The pandemic has impacted homeless populations across the country. Rather than the standard advertising-based pie giveaway this Thanksgiving, consider a meaningful alternative. Here’s what one mega team is doing.

As Thanksgiving approaches, Realtor-based pumpkin pie giveaway programs are ramping up across the nation as agents scramble to ensure their clients get the “national treat” on time.

While I understand that the pie giveaway is a time-honored tradition for many agents and teams, it seems to me that there may be a better way in these COVID-related times to spend those advertising dollars. I would like to suggest an alternative.

A quick drive through many cities in the U.S. reveals a growing homeless population. The pandemic has impacted these communities in a number of ways: the obvious health challenges, increased unemployment and the lack of appropriate housing are just a few.

In our area, we have not only seen an increase in encampments, but we can visit any number of cities across our region where RVs, cars and other vehicles are semi-permanently parked lining streets for miles.

Our team’s mission statement is “to provide unparalleled real estate experiences, transforming clients into raving fans who partner with us in providing fresh starts locally and globally.”

Flowing from our mission is a commitment to locate and support organizations that provide fresh starts for those who cannot help themselves, whether that’s locally or abroad. We look for charitable organizations that include a housing component in their services and send a portion of every commission to the organizations that have made our list.

The amount that’s sent to each organization is determined by our clients who are asked, at the end of their transaction, to partner with us by selecting which of the organizations we support receives the funds from their specific sale or purchase. We also offer them the opportunity to add to the funds our team is giving by making a personal donation of their own.

One of the organizations we support is a group dedicated to supporting our local homeless population. With this in mind, instead of giving away pies this year, we are providing our clients with an opportunity to partner with us in supporting this local organization.

A letter is going out to our entire database that explains that there will be no pie giveaway this year, but instead, we will give them an opportunity to partner with us in making a difference. The letter includes a card which asks them to consider two things:

  1. By simply filling out the card with their contact information and mailing it back, our team will contribute a set amount to the local homeless organization in their name. The more cards we receive back, the more we will give (over and above the normal amount we will be sending them anyway).
  2. If our clients wish to partner at a higher level and add a personal contribution of their own, they can send the card back to us in an envelope along with a check which we will forward to the organization so they can get an income tax receipt.

To pie or not to pie — for us, there is no question. We choose to be a part of the solution in providing funding to aid those who, due to the pandemic, have a larger need than ever for a fresh start.

By partnering with a local organization with a proven track record of success in working with the local homeless population, we believe we can make a difference this Thanksgiving. And if you do the same with your brokerage, you can, too. 

Carl Medford is the CEO of The Medford Team.

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