In October, I’ll celebrate three years in business for my one-woman agency, Ricart Insurance Agency in Dallas. I’m proud to say I have a retention rate around 91% and I consistently receive between 20 and 25 referrals each month.

Because I track all of my marketing activity, it’s clear that my work with nonprofit groups contributes significantly to my success. I give back to the community because I’m passionate about making a difference and leaving behind a legacy, but I also know it’s good for business. Those behind Safeco’s Customers for Life program have found study after study showing that consumers want to do business with companies that contribute to the greater good.

Be open about your community involvement

My father has been an insurance agent for 38 years, involved in his community from day one. But I’d bet no one in his town knows he has organized trash pickups at the park or donated to the local booster club – because he doesn’t talk about it.

For my own agency, I not only give generously to several organizations, but I also use my newsletters and social media profiles to let clients and referral partners know what I’m doing. I invite them to participate alongside me to create a feeling of camaraderie in impacting our local community for the greater good, together.

Opportunities to give back

I work with three groups consistently – which I selected because I have a connection to their mission, either personally or through my clients’ life experiences – The Warren Center, a nonprofit that works with children who have developmental delays and disabilities, Genesis Women’s Shelter, a group providing services to families impacted by domestic violence, and Junior Achievement of Dallas.

In volunteering with Junior Achievement, I visit classrooms to speak to students about entrepreneurship, business principles and leadership. I often invite a financial planner or a real estate agent to come along with me, which not only helps inspire future business leaders, but also strengthens my bond with my referral partners.

Last year, I hosted a client happy hour benefitting the Genesis Women’s Shelter, inviting clients and referral partners to bring clothing donations to contribute to the shelter. The response was incredible! I’ve found people want to give back, but are often caught up in their busy schedules and busy lives; sometimes, they just need a little nudge that gives them the right opportunity. As a local agent, I feel it’s my duty to offer opportunities like this. My retention rate reflects their commitment to not only my agency, but our community.

Change the perception of your agency

When I first started the agency, 80% of my referrals were from realtors and lenders and 20% came from clients. This year, 60% are from referral partners and 30% are from clients. I love seeing client referrals skyrocket because there’s nothing like getting a referral from a client – both from new business and retention standpoints.

If you want to give back, I suggest finding a cause that you’re passionate about. Ultimately, you will make time for that group because their cause is your cause. There’s always something that you can do, whether it’s volunteer hours or a cash donation.

Community involvement has changed my clients’ perception of my agency and of me personally. I started my agency with the mission to make a positive impact. That’s not only important to me, it’s fundamental to the longevity and quality of my book of business.