Do a little good and grow your network in return! Charity fundraisers are a great way to meet new people in your community and expand your market.
Identify Your Cause
Choose a charity or cause that speaks to your concerns or passions, like helping the disabled or finding homes for abused animals. This will help you attract and meet people with similar interests, so you’ll already have something in common and it will be easy to start a conversation. Pick a long standing favorite or use a charity evaluator, like Charity Navigator, to choose the one that’s right for you.
Plan the Event
Plan ahead to organize an event that works with your schedule and capabilities. Do you have access to a large or small space? How much time can you spend on preparations? Will you enlist volunteers or work alone? You don’t have to host a gala to be successful; there a lot of different ways to raise money for charity.
Here’s a list of sample fundraising ideas to get you started:
- Host a bake sale at your office or an open house (ask the sellers for permission first)
- Organize a car wash in one of the neighborhoods you serve
- Collaborate with other businesses to hold a raffle or silent auction
- Schedule a mow-a-thon – cut lawns for donations while boosting the area’s curb appeal
- Plan a pancake breakfast with a suggested donation, this can easily become an annual event
Use every means at your disposal to promote your upcoming event. Send paper invitations to your key contacts, and then follow up by phone to confirm. And don’t forget your online options! Show the world that you’re a tech savvy agent by emailing select prospect groups, creating a Facebook event and spreading the word via Twitter. Aligning your online profiles with your cause is also a great way to demonstrate to leads that you’re more than just a real estate robot – you’re also a likeable human being.
Do Good and Feel Good
In addition to benefiting the charity recipients, hosting a fundraiser can also have an uplifting effect on office morale. A recent REALTOR® Magazine article, “Real Estate and Fundraising: ‘Seal’ of Approval,” interviewed Patsy Molloy, director of marketing and corporate relations at Easter Seals. Molloy pointed out that fundraisers are “great for real estate businesses who want their agents or other employees to feel good about giving back.” “It’s about knowing they’re all part of something very special.”
Even if you work alone, the joy and enthusiasm you feel when you work to create positive change for the less fortunate are contagious. Your family and friends will be inspired by your energy and may take a renewed interest in your business… and in talking about your event and sharing it with their network, they will also be inadvertently promoting you!
Healthy Side Effects
As we’ve already mentioned, hosting a fundraiser is a great way to make connections with like interests, demonstrate your value to the community and spread the word about your real estate business. It’s a great (and rare) form of offline marketing that doesn’t come across as a sales pitch. You get to help others while expanding your network and, as an added bonus, fundraisers give you a fun way to extend a warm touch to your existing contacts. It’s a win-win for everyone!
Has your real estate business ever raised money for a great cause? What was the community’s reaction?