The importance of giving back to the community has never been more crucial or weighted with as much importance by the business world as right now. Real estate agents and business leaders play a pivotal role in improving the cities in which they operate, making community service an essential value to their professions. Not only does community service foster connection and belonging in the communities that agents serve, but it can also further develop and challenge agents to grow professionally and personally.
One of the best outcomes of volunteering is bettering the community. Whether through organizations that aid the unhoused, neighborhood cleanups or educational initiatives, agents that give their time contribute to tangible benefits that can include the following.
Demonstrate your values to customers
Buyers and sellers want more than just transactional relationships with their agents. Many desire alignment with those who share their values. Participating in community service events can allow agents to showcase their commitments. Displaying involvement often resonates with clients who prioritize social responsibility. Further, agents that demonstrate their values are more likely to be seen as trusted and reliable partners, enhancing their overall reputation and attracting more like-minded clientele.
Community service allows agents to experience the community in a deep way. Volunteering agents may better understand civic issues, including schools and neighborhoods, in a way that’s not possible when staying squarely in their bubble. While legally an agent cannot provide their input on schools and neighborhoods, getting acquainted with the city’s educational landscape is a solid time investment. When client-facing, agents can point to online ratings and further sources of information for their clients to conduct their own due diligence.
Garner aligned skills
Where it makes sense, agents can focus volunteer and fundraising efforts with other organizations aligned with real estate. For example, Habitat for Humanity or other nonprofits affiliated with housing welcome real estate professionals’ valuable skills and offer unique experiences that can be taken back to the field. For instance, one team of agents in our firm regularly volunteer with Habitat for Humanity and, as they donate their time making a big impact, the agents are learning skills such as window installation as well, which sharpens their eyes for finer home details.
Promotes agent team building
From small teams to large brokerages, community service provides a platform for team building within firms. Most days, even though agents are on a team, they serve independently, only coming together with other agents for meetings. Collaborating on service projects fosters camaraderie, creating a positive and supportive environment. Working together for a common cause also strengthens relationships, boosts morale and enhances overall team performance. Studies show that employees stay longer at a company that they believe cares about them and others. Group volunteering promotes retention and engagement.
Discover networking opportunities
By participating in events and initiatives that bring people together, agents can connect with potential clients, local business owners and influential community members. As all good agents know, networking can lead to referrals, partnerships and a broader network of contacts. For example, one agent in our firm is passionate about a cultural cause and focuses her time and efforts serving a volunteer organization that lines up with her values; in turn, 75% of her business comes directly from that community.
Getting started with community service
To embark on a meaningful community service journey, real estate firms and individual agents can follow these steps.
Look into your community’s needs and identify areas where your firm can make an impact while aligning the service initiatives with your firm’s mission and values.
Involve agents in the decision-making process of where to put resources by surveying their passions and interests. Encourage agents to share their ideas, then take these ideas into account to ensure agents are personally invested in the firm’s community service efforts.
Support agents’ service
A spirit of service comes from the top. Leaders must be philanthropic by example and support the efforts of their agents. They can provide a stipend for community service or implement a time-off plan that allows agents to engage in service without sacrificing work commitments. Leaders can also match the donations of their agents’ fundraising endeavors, organize a group volunteer day or recognize volunteer hours in company meetings.
Engage buyers and sellers
Have meaningful conversations with buyers and sellers to understand their priorities and what they value in community service. Their feedback will guide the firm’s community service initiatives, allowing agents to connect with clients on a deeper level.
Involve clients in your service
Firms can do more than just ask what clients care about; they can involve them in their efforts. Host a client volunteer day and provide lunch. Undergo a fundraising campaign and match client’s donations so they have shared ownership, nicely furthering brand loyalty.
Maximize your volunteer efforts and your spend
By engaging in a balanced approach of hands-on service hours and fundraising events, agents can contribute their time, skills and resources effectively.
When it comes to the broader brokerage’s philanthropic spend, it is often a part of the strategic marketing plan to sponsor one to two events — maybe more — with which the brokerage wants to be aligned. Agents often asked for donations to worthy causes, and it’s much easier to let people know that funds are already committed and focused towards the firm’s committed causes compared to just saying no.
Keeping the above strategies in mind when it comes to volunteering and fundraising, every real estate agent stands to greatly impact their community for the better while aiding in their own personal and professional development.