As the coronavirus pandemic continues to batter communities across the country, real estate agents and their brokerages have responded with unprecedented volunteerism and donations, according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors.
The Community Aid and Real Estate Report – the CARE Report – shows that the median annual value of Realtor associations’ donations to communities doubled from $5,000 in 2018 to $10,000 in 2020.
A whopping 92% of broker-owners made pandemic-related donations in 2020, up from 81% in 2018. The median amount broker-owners donated annually was $2,000.
Food banks were one of the top recipients of Realtor generosity — 36% of brokers and their firms donated nonperishables or cash to food banks during the pandemic, 27% donated masks and protective gear, 16% donated school meals to children and 9% were able to provide stable and secure housing to those in need.
In addition to monetary donations, Realtors responded to the pandemic by making food deliveries to the elderly and frontline workers, conducting wellness checks and visits to senior neighbors and offering virtual companionship to those isolated or quarantined alone.
Some 67% survey respondents polled by NAR said they volunteered in their communities on a monthly basis as compared to 66% in 2018, the last time the study was conducted, and 85% said that community involvement was an important part of their business plan. Among broker-owners, 79% volunteered their time on a monthly basis, versus 77% in 2018.
“Realtors are in the business of helping people and serving their communities, and we’ve seen countless examples of this play out nationwide during this pandemic,” said NAR President Charlie Oppler in a press release. “To hear that my colleagues in the real estate industry have pitched in to an even greater degree than usual is indeed heartwarming, but it is also not surprising. Historically, Realtors have a proven track record of donating time, money and energy toward various charities and volunteer efforts,”
Nearly 70% of association executives or multiple listing service staff also said they volunteered monthly, 93% of them made personal donations and 91% conducted a fundraiser for their community in 2020, an increase from 89% in 2018.
Philanthropic efforts among brokerages were also up this year: 68% percent of members reported that their firm urged employees to volunteer, up from 64% in 2018.
“Since I entered this industry, I always valued giving back to the community and the ideal of paying it forward,” said Oppler, whose 2021 plan includes volunteerism and community services initiatives. “I have no doubt that America’s 1.4 million Realtors will continue to help our neighbors and lend assistance wherever possible as we collectively work to move beyond COVID-19 in the coming months.”