• In an effort to increase user adoption, Relola has launched a new charitable project called "Relola Cares."
  • Relola Cares allows agents, who have experience with or have visited a particular property, to offer insights to inquiring homeshoppers in exchange for points.
  • At the end of the year, agents can exchange their points for a donation to the charity of their choice.

Relola, the San Francisco Bay Area-based property marketing platform, is a dog-friendly office, so it’s not entirely surprising that a mastiff puppy who needed eye surgery came up during a brainstorming session — which led to a new way of leveraging social good to enhance the company’s “insights from our members” website section.

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 3.02.47 PM

The “insights” area is a place where consumers can mingle with agents and ask questions about different facets of a home for sale on the site — and agents who have actually seen the property can answer them.

To make the insights useful, however, people need to use them — both agents and consumers. So to encourage user adoption (critical for any startup), Relola has launched an effort called “Relola Cares.”

Here’s how philanthropy and a dog named Hippo are giving this real estate startup a boost.

What’s Relola Cares?

Relola Cares is a philanthropic venture in partnership with various organizations such as The Sunshine Kids, Autism Speaks, The Windermere Foundation, New Story, ASPCA, Habitat for Humanity and many more.

Agents get points for contributing insights to potential homebuyers. At the end of each year, agents can “cash in” their points by awarding donations to a charity of their choice.

“We have been brainstorming different ways to inform the public about Relola and to simply get the word out about how useful Relola is to homebuyers and sellers,” CEO and co-founder of Relola, Heather Sittig, said.

“Additionally, by inviting consumers to ask questions about homes for sale, and by providing fast answers from the agents who have already visited those properties and shared their insights, consumers are able to get more real-time information about homes than from any other source.”

But to up the ante, Relola has created some specific, goal-oriented solutions. The company started a campaign during which it will pay the rescue animal adoption fee for every week that 1,000 people create search accounts on Relola, Sittig said.

It’s called “Home for Good for Animals.” (Sound familiar? Yes, the company’s tagline fits well with this project as its goal extends to finding homes for rescues.)

Animals in Miami, Denver, Atlanta and Dallas will be the first recipients of the Home for Good adoption donation — well, sort of.

IMG_5271Hippo, the mastiff puppy who needed eye surgery, was technically the guinea pig.

“I picked him up and started bringing him to Relola daily,” Sittig said. “It turned out that his situation was not as simple as we initially thought, so my family fostered him and paid for his medical needs. So here we are nine months and two big surgeries later.”

We are happy to report that Hippo is recovering well from his elbow surgery. He is now in a strong enough state to be adopted — but after spending nine months with Sittig, this pup’s officially off the market.

“We have all fallen in love with him, and there is no chance we will find him another home,” Sittig said.

‘A natural fit’

As for the overall project, the goal is to get the word out to agents, homebuyers and sellers alike. So the next step is a segment on “The Ellen Show” or to get on Oprah’s radar, right?

Not really, but there is an online petition that you can sign to that end. Hippo might make an appearance.

“We started the change.org campaign as a strategy to inform more people about Relola’s Home for Good for Animals campaign. It is an experiment,” Sittig said.

“We really aren’t expecting to get Ellen to support our project, but it would be cool if she did!”

With or without Ellen, agents have been responding positively and “signing up in droves,” she added.

“Agents are good people who love helping others and building community. It’s simply a natural fit,” Sittig said.

Email Dani Vanderboegh.

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