April was National Volunteer Month, and the perfect time to call out the fantastic work of TRREB’s giving community of REALTORS®. In 2020, TRREB Members reached a fundraising record of $1 million : money that went towards over 100 shelter-based charities, children’s breakfast programs and food banks across the GTA.
Above and beyond, TRREB Members seek to help out and improve the communities where they work and live. But some may not be sure where to start. In this Ready to Real Estate podcast episode, TRREB President Lisa Patel invites Wasaga Beach REALTOR® Bruce Johnson to share his emotional journey starting his incredible fundraising initiative for children’s hospitals, Motorcycle for Miracles .
Retelling Bruce’s story wouldn’t do it justice: we highly recommend listening to this episode (with some tissues handy). Once you’ve heard his inspiring story, read on for Bruce’s five key tips for doing good in your own community.
1. Be passionate
Your passion is what will attract people to your cause. It’s not about rattling off statistics – it’s your personal connection to the cause you’ve chosen that will open people’s hearts and minds (and wallets, if you’re fundraising). Bruce’s own work was inspired by his sister’s passion in persuading him to become a “miracle agent” and donating a part of his commissions, and the passion of doctors and nurses at SickKids Hospital.
2. Awareness is enough
Bruce is incredibly humble about the impressive amount of money he’s raised for the Children’s Miracle Network, contrasting his donations to a single donation from a large corporation. But, it’s the awareness he raised while on his motorcycle trips that inspired people to follow along and learn more about his cause. Lisa adds, “without our senses, everything else is nothing without awareness.” We can’t help until we know.
3. See the good
There is so much goodness in the world. Bruce points to the tough year we’ve all had during the pandemic and how it’s easy to only notice the bad things. He knows from experience that people are inherently good – even the poorest people he’d met on his road trips were willing to share a warm meal or a place to sleep. When volunteering, look for ways to find and amplify the good in your own community.
4. Plan and prepare
Given we’re still amid the pandemic, it might be hard to get something started. Bruce says this isn’t time wasted: it’s a time where you can start planning for what you’d like to do. Reach out to the organizations you’re thinking of helping and see what they need most. Start building your “tribe” of people with time, talent and treasure (e.g., money) around you so that you can hit the ground running.
5. Share your work
Some people automatically shut down or criticize when you ask for donations or share something you’ve done for the community. But if you don’t share, other people will never be inspired to do the same. Bruce says, “flip that switch . . . if it’s not about you, it’s not ego.” Even things that are about you, like advertising in community arenas or baseball fields, go a long way towards ensuring local sports leagues or parks flourish. Often, you have a positive impact without even realizing it.
If you’re still unsure where to start or trying to find your next passion project, Lisa points to the Ontario REALTORS Care® Foundation and their wide variety of initiatives to see what excites you.
And, if you have a story to share, we want to hear it . We’re shining a spotlight on TRREB Members – our unsung heroes – who go above and beyond to give back to their communities. Simply email us at [email protected] or use the hashtag #REALHeroes and post your selfless acts or good deeds on social media.