Zillow, a digital real estate and rental marketplace headquartered in Seattle, began its partnership with Make-A-Wish about five years ago through the Alaska and Washington chapter. What began as support through the chapter’s Walk for Wishes evolved into an annual employee fundraising campaign on the Wish Your Way platform.
“Zillow is a company with a large millennial work force. One thing we know about millennials, is they have a strong desire to be accessible on their phones and computers,” said Sarah Haggen Hammann, corporate giving manager at Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington. “To meet these donors where they are, we really put an emphasis on making things simple. Wish Your Way is the greatest storytelling tool we have to give them an online, limited-step process and deliver the message that what they are doing is making an instant impact.”
The Zillow fundraisers were linked to the chapter’s Adopt-A-Wish® program, which offers donors the opportunity to sponsor local wishes. The chapter shared the wish stories of children who would benefit from Zillow’s efforts. To keep employees engaged even more, departments competed against each other – whichever team raised the most would get to choose the wish that the funds would sponsor.
Employees couldn’t get enough. “It was a tangible way for them to see their efforts come to life,” Haggen Hammann said. “When we grant one of these wishes in the same year that Zillow’s fundraiser happened, it keeps them coming back. They get hooked because they know they’ll have that feel-good moment.”
Zillow’s Seattle-based employee fundraising campaigns have been so successful that the company expanded its partnership with Make-A-Wish to other regional offices and their nearby chapters. Last year, in only three weeks, Zillow employees across the nation raised an estimated $60,000 for Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington; Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana; Colorado and Metro New York.
“Zillow employees’ partnership with Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington has become a cornerstone of our philanthropic efforts as a company,” said Travis Roberts, director of rental sales at Zillow. “Through the Adopt-a-Wish program we have been able to not only do a lot of good for local kids but we have also created opportunities for employees to get personally involved. In a sea of corporate giving, it is nice to be able to give people hands-on, creative outlets where they can put their natural skillsets and passions to use.
“Some examples of this are when we helped turn a local wish kid into a super hero for the day or when we turned the Zillow office into fairytale scavenger hunt for another wish kid. These wishes allowed hundreds of employees to take part in the experience and resulted in a flood of positive social media posts about employees saying how much they love where they work.”
See how Zillow helped make Eliana’s wish to see penguins in the wild come true.