that event and is attached to the impact. Individuals who may not be on the fence about life insurance might be swayed to check your agency out after seeing your name on a list of sponsors for a local non-profit. Similarly, any attendees of a fundraising event that has your agency name attached might be interested in becoming an agent after seeing your agency’s commitment to giving back.

Symmetry’s impact

Symmetry has always put philanthropy at the forefront of our core values. As an organization, we’ve been helping communities since 2009 , while helping families find the best-fit insurance solutions to protect the ones they love. To that end, we developed our Impact initiative which gives us more opportunities to give back to our communities.

Symmetry Impact allows us to set ambitious goals for our company through volunteer days, partnerships with local nonprofits and national workdays with events across the nation. Our agents and corporate staff regularly participate in volunteering, fundraising and charitable donations. In 2020 alone we raised $405,000 in agent and corporate donations .

We hold regular events with organizations like the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Habitat for Humanity. Our ‘A Night Under the Stars’ event with Make-A-Wish in 2020 raised $260,000 in one night! We also remember the importance of giving back locally with WNC non-profits like Bounty & Soul near our headquarters in Asheville, North Carolina.

We hope to be an example to all our agents when it comes to giving back to our communities.

Give back with Symmetry

At Symmetry, we understand the importance of community and the role that plays in any company’s culture. We give our agents and corporate staff plenty of opportunities to give back and feel proud of the organization they work for. Corporate philanthropy is a win-win. You get to make an impact on your community while spreading your brand and creating more business. Giving back is a must for any agency.

As a Symmetry agent, you will have access to high-quality life insurance, disability income insurance, critical illness insurance, and annuity products from more than 30 well-known insurance companies. This gives you the flexibility and reach you need to tailor plans to meet clients' individual coverage needs.

To learn more about how to begin a fulfilling career as a life insurance agent, contact us today .

 

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