Putting a “giveback” attitude at the core of your business can motivate customers to work with you and stick by you, said Caroline Pinal, co-founder of Giveback Homes, a network of real estate brokerages dedicated to social good in their communities. Consumers are demanding more companies tie social causes into their brand messages, and brokerages are responding.
“There is a massive opportunity for real estate professionals to play a more active role in social responsibility in a local and global way,” Pinal said during a Sunday session at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo. Giveback Homes partners with real estate pros to help raise funds for charitable work, like building affordable housing and providing clean water to places across the world.
How can you develop a giving strategy for your business? Pinal offered the following tips:
Identify a cause.
Pick one to three causes that you are passionate about. Pinal recommended choosing a charity that directly ties in to your business. For real estate pros, a direct tie-in could be topics like affordable housing or helping the homeless.
Do your due diligence.
Find nonprofits that support your cause. Starting your own charitable organization can take a lot of time, money, and energy. Partnering with an existing nonprofit may be an easier way to get started, Pinal said. Ask questions of the nonprofits you’re considering partnering with, such as: Who are the people they’re serving? How much of each donated dollar goes to the intended cause? Can they provide tangible results of their donated dollars? Are there volunteer opportunities? Are they willing to support your fundraising or giving strategy?
Quantify the give.
Be able to show the difference you’re making by breaking down the numbers. For example, if your cause is supporting the homeless, be able to explain how many homeless people you can help for a specific dollar amount (e.g. $20 in one week could help X people). This approach also can help simplify your message in your fundraising efforts. Also, quantify your own or your brokerage’s giving efforts. For instance, one brokerage shared how it donates 10 percent of net profits each year to charitable causes. Concierge Auctions, a luxury auction real estate company, offers Key for Key, a program through which they build a home for those for every home it sells. Add a tab to your website (e.g. “giving”) that documents the cause you support, including how much money you’ve raised and your volunteer hours, Pinal said.
Inspire — don’t just ask for funds.
Pinal said fundraising campaigns that do not directly ask for donations but share stories meant to inspire others can do more toward reaching monetary goals. She shared an example of a real estate professional who took part in a Habitat for Humanity event and kept a diary at her website of her work. She didn’t ask for a donation. But by documenting her volunteer efforts, she inspired her clients to ask how they could donate to support the cause. “Share compelling stories about yourself or your community, and then people will come to you asking to get involved, too,” Pinal said. Or, host a community event, like a charity 5K race, to help motivate others to donate. Also, constantly revise your messaging and look for ways to grow your efforts. “Just because you did it one year and you checked the box, you’re not done,” Pinal said. “Think of this as ongoing and make it a part of your company’s brand.”