The holidays are rapidly approaching. ‘Tis the season for giving and good cheer. It’s also the perfect time to give back to your community through volunteering or financial gifts.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that 82% of real estate agents give to charitable organizations every year, far more than the national average of 57%. Whether volunteering your time or supporting a cause financially, you can make a significant impact on your community.
Why should real estate agents engage with their local communities?
Giving your time and your money helps both your fellow citizens and your business overall. There’s something innately satisfying about helping those less fortunate. During this season of selfless giving, you can be a part of something much greater than yourself. You’ll be amazed at how just a few hours working with members of the community can drastically change your outlook.
Not only does it feel great to volunteer your time, but it can also help boost your business. By showing up and serving your community, you’re building credibility as a local expert – someone who cares not just about the bottom line, but about the people surrounding you. When you show your commitment to those less fortunate, your face and your name become associated with the good you do, not just the job you have. When it’s time for potential clients to buy or sell a home, chances are they’ll remember you for all the right reasons.
How can you give back?
There are countless opportunities to serve in every town in America. Whether it’s volunteering in a school helping teachers, working in a soup kitchen to feed the homeless, wrapping Christmas gifts for children who would otherwise go without, or cleaning up trash along a stretch of your local highway, every effort matters.
Not sure where to start? Here are some resources to help you find a place to serve:
- Volunteer Match is a website dedicated to matching your abilities and values with an organization in your area. It’s the most extensive network of nonprofit organizations in the world, so you’re guaranteed to find a cause you’re passionate about.
- United Way links volunteers with organizations doing the most good Search thousands of volunteer opportunities in your community.
- Idealist.org seeks to change the world through acts of service. Users can search volunteer opportunities in their area or around the world.
- Habitat for Humanity is a popular volunteer option for Realtors. This organization operates worldwide, building shelters for the most vulnerable populations.
- Need more ideas? Check with your local religious organization or house of worship for faith-based volunteer opportunities.
- Ask your local schools how you can help provide a better experience for the students and staff.
Get others involved.
Once you’ve identified a cause you’d like to support, it’s time to spread the word. Contact business associates, family members, friends, past and current clients, and members of your local community.
- Set up a collection station and ask for donations to benefit a nonprofit.
- Send emails asking for financial donations to the organization.
- Host a silent auction or fundraising night benefitting the organization. Send flyers, make phone calls, and personally invite everyone you know to attend.
- Coordinate a group to go volunteer together. Imagine the difference you’d make if your circle of friends, family, and colleagues all chipped in to help.
Getting your name out.
Let’s be clear about one thing: real estate agents should volunteer because it’s our cultural and civic duty. If you’re volunteering as a marketing tactic, you may want to reexamine your priorities. However, there’s nothing wrong with a little self-promotion while you give back to your community.
For instance, if you sponsor the local elementary school’s theater program, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask that your business name be included in the list of sponsors. Or if your entire office volunteers one weekend at a Habitat for Humanity project, feel free to make t-shirts with your company logo and mention your good works on your website or social media account.
Nominate other do-gooders.
The National Association of Realtors wants to recognize agents in the community who are volunteering to make the world a better place. If you know someone who deserves to be recognized for their selfless giving, be sure to nominate him or her for the NAR Good Neighbor Award.
As you reflect this holiday season on your many blessings, take some time to give back to your community. The gift you’ll get from serving will be better than anything you can buy in a store.