Real estate professionals have personal relationships with their hometowns and surrounding communities. We must know what is happening with municipal governments, neighborhoods, local schools and nearby businesses. We also know where to shop, eat, play and find the best ice cream cone in town.
As real estate agents with in-depth local knowledge, we are in a unique position to help build a better community. Do not think you can’t make a difference unless you are in a position of power in municipal government. If you can carve out an evening, an afternoon or even a couple of hours a month to volunteer, you might surprise yourself with what you can accomplish and how good it will make you feel.
Where To Begin?
Good sources for volunteer positions where the skills of real estate professionals are especially valuable include the Residential Real Estate Council, Habitat for Humanity and HUD. Look into the possibility of joining a committee that serves the departments of zoning, planning or housing in your city. Fill an open position as a trustee for a nonprofit.
Prefer to expand a hobby or interest? A good starting point is to get involved in a civic organization, club or group. If you have a talent or skill, offer your services as a mentor, tutor, advisor or consultant. Do you speak a second language? Are you a master gardener? Do you play an instrument? Seek out opportunities to share your knowledge at the local library, nature center, school or community center. Check out your city’s website for volunteer opportunities that may be available, and see if any spark an interest.
Get Involved With A Nonprofit
Are you passionate about a cause? Perhaps you love animals. Connect with the local humane society, and offer your services to a fundraiser. Organize a food or clothing drive for a local homeless shelter. Take it further and make a small to moderate investment and sponsor a charity event yourself.
Enthusiasm is contagious. Once you identify the cause you are passionate about, look for others who share it. Contact family, friends, neighbors, colleagues and co-workers, and get them involved. All it takes is that spark of inspiration to ignite and set your project on fire.
Volunteer And Spend Time With The Kids
If you enjoy sports, and especially if there is one you excel at, you may want to consider coaching a youth athletic team. If you have children, it’s an opportunity to get them involved, spend quality time together and serve as an example for your kids that there is value in giving back to the community. Also, consider donating the jerseys or uniforms, and make it a marketing project as well.
Start A Beautification Committee
Real estate agents know all the best spots in town and the corners that could use some attention as well. Start a movement to make your city more beautiful. Take on projects such as turning a vacant city-owned lot into a community garden. Take on a flower- or tree-planting endeavor. Turn a blank concrete wall into a work of art with a painted mural. A clean, beautiful community attracts business and increases property values.
Don’t Overlook The Senior Center
Senior community centers are a beehive of activity, and there are many options for volunteering there. For example, older Americans often have challenges using computers and cellphones, so consider a question-and-answer session or an informal class on the latest technology. Lead a seminar on downsizing for empty nesters, and talk with them about options for senior housing. If you enjoy the performing arts, expand on that, and start a senior theater group.
Run For Public Office
Consider becoming a candidate for your local school board or city council. There is no more direct way to have an influence in your community than being an elected official. If you have the passion and commitment to be a change agent and have a positive impact on the face of your city, you should look into the possibility. It may even lead to a new career in public service.
The successful real estate agent not only advocates for their clients, but as an engaged member of the town, benefits all residents by making their city a better place to live, work, play and invest. By volunteering, you will improve your community, meet different people, grow your influence and strengthen your brand.