Combine a generous portion of giving, a healthy dose of volunteerism and a large measure of cooperation and fun, and you have the basic ingredients for Network of Vertafore Users’ (NetVU) Day of Caring — an annual event where insurance professionals give back to a local community.
This past May, organizers of NetVU’s Accelerate conference in Atlanta partnered with MUST Ministries to assemble 10,000 flatware sets, decorate 5,000 summer lunch sacks for kids and put together 1,000 “blessing bags” for the homeless as part of the 2018 Day of Caring.
Day of Caring began in 2015 as a way for the attendees of NetVU’s annual conference to support a local nonprofit group near the meeting venue. The hands-on volunteer activity is held the day before Accelerate starts and has become one of the most anticipated sessions of the conference. The Cincinnati Insurance Company sponsors the event, and Vertafore staff participate as well.
“Insurance people are just naturally caring and have responded enthusiastically to the projects we’ve offered,” says Lauren Crosby, CMP, NetVU chapter coordinator. “This year, we had close to 150 volunteers helping us.”
Crosby says the local NetVU chapter helps to lead the service project, which is designed to be completed in about three hours. “We encourage spouses and friends to attend, anyone who’s willing to stop by and lend a hand for a few hours,” she says.
Odie Wilson, agency manager and principal at Little & Smith Inc. in Marietta, Georgia, is the past president of the Georgia NetVU Chapter. He brought MUST Ministries to NetVU’s attention and helped coordinate this year’s event. “MUST Ministries is well known in our area for serving those in need through its food pantries, clothes closets, job training and housing programs,” he says. “It was gratifying to see the level of support NetVU members brought to this event. Everyone pitched in, and the time just flew by.”
Not only did NetVU members donate their time, but they also contributed funds to purchase items for the event. “We set up a wish list page on Amazon,” Wilson says, “and raised $10,000 worth of supplies — 100% of everything we needed for the project was donated ahead of time.”
Vertafore users’ generosity was on display in another way at this year’s Accelerate conference. NetVU staff arranged a fundraiser to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. They sold 628 stuffed bears and raised $12,827 for Make-A-Wish Foundation. Over half the bears were donated to Children’s Healthcare.
Says Joe Clabaugh, a service manager with The Cincinnati Insurance Company and chairman-elect of NetVU, “Whether it’s MUST Ministries or Make-A-Wish, people respond to kindness and want to give back. We raised enough money this year to grant a patient a wish. That’s amazing.”
Debbie Ivie, CPCU, AIM, NCIA, NetVU learning experiences manager, organized the Make-A-Wish fundraiser. “My peers in this industry,” she says, “are the most generous and giving people I know. Smiles, hard work and kindness came shining through at this year’s Accelerate.”