Fundraising Partnerships With Local Real Estate Agents

Since I cover both fundraising and real estate matters at Nolo, I can’t help but notice how often the two intersect.

This week, for example, my local neighborhood newspaper’s real estate section contains a front-page article about the Grubb Company’s recent donation of $5,000 to a local arts center.  DJ Grubb is quoted as saying, “From a personal perspective, I can’t wait to enjoy and participate in upcoming events. From a realtor’s perspective, it represents the spirit and ingenuity of the community . . . .”

On page 5 of the very same section, McGuire Real Estate’s home ads are accompanied by an announcement of its “1st Annual Neighborhood Garage Sale,” to benefit local schools. For every local homeowner who registers to hold a garage sale on September 17, McGuire will make a donation to the schools.

And agents at Pacific Union routinely donate part of their commission to a “Community Fund,” which makes annual awards to local nonprofits.

The pattern here looks pretty clear: Real estate companies have an interest in maintaining the vibrancy of the communities in which they operate, given that it helps them sell houses. And by helping local nonprofits, the get positive press coverage, or can at least draw attention to their own advertising.

Sure, they might have altruistic motives as well, but when it comes to business donations to charity, that altruism almost always gets exercised in a way that simultaneously benefits the business.

So, if you haven’t been watching which local real estate agents are interested in partnering with nonprofits, perhaps now is the time to open your local real estate section.

Or, get proactive. Even without making a cash donation, there are ways that local real estate companies may be able to pitch in with your nonprofit’s efforts — perhaps by lending their offices for a phone-a-thon or event, or suggesting properties for your next fundraising home-and-garden tour.