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NAR: Realtor Assoc. Donations Doubled During Pandemic

92% of broker-owners made donations in 2020, up from 81% in 2018 – and in addition to money, volunteerism also increased, NAR says.

WASHINGTON – In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Realtors®, real estate agents and their firms increased philanthropic and volunteer efforts, according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The median annual value of Realtor associations’ donations to communities doubled from $5,000 in 2018 to $10,000 in 2020.

The Community Aid and Real Estate Report – the CARE Report – analyzes monetary and volunteer contributions of members, broker-owners and association executives or multiple listing service staff. Compared to the most recent 2018 study, this year’s CARE Report found that food and monetary donations remain high and volunteering increased among Realtors, while Realtor associations held more fundraisers for their communities.

“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,” says NAR President Charlie Oppler. “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.”

Two-thirds of members at large (67%) volunteered on a monthly basis (66% in 2018). The average member spent four hours per month volunteering – eight hours among those who volunteer on a monthly basis. Most (82%) Realtors made charitable donations last year, equal to the share recorded in 2018.

Among broker-owners, 79% volunteered their time on a monthly basis versus 77% in 2018; 92% of broker-owners made donations in 2020, up from 81% in 2018. The median amount broker-owners donated annually was $2,000.

Of association executives or multiple listing service staff, 68% volunteered monthly and 93% of AEs or MLS staff made personal donations in 2020; 91% of AE or MLS respondents’ associations conducted a fundraiser for their community in 2020, an increase from 89% in 2018.

“Historically, Realtors have a proven track record of donating time, money and energy toward various charities and volunteer efforts,” says Oppler. He cites the assistance and community service efforts of agents particularly during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Realtors responded to the pandemic in a variety of manners, including 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. Additionally, 36% of brokers and their firms donated money or nonperishables to food banks during the pandemic and another 11% volunteered their time at such organizations. Twenty-seven percent donated masks and protective gear in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus, 16% donated school meals to children, and 9% were able to provide stable and secure housing to those in need.

Philanthropic efforts also carried over to Realtors’ respective firms: 68% of members reported that their firm urged employees to volunteer, up from 64% in 2018. Fifty-eight percent of members said involvement in their community is “very important” to their business plan, and another 27% said such participation is “somewhat important.”

“Since I entered this industry, I always valued giving back to the community and the ideal of paying-it-forward,” says Oppler. “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.”

© 2020 Florida Realtors®