“The secret to happiness is: Find something more important than you are and dedicate your life to it.” –Dan Dennett
Last week we sat down with Caroline Pinal, co-founder of Giveback Homes, a company that empowers real estate agents to turn their everyday business into an opportunity for social change.
Caroline, who previously worked at TOMS, has always been passionate about making social giving a priority, and inspiring others to do the same. She shared how to:
- Develop a social-giving plan that works for your business
- Identify giving partners
- Determine how much to donate
- Easily jump-start your giving efforts, no matter your resources
Simply put, doing good is good for business — and integrating social giving into your business has never been easier. Here’s just how simple it can be.
- Find the “why” for your giving efforts. Why are you doing this? What’s your motivation? What are you passionate about? It’s important to first take the time to figure out why you want to make giving a priority and what causes you to want to connect your business with your passion.
- Do your due diligence and identify giving partners. Rather than just donating to the first charity that pops up on Google, make sure you do your research on the organizations and charities you are interested in. Charity Navigator enables you to browse and find charities by category to consider (e.g., animals, education, environment, health). Taking the time to vet the organization early on will help ensure your money is going to the right place.
- Quantify donations, set goals, and celebrate milestones. Sharing how much your business has donated is great, but take it a step further by quantifying the difference you made (e.g., five homes built, 60 gallons of water saved). In addition, setting goals for your giving efforts are just as significant as your business goals — and once you reach them you can celebrate those milestones. Not sure how much you should donate? Caroline recommends starting small and scaling from there. After all, it’s most important to find the right giving partner that will make the biggest impact.
- Collect and share stories. So how do you share the amazing work you are doing for your community? Through stories. Storytelling is one of the best ways to share your philanthropic efforts and inspire others to share the stories, too. Just as an agent might share their testimonials and client success stories, those same tactics can be applied to sharing how you are giving back. Sharing pictures, writing a blog post and posting on social media are all easy and free outlets for sharing these compelling stories with your customers.
- Get involved and fully integrate giving into your business. It’s important to find other ways to get involved in addition to making donations. This may include volunteering or inviting your clients to join you at a giving event. For example, Giveback Homes invites their members to join them at local job sites across the country to help build homes for families in need. Check out pictures from the ReferralExchange Build Day in Sacramento.
- Simplify your message and beware of “cause washing.” Cause washing is inauthentic marketing for good, e.g., brands saying they are giving back more than they are — which is why it’s imperative to be as authentic and transparent as possible with your giving efforts. Don’t just say that you give, show it. When you simplify your message, and giving strategy, it’s easy to remember. Give Realty for example, donates 25% to a non-profit of their clients’ choice at the end of each transaction.
- Start small, then scale and be flexible. To set yourself up for success, take it step by step. Start small, then figure out what’s working and scale it from there. Be true to your business, know your strengths and weaknesses, and be open to changing it up if you need to. Take things slowly, give responsibly, and do what is most meaningful to you and your customers.
Wherever your social-giving efforts take you, make sure to be authentic; remember it’s okay to start small, be consistent and take time to find the right organization with which to align your giving efforts.
CHALLENGE: Donate time or dollars to a cause you’ve never donated to before. Take note of your experience (e.g., what you liked, how it made you feel) and let Caroline know how you felt and if it had any effect on your giving strategy: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in joining the Giveback Homes movement? Sign-up today, and enter REX as your Building Code to receive the special Pro Member plan rate of $25/month.