By Sharon Delaney
Doing good for the community and doing well financially go hand in hand when it comes to business. According to a 2013 study by Echo Research, 82 percent of U.S. consumers consider corporate social responsibility (CSR) when deciding which products or services to buy and where to shop. For real estate agents, there are even more business benefits beyond consumer sentiment that should make giving back part of their work schedule and a top business priority—here are just a few.
As a real estate agent, you are in the referral business and actions that allow you to meet more people in a meaningful way will grow trusted referral sources. By actively supporting a cause, you will meet others who share the same social commitment and form meaningful bonds that might lead to new clients. Don’t simply write a check; be authentic and really get involved. Look for opportunities that allow for interaction with other donors, volunteers, and community leaders. Focus on participating in a few causes that you are passionate about, versus doing a little bit for many organizations.
Build Your Reputation
Ensuring that you are recognized as a person who cares deeply about the needs of your community should be a top priority. Share your involvement across all communication channels, in your marketing, social media and listing presentations and with local reporters. REALTOR® Magazine’s Good Neighbor Awards is one platform for exposure, but look at local outlet opportunities, as well. Remember, by raising awareness of your involvement, you are also raising awareness of the causes you are supporting.
Grow Your Business
Studies have shown that a charitable donation correlates to four times more in additional income. Called the 80/20 rule of giving, if you want to make more money, give more away. According to Arthur C. Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, “Happy people show up for work more, they work longer hours, they work joyfully, they’re happier with every aspect of their productive lives. Happiness is the secret to success, and if that’s true, here’s the answer…giving makes people happier.”
Be Truly Committed
To reap the business benefits of philanthropic and charitable action, you need to stay in it for the long haul, so make sure to find causes that you truly love and open doors for business development through mutual relationships based on respect and shared values.
*Sharon Delaney is SVP, Academy for Engel & Völkers North America