August 8, 2014
Most Americans’ biggest purchase is their home. Imagine the positive impact of applying a percentage of your largest purchase to your favorite charity. That’s what the company Charitable Agents helps homebuyers do.
Brothers David and Avi Tal were fascinated by this idea, and decided to make it a reality. David Tal shared the Charitable Agents story with us from the company’s hometown: San Diego, CA.
The business started with David’s existing business, a real estate brokerage with half a dozen agents, who were willing to give some of their earnings to charity. The idea quickly transitioned into a new business, MyAgentFinder, which created a connection between agents and home sellers and buyers who valued social awareness. The agents at MyAgentFinder generated more than $100 million in transactions during the first year, making it obvious to the Tal brothers that this idea could be huge. The idea naturally transitioned into Charitable Agents, where a national team of agents could help charities by sharing some of the proceeds of their large transactions. This simple idea blossomed from a socially responsible, but very traditional, business to a business model that would drive the donation of more than six figures to charities in the first year of their existence. Their desire to make a bigger difference continues to drive their growth, using a socially aware and sustainably responsible business startup model.
As the only nationwide network of real estate agents who want to give back to the communities who have contributed to their wealth, Charitable Agents has been able to make a difference by connecting real estate professionals with home buyers and sellers who want the same thing. The real estate agents benefit from being connected to clients they otherwise would never meet. The home buyers and sellers benefit from contributing to their favorite nonprofit organizations without reaching into their own pockets. Clients’ home transactions, which they would have presumably executed anyway, now help their favorite charities do the work that they are already committed to doing.
To ensure the success of this business model, the Charitable Agents organization has limited their agent participants to the top 5% of agents, giving the home buyers and sellers confidence that they are getting the crème de la crème of real estate agents, both from a financial success and from an effectiveness point of view.
The Tal brothers do not discriminate between charitable organizations, either. Their participating nonprofit organizations must prove that they are legitimate charitable organizations by providing some simple paperwork. Home buyers and sellers are able to designate the charity to support. The charities are able to create an additional platform, using the Charitable Agents system, that helps track and promote the donorship to their organization. By posting their Charitable Agents fundraising link on social media sites like Facebook, they can create huge amounts of income from a simple link.
The founders of Charitable Agents want to inspire other companies to embrace their model, and apply the model to other industries. The company goal is that 1 in 10 real estate transactions can be done through a charitable agent, which can mean a lifetime of clean drinking water, an education for underprivileged students, or a business that sustains a family or even a community. The beauty is: you get to decide.
So, what’s next for a company that is doing well while doing good? Making plans to expand their business model into other areas of business. David and Avi Tal are looking toward the mortgage and insurance industries, where thousands of dollars per transaction change hands, as the next areas to support the successful contribution of huge sums of money to worthy charities.
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