Every fall for the past 14 years the insurance industry has come together to give back through the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation’s (IICF) “Week of Giving.” To date, more than 25,000 insurance professionals have provided more than 166,000 hours of volunteer service to local community nonprofits across the nation. 

IICF recently asked industry volunteers as simple question: “Why do you volunteer?”

The responses we received illustrate the outstanding character and heart of the individuals who make up the industry. Throughout the responses, we consistently heard about how the value of volunteerism goes far beyond a simple desire to “do good.” Rather, the benefits of volunteerism are more encompassing, providing value to the individual, nonprofit and company.

In Depth Connection to Community

Volunteerism enables individuals and organizations to tangibly connect with the local community in which they live and work. When working together with a nonprofit, relationships are forged and true community is created. Volunteerism grounds the notion of “charity” by transforming strangers into neighbors. When donating time to a nonprofit, their mission and work comes to life. Time and time again, IICF hears stories of a single volunteer experience from “Week of Giving” that evolved into long-lasting relationships that extend far beyond the confines of a single project.

In short, volunteerism breeds community.

Team Building

The power of volunteerism also extends internally within a participating company or agency. Volunteerism provides an opportunity to grow professional relationships beyond the confines of the office walls. Whether it is planting trees for a park beautification project, picking up trash during a beach cleanup or preparing meals for the needy, volunteerism challenges individuals from across an organization to work together in a new and often unusual environment. Achieving a common goal of community improvement bonds coworkers and nurtures a culture of cooperation and respect.

Camaraderie among Competitors

Volunteers also report an increased feeling of pride in the industry. The insurance industry is unique in its willingness to set aside competition to help communities and enrich lives. Volunteerism and, specifically, “Week of Giving” unites individuals and organizations across the industry behind a greater good. Whether working side-by-side with a client or across the table from a competitor, volunteerism creates camaraderie within industry. Out of such camaraderie comes a sense of unity and industry pride.

It is hard to ignore the plethora of benefits volunteerism brings to the community, the individual and the company. Volunteering not only provides the opportunity to “do good,” but also brings with it long lasting benefits of community growth, team building and camaraderie.

This week, thousands of insurance professionals from hundreds of organizations across the country will participate in the “Week of Giving,” committing thousands of hours of service to their communities. If you’re interested in joining them, I would encourage you to inquire within your organization to learn how your company is participating this year. Alternatively, you can visit www.weekofgiving.iicf.org to find a volunteer opportunity near you.

Together, we can make a difference.