Real estate referrals between brokers and agents happen every day. With 20%-37.5% of the real estates agents commission typically going towards a referral service, Tracey Wood saw an opportunity to start a unique social enterprise. She and her husband Duane started Agents of Change – a referral service that uses a unique fundraising model to impact the community. Simply put, Agents of Change lets their clients move forward, but also give back.
Instead of keeping the entire referral fee they receive, Agents of Change designates 20% to the charity or non-profit of the client’s choice – with no cost to the buyer. With an average donation of $2000 per referral, Agents of Change is impacting local, national, and international non-profits without creating any additional work. “It’s a new revenue stream without ‘the ask'” says Wood, “that is extracting value from something happening every day in Calgary.” The client simply indicates which non-profit organization they would like to support during the referral process, and the organization receives the funds. This is so integral to the Agents of Change process, that it’s the very first question they ask when you begin your real estate journey.
There are almost 50 charities already listed on their website, and clients are able to choose any non-profit they wish to support. Despite this ability to choose from almost any non-profit, the large majority of referral donations are kept within the community, or at least within the city where the client is purchasing their home. Clients have given their donation to their community schools, to charities that have assisted family members, or to non-profits that they work or volunteer for. You can read success stories on the website and see the wide range of non-profits that Agents of Change clients have supported.
Agents of Change isn’t attracting clients just through their social enterprise model of real estate. They are also providing value to those looking to buy new homes by going above and beyond the standard referral model. Wood explains there is an art and a science to matching clients with real estate agents and that they want to create the perfect match. So far they have had 100% customer satisfaction. “It is the best way to find an agent” says Wood, adding that clients have a better experience from start to finish.
In 2016, Agents of Change will continue building capacity and creating lasting connections between clients and charitable organizations. They intend to amplify their impact in a variety of ways, including corporate partnerships and gift matching. As with many social enterprises, the question is about taking it to scale and expanding into new markets. “While there is no pressure to grow” says Wood, “there’s an opportunity.”
Learn more about how Agents of Change works by visiting their website
Start a real estate journey with Agents of Change and support your favourite non-profit
Agents of Change is also a proud member of REAP! http://www.belocal.org/business/agents-of-change/