Fan the flames of volunteerism

How do you energize already-enthusiastic employee volunteers to build on that commitment in their communities? You give them someskin in the game, by allowing them to choose which groups or programs they support. And you back them with grants to help pay expenses for their projects. That was the strategy behind Allstate’s first companywide Week of Service, held August 6-11 in hometowns across America.

John Bengston, an Allstate employee in Northbrook, Illinois jumped at the chance to help Habitat for Humanity of Fox Valley. “Knowing I have Allstate’s support to lead a volunteer project benefiting a nonprofit that offers so much is a great feeling. And for my employer to back that up with a $500 challenge grant really takes our community support to another level,” said John.

“We all have causes close to home and close to our hearts,” said Craig Keller, Allstate director of public social responsibility. “This was a way for Allstaters everywhere to tap that personal passion.” Employees could find existing volunteer opportunities to join through VolunteerMatch, submit their own proposals, work with local Allstate Helping Hands Committees, or support Allstate Foundation signature programs on teen safe driving and domestic violence.  They also could apply for 150 “Challenge Grants” of $500 each, to help cover the cost of project supplies and expenses.

The effort also partnered with Feeding America, a leading national hunger-relief organization, for service projects near Allstate’s largest offices. All told, an estimated 2,700 Allstate employees, agency owners, friends and family took part in 290 Week of Service events across the country.

“As we expected, our people really got behind this idea and made the most of the opportunity,” said Keller. “We’re already planning for next year’s Week of Service, and I’m confident it will be even bigger than what we were able to achieve in our inaugural year.”

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