Building Relationships: The Benefits of Community Engagement
February 3, 2022
From the time Farm Bureau Financial Services was founded in 1939, our roots have been planted in the local communities we serve. In the early years, our focus was on meeting the unique and specific needs of farmers since they made up a majority of our clientele. Today, Farm Bureau client/members come from all walks of life — rural, urban and everything in-between.
This commitment to serving their neighbors and bettering their communities is something that all our agents have in common. That’s why so many make it a priority to meaningfully contribute to the livelihood of their communities.
Benefits of Community Engagement
There are countless professional benefits to engaging with your local community. When you truly understand your neighbors, you can build stronger relationships with your clients and better meet their insurance needs. Here we break down some of the benefits of community engagement for insurance agents.
Raising Brand Awareness
Being an active member in your community organically raises awareness of your services. Consider sponsoring a local athletic team, having a float in a parade or volunteering. Being visible and present in your community is a surefire way to get your business out there. The more often someone sees your name or waves hello, the more likely they are to reach out to inquire about your services.
Understanding Insurance Needs
What’s the best way to understand the needs of the people in your community? To get out there and talk to them, of course! By attending local events and gatherings, you have more opportunities to get to know your neighbors. You can learn what matters most to them and educate them on how to best prepare and protect them.
Continuing to Build on Existing Relationships
It’s important to find new prospects, but it’s paramount to forge deeper relationships with your existing members. Invite your client to coffee at their favorite local bakery or volunteer at an event they’ve been planning. The personal touch is important — remembering that minor detail will mean the world to your client. You’re showing you care about them, which reaffirms their trust in you and lets them know you’ll be there when they need it.
Tips to Get Involved in Your Local Community
Organizations across the nation rely on volunteers to bring projects to life that might otherwise lack the support they need. Do the parks in your area need to be cleaned up? Is there a charitable organization that needs funding or leadership?
Not sure where to start? Contact your local newspaper, visit the community center or reach out to your district’s school — ask them if there are groups and initiatives that could use your support. Here are some other suggestions to help get you started:
Coach a Local Sports Team
Skills involved: Communication, leadership, strategic thinking and patience
From little league baseball to swim team, community sports leagues always need coaches. If you have a background in a certain sport, volunteering can create lasting relationships with both children and their parents. You’ll become a recognizable, friendly face, and community members will naturally learn more about you, your hobbies and line of business.
Since insurance agents can create their own schedule, carving out time to be a coach for a local sports team could be a fun opportunity to get involved. Bonus: The skills you’ll develop as a sports coach will also help you become a better insurance agent.
Get Involved With City Council or School Board
Skills involved: Time management, public speaking, critical thinking and listening
One of the best ways to engage with the community is to serve it in a position of leadership, like on your town’s City Council or school board.
By playing an active role on City Council or school board, local members will see that you understand what’s important to them and are working to make the community’s concerns and needs heard. In addition to helping out your local area, getting involved with City Council and school board can also help develop your own skills, including leadership, communication, mediation and problem-solving.
Frequent Businesses Within the Community
Skills involved: Interpersonal skills and professionalism
Your clients “shop local” when they work with you for their insurance needs. Pay that forward by supporting your community’s businesses, restaurants and services. You’ll show you care about your neighbors’ livelihoods by stopping there for dinner rather than a chain. They’ll take notice — and so will the other patrons. Also, shopping locally is a great way to stimulate your local economy, which can hopefully lead to more opportunities for community members.
Don’t forget about how you can help small businesses professionally. Insurance agents can offer benefits to local businesses, such as helping them set up their employee benefits or assisting with commercial insurance. By teaming up with local businesses and supporting each other, you can form many long-lasting relationships.
Support Your School
Skills involved: Timeliness, communication and being a team player
Schools often have several volunteer opportunities available. Consider dedicating time to help with a festival, working at a fundraiser or becoming a member of a parent-teacher organization. Volunteering within the school system shows you value the community’s future and share the values of family and education. You might also look into possibilities at your local university or community college.
This also gives you an opportunity to meet teachers, parents and kids while participating in a variety of events. Working with the school is a great way to instill these same values in your own children and can be a way to bond with them, too.
Volunteer at Nonprofits or Community Events
Skills involved: Teamwork and the ability to work and communicate with many personalities
Nonprofits across town are ready for your donations, whether that’s in time or funding. We recommend seeking out organizations that support causes close to your heart, like an animal shelter, library or rebuilding club. Often times, nonprofits need volunteers to help their organization operate efficiently and keep up with demand. Don’t forget about how you can contribute your specialized skills.
Stepping up to participate at local functions is also a great way to get involved and meet people within the community you wouldn’t normally interact with. If your town is hosting a concert, summer festival, community clean-up or sports tournament, they will need volunteers to help operations run smoothly. If a local event piques your interest, be ready and willing to join in and offer your efforts to the cause.
Like, Comment and Subscribe - Online Networking
Skills involved: Technology, community management and relationship building
Just like you volunteer at a nonprofit or shop locally, you can show valuable support to these organizations online. Sharing, liking, tagging and commenting on other organizations’ social media posts helps boost their digital profile — they’ll certainly appreciate it. Also, be sure to participate in groups related to your community. You’ll clearly show your investment in your community and grow your own online presence.
Using social media can be a great way to engage with the community. By offering this as another form of communication, you may reach some people who might not have wanted to make a phone call or set up a formal meeting.
Make the Next Move and Stay Engaged in Your Community
These important connections can lead to increased trust and referrals to new clients. Additionally, by focusing on others while developing a stronger community, it can also lead to personal growth. Farm Bureau insurance agents truly make a difference in their communities, and so can you! Click here to apply to become a Farm Bureau agent today.