Agents who give back through donations and volunteering not only strengthen their communities but also their own brand.
Real estate agents guide and assist their clients through an important time in their lives. Whether purchasing their first home, relocating, downsizing, or upsizing, purchasing a home is an incredibly important and personal decision. At the heart of the real estate business is helping others improve their lives. It’s no surprise then that real estate agents are often active in their communities in other ways, spending their time and resources donating to charities and volunteering their times to build stronger communities for themselves, their clients, and their neighbors.
Sixty-six percent of Realtors volunteer on a monthly basis and 82 percent donate money on an annual basis, according to the 2018 Community Aid and Real Estate Report, published in December by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Among those who volunteer, agents volunteered a median eight hours per month. Among those who donate money to a cause, the median amount was $1,000.
The Business Case for Giving
While giving back can come from a sense of altruism and often makes the giver feel good; there is also a business case to be made for giving back to the community. Eighty percent of real estate agents said they consider participating in their community as an important part of their business plan, and 49 percent said it was “very important” to their business, according to NAR.
Volunteering in the community is one more way for real estate agents to meet and network with other community members, real estate agents, and potential clients.
Also, both volunteering and charitable giving can be a great way to position a brand in a positive way. Brokers and agents can post photos of themselves and their team contributing to a cause, such as helping build a home for Habitat for Humanity or volunteering at their local food bank.
Those who donate a portion of their earnings can make sure this is front and center in their branding. Mention it in advertising campaigns, include it on your website, and maybe even put it on your business card.
Attracting a New Generation of Conscientious Buyers
While giving back builds a positive image among any demographic, millennials are particularly drawn to businesses that give back, according to a recent blog post on MillennialMarketing.com.
“Many brands are trying to create new ways of piquing millennial interest by embracing the ‘giving back’ trend,” according to David Tal on the Millennial Marketing blog.
“My projection is that we’ll be seeing less realtor faces on benches in the future, and more marketing that’s tied to things that the next generation cares about.”
Targeted Ways for Real Estate Pros to Give
Agents looking to contribute positively to their communities and perhaps build their branding by giving have plenty of options.
One easy way agents can help with very little effort is by participating in the Salvation Army’s Real Estate for Rehabilitation program. Knowing that many people get rid of items large and small during the moving process, the Salvation Army created this program to help families and acquire donations. Agents simply encourage their clients to schedule a Salvation Army pick-up for any furniture or items they no longer need. The Salvation Army even has an array of marketing materials available for agents, including brochures, moving cards, and a Salvation Army model truck for the office.
For those who have little time to give but are willing to donate monetarily, Charitable Agents is a great option. Through Charitable Agents, real estate agents donate 10 percent of their earnings from each transaction to a charity of their clients’ choosing. Clients choose from a list of options, and the donation is made in their name. Homebuyers can specifically also seek out agents using Charitable Agents through the program’s directory.
For agents who are willing to give both time and money and who want to give in a way that relates to their business, there are Giveback Homes. Founded in 2013, Giveback Homes is a growing group of real estate professionals who donate funds and physical effort to build homes for those in need across the nation as well as in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Haiti. Because it is designed specifically for real estate professionals, Giveback Homes also has online profile pages and marketing materials at the ready for its members so they can let their clients and communities know they are doing good.
Additionally, those looking for other opportunities that benefit their communities or align with their personal ideas and interests can visit sites like Volunteermatch.com to find opportunities for them.
Other Ways to Get Involved and Give Back
- Fund a local scholarship for high school kids.
- Organize neighborhood clean-up days.
- Serve on local boards such as the school board.
- Sponsor local events such as races, concerts, etc.
- Donate and volunteer at local schools.
- Campaign for homeowner-friendly policies and taxes.
- Go door-knocking for canned food donations for a shelter.
- Host a toy drive at the holidays.
- Volunteer at a local hospital or nursing home.
- Raise money for a down payment for a family in need.
- Host free seminars or other educational events for first-time homebuyers.
About Author: Krista Franks Brock
Krista Franks Brock is a professional writer and editor who has covered the mortgage banking and default servicing sectors since 2011. Previously, she served as managing editor of DS News and Southern Distinction, a regional lifestyle publication. Her work has appeared in a variety of print and online publications, including Consumers Digest, Dallas Style and Design, DS News and DSNews.com, MReport and theMReport.com. She holds degrees in journalism and art from the University of Georgia.