At this time of year, along with all of the usual holiday planning at home, I usually start to think about ways to improve my business in the new year.  One of the things that I have tried with some limited success in the past is to put together a referral program where clients, vendors, and other business partners would have an incentive to refer the people in their circle of influence to our agency for insurance.  We have tried financial gifts, gift cards, and prizes all without any real enthusiastic response.  This year I am contemplating something really different, and, hopefully, really exciting.

It being the Christmas season, I am constantly reminded about how blessed we are both personally and as a nation.  It always makes me think about ways I can make a difference for other people in my community, elsewhere in the world.  What I have come up with will be a way for me to partner with my clients and other affiliates to start making a difference.  I realize this will be small at first, but I am really optimistic about making it into a significant charitable operation in the future.  Let me lay out my initial thoughts-

We currently pay about $20 to an internet lead provider for auto/home and business leads.  While I certainly think they do a great job and deserve to be paid for their work, I would rather see that money go toward better causes.  

What if we gave that same amount of money to select charities that fit our standards both in terms of effectiveness and mission philosophy?  

What if we allowed our referring partners to participate in the giving? 

What if we also allowed the party being referred to participate too?

Are you seeing my vision yet?

I propose that when someone refers a new prospect to our agency for a quote on either their personal or business insurance that we give $10 to the charity of their choice from our list of approved charities.

We will also extend the same offer to the new prospect and allow them to choose a charity for us to send $10 to just for the opportunity to quote their insurance.  That's it, no commitment to buy and never any pressure (I just never learned the art of the hard sell).

I know $10 and $20 donations are not all that large, but if we received just 1 referral from every client that we currently have, that would translate into over $8,000 in contributions (about 10% of our gross revenue for 2007).  Now that can make a difference!

I may also start tinkering with some contests for the most referrals that would culminate in a larger one-time donation, etc.  I am really looking for some comments and feedback on this idea and how I can make it even better.  I have below a preliminary list of charities on the local, regional, national, and international level.  If you have any ideas about charities that we should consider, please feel free to recommend them.

The Salvation Army
World Vision
Samaritan's Purse
Hope Crisis Pregnancy Center
The Nature Conservancy
Capitol Area Food Bank
Mobile Loaves and Fishes
Texas Baptist Children's Home
Catholic Charities of Central Texas
American Red Cross of Central Texas
Habitat for Humanity
YMCA of Greater Williamson County
Boy Scouts of America
Posted 11:35 AM  View Comments

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