December 3, 2019
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How do you find time to give back? These small business owners share their tips

The 2019 finalists for Allstate's Ray Lynch Award, which honors extraordinary community work by an agent, on how they make volunteering and giving back a priority.

Homewood, Alabama, agent John Saddler is a big supporter of a local nonprofit in his community. The Dannon Project helps unemployed and underemployed at-risk youth and non-violent returning citizens reentering society. In 2017, Saddler presented Executive Director Kerri Pruitt with a check for $24,000.

Everyone knows how important it is to give back to the community. But it’s a lot easier said than done. Turning the urge to give back into action is something this year’s Ray Lynch Award nominees know a lot about. The Ray Lynch Award is an annual prize honoring an Allstate agency owner or financial specialist who demonstrates excellence in both business and community service.

We’ve already caught up with the 2019 Ray Lynch Award winner, Allstate agency owner Tim Doud, to find how he makes time to give back and make an impact. But the other finalists also have incredible volunteering bonafides—from helping survivors of domestic violence get back on their feet to running a camp for young children with diabetes. So we caught up with some of them to find out how these small business owners are making giving back a priority. Read on to see what they had to say.

We asked them to tell us how they view their role as small business owners in helping to create a stronger community …

“In order to create a stronger community, especially one that you live in, it’s important to invest in it! It should be more than just a monetary donation; it should be a connection with an organization that provides services for those in need. As business owners we have access to more resources that most individuals and that allows us to help generate revenue for these organizations.” — Tory Hamlin, Jacksonville, Florida

“Business owners have an obligation to give back through their volunteerism. It’s important to help foster a stronger more vibrant community. If you have a successful business it is because of the local people who support your business. It helps you understand the unique needs of the area you serve. ” — Beth Hanlon, Riverhead, New York

To be successful as a small business owner, you need the support of your community members. It is only fair to give that support right back. — Adaias Souza, Somerville, Massachusetts

“It is a privilege to be able to serve my community as a small business. To be successful as a small business owner, you need the support of your community members. It is only fair to give that support right back.” — Adaias Souza, Somerville, Massachusetts

“The businesses in our communities can illuminate the backbone of what the community is striving for. When a business works with the community members, it grows the local presence of the community as a whole.” — Monica Titley, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin

“In my community, local businesses have led the charge to help the less fortunate. It’s truly amazing to see how the catalyst of small businesses has propelled an incredible volunteer base to pull together for those in need.” — Stacy Trivitt, Gardnerville, Nevada

For Allstate agency owner Bryan Fallon (Crestwood, Kentucky), volunteering for Camp Hendon, a camp for children with diabetes, is personal. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a young adult, Fallon has dedicated countless hours to the Kentucky organization.

We asked them for their advice on how to get involved …

“Go for it. Get infected. St. Francis says, in giving you receive. That’s such an understatement. When you give back, your life will be so different. Life is bigger than you and if you don’t participate, you’re missing out on a lot.” — Bryan Fallon, Crestwood, Kentucky

“The best advice I can give is to find something you are passionate about and get your whole staff involved. It will make a difference.” — Mark Tucker, Hickory Creek, Texas

“Find an organization that will represent what YOU stand for. Anyone can just go out there and ‘volunteer’ but going out there to volunteer with a purpose makes so much more of a difference!” — Tory Hamlin, Jacksonville, Florida

Go for it. Get infected. St. Francis says, in giving you receive. That’s such an understatement. — Bryan Fallon, Crestwood, Kentucky

“​Open your eyes, there are more opportunities to help than there are volunteers. Mostly though, find something that you love about the cause you are supporting.” — Dan Pickering, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

“Find a local nonprofit or charity where you can volunteer yourself or get your entire staff or office involved. You’ll be helping a good cause in your community—which is its own reward—you’ll get positive brand exposure, and you’ll have the opportunity to create great relationships.” — John F. Saddler, Homewood, Alabama

“If you’re looking to get involved in your community, start very local and keep it simple. Look for someone or an organization that’s already doing something you support and offer your help.” — Adaias Souza, Somerville, Massachusetts

Lastly, we asked them for tips for finding the time to give back …

“Allocating time to your business, your family, and your community can be challenging … I love to involve family as much as I can while giving back to my community. Volunteering with your family makes it 10 times more rewarding!” — Tory Hamlin, Jacksonville, Florida

“I have a great agency and my team understands that my volunteerism and community service are important to me. This year we once again will be adopting families that support the work of a nonprofit that helps families suffering from domestic violence.” — Beth Hanlon, Riverhead, New York

I love to involve family as much as I can while giving back to my community. Volunteering with your family makes it 10 times more rewarding! — Tory Hamlin, Jacksonville, Florida

“Make time for volunteering but remember to be true to yourself. Most business owners only know ‘Go.’ So, when planning a project or event make sure you’re not overextending yourself.” — Dan Pickering, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

“Helping people is what makes me happy, so I include volunteering as my ‘me’ time. We are in the business of helping people protect their assets, and I don’t know a better asset that a thriving community with happy people.” — Monica Titley, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin

“I would carve out a brief period of time every morning to reflect on all that you are thankful for and spend that time communicating with the volunteer organization of your choice. If you approach this from a base of gratitude you will find it much easier to allocate your time for the good cause that has touched your heart.” — Stacy Trivitt, Gardnerville, Nevada

The Renewal Project

The Renewal Project, made possible by Allstate, tells the stories of individuals and organizations who are solving problems in their communities.