How is your agency giving back to your local community?
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How is your agency giving back to your local community?

Does your agency participate in community events and good works? If so, make sure you promote your efforts in your social media and on your website. And if not, it is definitely time to start. One vital selling point that differentiates independent agencies from large national insurance distributors is locality: being right in the heart of the communities that you serve ... what better way to demonstrate that than being active and present with organizations dedicated to improving your community? Numerous studies show that both customers and job applicants alike prefer to be associated with organizations whose values they share.

In Clients Want to Know: How Are You Giving Back? (IA Magazine), Safeco talks about why community involvement is so important:

Research shows that today’s consumers prefer to associate themselves with brands that make a meaningful social impact. An overwhelming 87% of Americans said they would purchase a product from a company who supports or advocates for a cause important to them, according to the Cone Communications CSR Study. This is also especially true for millennials, who are a growing segment of the population that is changing how we buy and sell insurance.

A recent Safeco Agent for the Future survey and report showed that 80% of independent agents think it’s important for their agencies to be involved with community activities, but that only 60% reported that they are involved in some way with a nonprofit organization. Safeco makes the point that community engagement is not only a way to amplify causes that you care about and improve your community, it also helps an agency attract and retain both clients and employees.

Money is no longer the top draw for employees. A MetLife survey found that nine out of ten people would opt for a company with values that align with their own over a job that pays more -- up to as much as a 21% differential. Other studies also show that millennials want to use their skills for social good and work with purpose ... and may be willing to take as much as a $7600 pay cut to uphold their values.

Whether your agency is currently active in local organizations or not, Safeco offers an excellent Guide to Community Engagement. It offers concrete ideas for where and how to start a community engagement effort and how to promote that engagement. And Safeco doesn't just talk the talk - they offer awards, donations and recognition to agencies that demonstrate extraordinary community service, which they outline in the Guide. .

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