Partnering together to support local communities

[Photo caption: Suren Gupta, Executive Vice President Allstate Technology and Operations, and Jim Towns, agency owner and co-chairman of Agency Executive Council]

With corporate giving campaigns, what matters most: that more people give or that people give more? The answer, of course, is both. But broadening the base of employee contributors is always a good sign — especially in a time when tighter personal budgets make it harder for individuals to give as much as they’d like.

That was the experience with Allstate’s 2012 companywide giving campaign, which received more than $4.4 million from Allstate employees and agency owners. Matched by a 20 percent corporate contribution, the result was more than $5.3 million donated to 7,600 nonprofit organizations across the country. While that total was less than the previous year, the number of Allstate employees who contributed rose by eight percent nationwide.

“You always want to top last year’s dollar total,” said Patricia Garza, Allstate Director of Strategic Philanthropy. “But increasing the participation rate is great news because giving becomes a habit. People see their money put to work in their own communities, and that encourages them to give again — and involve others — the next year.”

Giving coordinators around the country used inventive incentives to increase participation. In Allstate’s Stockton, California Market Claim Office, managers cooked and served meals to employees who gave. Prizes — including San Francisco Giants tickets and a Napa Valley wine tasting trip — were promised if three out of four employees contributed to the campaign. They easily topped that goal, with 86 percent giving, compared with 51 percent the previous year.

Elsewhere, coordinators asked employees to share personal stories about why they donate to their favorite charities. Others suggested giving in the name of friends or family to causes like breast cancer awareness. Both agency owners and employees logged onto the Giving Campaign website to share stories and donations.

And everywhere, givers cited the good that any size contribution can do. “At any time, one of us could need the assistance of these organizations,” said coordinator Laura Spadafora in the New Yorkregion. “Even the smallest amount is welcome because, in large numbers, the Giving Campaign really does make a big difference.”