Like many development professionals, you probably recognize the gaping chasm between unicorn strategies (getting introduced to Bono or Oprah, inventing the next version of the Ice Bucket Challenge, etc.), and the grind of piecing together probable or actual funding sources (grants, individual donors, events, corporate sponsorship, etc.) I’ve been in that seat and it’s hard work. I tip my hat to all of you who are piecing it together day after day, year after year.

And all these “pieces” entail squeezing more water from essentially the same stones. You need more money from foundations, more money from corporations, more money from individual donors. You get the picture. Now what if you could approach all those same sources and say “Here’s a new way to provide significant financial support- and it doesn’t cost you a nickel.” Do you think they might favorably consider that?

Investing In Communities® is a platform that enables your board members, donors, volunteers, and anyone else who cares about your mission to direct funding, at no expense to them, to your organization anytime they have a brokered real estate transaction. The funding comes from referral fees that are secured through an agreement the broker signs before the client chooses them as their broker in a residential or commercial transaction. Read more about the nuts and bolts here. Investing In Communities® makes it possible for any consumer to pick (just about) any broker and benefit (just about) any charity, (just about) anywhere.

A typical sale or purchase of a $300,000 home generates $1,300 of funding. This is a pretty safe working assumption. Given that about 1 out of 20 households buys or sells a home in a year, your 1,000 supporters will have about 50 residential buyers or sellers in the next year. If 10% of them use IIC to sign up with their broker, then that’s about $6,500—and the capture rate will likely increase as you increase awareness.

The good news is that you can now add a significant new source of unrestricted funding to your mix. Is it free? Yes. Does it require some work? Yes, but not a lot. Is it sustainable? Yes!
But what does this mean for you in terms of execution? Becoming an IIC charity member takes about 5-10 minutes. Then, it’s up to you to spread the word. Here are a few tips:

  • Use the templates that we make available for our Charity Members! They have messaging crafted for a range of your communication purposes.
  • Don’t get into the weeds with your message. “Buying or selling your home can generate about $1,300 to help [insert your mission here], at no expense to you. Here’s how [insert your IIC link here].”
  • Keep it top of mind by repeating the message at board meetings, on your website, social media, and e-blasts.
  • Use your first success story to make your message more impactful. When Mary sells her house and your organization gets a check for X dollars, use a quote from Mary about how easy it was.
  • Rinse, and repeat!

So, that’s your new funding source in a nutshell. It’s not a unicorn, but it is almost magical!

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