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How insurance agents can achieve meaningful community engagement

December 13, 2023

Giving back in a meaningful way to the people your agency serves is a time-tested win-win that provides a range of benefits to the community. Similarly, it helps grow your organization by generating new business leads, differentiating your brand, promoting your values, building staff morale, widening your social circle and receiving invaluable insights into the local ecosystem.

But what are the best strategies for growing relationships in the area your agency operates? Here are some tips to consider on how to optimize your resources and maximize community engagement.

How to get involved in your community

The first thing to consult is a mirror. What are your values? Where do your strengths lie? And, of course, how much free time do you have?

Community engagement can be as simple as hanging a poster in your office window or as involved as hosting an annual charity event, donating to a cause or founding a new recreational club. The spectrum of possibilities is broad enough to encompass just about any schedule, personality type or agency profile.

What are your strengths and core values?

Whatever path you choose, it ought to showcase your strengths. If patience, communication and strategic thinking are your strong suits, maybe coaching a local sports team is for you. If teamwork, communication with many personality types and perseverance are your fortes, perhaps volunteering at a nonprofit is a possibility.

If public speaking is a strength, sharing your expertise via speaking engagements is also an option. Thought leadership can be its own form of community engagement. The topic can be anything in which you have a deep understanding or technical skill. But always conduct webinars, lunch-and-learns, industry meetings and other similar events with thought leadership in mind rather than developing sales opportunities.

“When choosing where to donate, fundraise or volunteer, give more weight to causes that overlap with your and your community’s values. Keep in mind consumers are increasingly taking note of the ideals their brands support. Our Agency Forward research found that 84% of consumers said they place high value in working with an agency that gives back to the community.”1

Find a place to volunteer by consulting your staff or employer

Looking beyond the personal, ask your staff what issues are relevant to them and their communities. Doing so fosters a sense of purpose and fulfillment among employees, as they can see the tangible impact of their efforts within the community. This sense of purpose often translates to increased job satisfaction and loyalty. Additionally, community outreach offers opportunities for personal and professional development. Employees get to hone skills such as leadership, teamwork, and problem-solving in real-world scenarios.

Consult members and other professional contacts for ideas and feedback as it pertains to community outreach. For online resources, check out and, which let you search volunteer opportunities by location, cause and other variables. You might also consider organizations with which Nationwide has had longstanding corporate partnerships, including American Red CrossFeeding AmericaNationwide Children’s Hospital and United Way. Each year, a significant number of our associates across the country donate dollars, time and energy to important causes and charities through workplace giving and volunteerism.

Once a project is chosen, try to involve your associates as much as possible. Schedule permitting, consider allowing volunteerism to occur during business hours, providing your staff with a welcome break from their daily routines.

Generate leads by fostering genuine connections

While socializing during volunteer or community events, don’t focus exclusively on rubbing shoulders with prominent figures, business owners or community leaders. Not only does this come off as opportunistic, but it’s also a poor business strategy. After all, good insurance leads can come from citizens and residents just as easily as they can from the founder of an organization.

Community engagement should occur in an organic, easygoing manner. There should never be any hint of high-pressure sales or marketing efforts. Remember, the goal is to brand yourself as a resource rather than a salesperson.

Utilize your social media platforms

There’s no reason the world shouldn’t know all about your community engagement efforts. Be sure to capture engagement activities in video and pictures, and then share them on social media, your website or the agency newsletter.

Consider these best practices for documenting your community engagement efforts:

  • Designate a photographer, someone with a camera or a good smartphone. Test it beforehand to ensure quality.
  • Make a list of photos and videos you want—such as group shots, before-and-after images of a project or interviews with staff—prior to the event.
  • Whenever possible, shoot images in various candid, posed, landscape and vertical orientations to provide multiple options over a range of platforms.
  • Get everyone’s full name and correct spellings so captions will be accurate and inclusive.
  • Develop a unique hashtag for your community engagement activities.
  • Engage with followers and actively respond to comments and messages on your posts.
  • Post follow-up content. After the event, share a detailed blog post or a newsletter highlighting the impact of the activity, testimonials from beneficiaries and plans for future events.
  • Create polls, quizzes or Q&A sessions related to your community service. This not only educates your audience about your work but also increases engagement.
  • Document and share the planning and preparation phase of your community service activities. This transparency builds trust and shows your dedication.
  • Feature team members who are involved in community engagement activities. Personal stories and experiences can make your agency more relatable and approachable.
  • Keep your audience updated with regular posts about upcoming events, ongoing activities, and reflections on past events. Consistency is key to maintaining engagement.
  • Utilize various social media applications—don’t limit your sharing to just one platform. Different platforms cater to different audiences, so spreading your content across multiple platforms maximizes your reach.
  • Encourage feedback and suggestions from your audience regarding your community service activities.

Connecting with new demographics

As an added benefit, community service efforts can serve to reach new pools of potential associates and customers. Notably, 58% of Gen Z pick brands primarily based on their purpose, values and mission.1 In the changing labor market brought on by the pandemic, more individuals are reevaluating their work lives and searching for fulfillment beyond a paycheck. A report by McKinsey & Company noted the insurance industry’s increased willingness to work together toward common philanthropic goals and millennials’ growing influence on the types of charitable efforts in which it engages.

Nationwide is proud to be an example of this push for insurance industry community outreach. In fact, for the seventh year running, PEOPLE magazine ranked Nationwide 11 on its 100 Companies That Care list. PEOPLE magazine called out Nationwide’s volunteerism and its impact across the communities where its employees work, including more than 180 of Nationwide’s leaders serving on nonprofit boards across the country.

Reassuring collaboration

Working with carriers like Nationwide that are committed to these efforts can help clients feel well-protected and that they are contributing to making the world a better place. For example, from 2021 to 2022, Nationwide reduced water usage by 3,096,072 gallons. We also invested $108 million in renewable energy in 2022. Nationwide continues to look for initiatives—both big and small—to reduce our everyday impact. By replacing standard light bulbs with LED bulbs in 2022, we anticipate saving an estimated 1.8 million kilowatt-hours and $161,000 each year. That’s equivalent to planting 21,000 trees, powering 161 homes or taking 275 cars off the road.2

We believe in the power of community. Again this year, we are honored to recognize and contribute in the names of the six selected to receive the Agency Community Service Award for 2023.

Grove Financial & Associates, headquartered in Mechanicsburg, PA, was selected as the overall winner. A contribution of $5,000 will be made in their honor. At Grove Financial & Associates, giving back to the community is an integral part of the agency’s values. Through a variety of initiatives and partnerships, the agency and team members strive to make a positive, significant and tangible impact in the communities in which they operate. Areas of focused impact include alleviating food insecurity, supporting individuals in need, bringing joy to hospitalized children, supporting critical healthcare services, advancing cancer research and support, and strengthening local businesses in their community.

Five runners-up were also selected. Nationwide will contribute $1,000 to the nonprofit of their choice.

CLI Select Agencies – Tempe, Arizona: As a network agency with producers around the country, employees are encouraged to invest and give back to their local community. In Arizona, Make-A-Wish Arizona is a key focus – providing customized wish experiences for children facing critical illnesses.

CBIZ Borden Perlman Insurance – Ewing, New Jersey: In 2023 alone, the agency has donated dollars and time to 30+ nonprofits in their community. These efforts have provided food, clothing, student scholarships, training, and education to various groups across the state, and the team has benefitted by having a common goal and sense of purpose.

TrueNorth – Cedar Rapids, Iowa: TrueNorth is active in their communities with volunteering, charity events and investments. The agency’s culture and active empowerment of employees to make a difference is evident in the many people and organizations they’ve helped impact.

Veterans United Insurance—Columbia, Missouri: A core value, the “WHY we exist” of the agency is to “Enhance Lives Every Day.” Between agency and employee financial contributions and hands-on volunteerism, they have helped multiple nonprofits expand their reach and impact the lives of many people in the agency’s communities.

Weiss Insurance—St. Louis, Missouri: The agency is focused on raising money for Kids with Cancer in St. Louis. It’s a cause that’s near and dear, as the son of one of the owners was diagnosed with leukemia at age four.

We are inspired by all of our engaged and caring agency partners giving back to their communities in a meaningful way.