Is Now a Good Time to Start Cause Marketing? Absolutely!

California Affiliates prove that any time is a good time to connect your business to a charity – like Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

By Heather R. Johnson

 

The morning after receiving an award for his support of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Terry Hughes upped his Miracle Home pledge from $100 to $200 per closed transaction.

“I received five awards that night,” Hughes says of the RE/MAX Gold annual awards ceremony. “The CMN Hospitals award was the one that really touched me.”

The Sales Associate and six of his colleagues, who were also recognized, donated more than $20,000 through the Miracle Home and Miracle Property programs – in just seven months. That total, combined with regular donations from the hundreds of other agents and staff members in the Northern California brokerage, helped RE/MAX Gold donate more than $70,000 to local CMN Hospitals in 2015.

Most remarkable of all: It was the first year RE/MAX Gold, a top RE/MAX brokerage worldwide for more than 20 years, partnered with the local hospitals.

Their quick but impactful start shows that anytime is a good time to boost cause marketing – and expand your business by doing so.

Direct benefits

When Hughes meets sellers for the first time, he tells them about his $200-per-closed transaction donation. He also mentions his regular donations in listing presentations.

“Everyone appreciates that I’m giving to a cause, not just earning commissions,” he says. “People like the idea that I’m giving from my own earnings to help children.”

Using the Miracle System in the U.S.
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In addition to Associates making donations after each closed transaction and staff members contributing through payroll deductions, RE/MAX Gold offices hold client appreciation events and other fundraisers to support CMN Hospitals and promote the Miracle Home and Miracle Property programs. Sacramento-area agents even volunteered to man the phones for a local telethon that netted nearly $275,000 last August. The telethon helped raise visibility for the hospital, for RE/MAX Gold and for agents.

“Our agents have demonstrated huge generosity for 22 years,” Broker/Owner James O’Bryon says. “But now that kindness is focused on a primary and incredible cause.”

Agents also take it upon themselves to organize events, which has shifted internal culture to become more positive and communicative. Branch managers have organized golf tournaments, and agents have hosted paper-shredding parties and collected holiday donations.

“Our agent community continues to amaze me with their generosity and the new ways they find to get involved,” says RE/MAX Gold Director of Operations Stephenie Flood. “By building the partnership with Children’s Miracle Network at a company level, we have been able to help our agents help their communities. The agents benefit by using the brand and CMN Hospitals in their marketing and by offering support to their local hospital. The company benefits from agents that are more engaged.”

How they did it

Although many of the brokerage’s 1,000-plus Associates knew about CMN Hospitals, either through personal experience or because of the 24-year RE/MAX partnership with the organization, it took a dedicated campaign to get the program off the ground.

Flood, who was instrumental in bringing the Miracle Home and Miracle Property programs to the brokerage and garnering such a strong show of support among agents, says the company has always found ways to give back locally. Partnering with CMN Hospitals was a perfect step forward.

“It was important for us that the money stay in the community and that agents companywide could participate,” Flood says.

Associates Colleen and Bryan Souza helped RE/MAX Gold launch its first “Miracle Month” last May. Agents who champion the cause within the brokerage, and sometimes CMN Hospitals reps, visited all of the company’s 40 offices to get Affiliates excited about the program.

“They held barbecues, rallies and other events to encourage people to sign up on the spot,” Colleen Souza says. “They showed agents that even $25 could make a difference.”

The Souzas know firsthand what a difference the local CMN Hospitals can make. Their son, Timothy, spent time in the intensive care unit when he was three weeks old. And then, at about age 12, he developed spinal meningitis.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have Valley Children’s Hospital,” Colleen says. Timothy is now a healthy 23-year-old.

The Souzas, who collectively sold 75 homes in 2015, each donate $100 per closed transaction. They certainly have made a difference all on their own.

“A few clients have bought homes because of our involvement with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals,” Colleen says.

You can do it too
You don’t have to be part of a large brokerage like RE/MAX Gold to make a difference for your local CMN Hospital.

Whether you’re an agent who wants to start making a difference, a Team Leader who’s ready to start giving or you’re part of an office that’s excited to rally behind a cause, here are some strategies from the RE/MAX Gold team to start supporting your local CMN Hospital.

• Reach out to your local CMN hospital. “The people that run the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals partnership would love to hear from you,” Flood says. “That relationship is key to getting everyone involved.” Find your local hospital here.

• Schedule a hospital tour. “Seeing the hospital cements the relationship and tugs at your heart strings,” Flood says.

• Find your why. When agents hear about the amazing things happening at the local hospitals or learn that a friend or client has a child saved by a CMN Hospital, they become partners for life. Plus, setting business and fundraising goals around your giving can add to the motivation.

• Know the benefits. Although clients and prospective clients overwhelmingly support Hughes’ commitment to his local CMN Hospital, he doesn’t donate for publicity or a business boost. He donates because it’s the right thing to do. “There’s not an agent that can’t participate, and everyone should,” Hughes says. “It adds to your bottom line in ways that can’t be measured.”

BONUS TIP 
• Start small. A great first step is committing to make a set donation after each closed transaction. The Miracle System donation website for RE/MAX Affiliates in the U.S. makes it easy to submit and track your giving. After you have a process in place for your donations, you can start promoting your involvement. There are numerous resources to tap into at resources.miraclehomeprogram.org.

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