As REALTOR®s, we ought to always be creating new ways to put ourselves out there, as well as sharing them with each other. If you are looking to give back to your community in some fashion and are stuck for ideas, here are a few Outside-the-Box ideas that have helped me to continue to be fruitful both in business and my personal intentions for being better at both.
Women's Wisdom Circle
I'm a big believer that women who come together with the common intention of inspiring one another can make a very positive impact on their own lives and on society as a whole. Last year I wanted to gather some of the positive-thinking women in my local community to sit down together and share a quote, a story; anything that inspired them to be better women. Our first gathering, just about a year ago was monumental in several ways. Women who didn't even know each other sat down and were completely authentic in what touched them and I was so honored to be a part of that afternoon where we bared our souls and were all moved by it. It should have come to no surprise to me that we could peel away the layers in a very short period of time and expose our soulfulness without qualms. It did surprise me and was exactly what I needed to start the year of 2018 with inspiration and mindfulness. We continue to meet in a loosely arranged, mostly once-a-month gathering at my home, now a year old, increasing in numbers and sharing authenticity and wisdom! (This month's theme: rejuvenation).
Facebook Group: "Fishhawk Lake Folks"
(The photo above I took years ago of some of our neighbors at one of our volunteer events. This is what greets people when they visit our community site)
This may not be for everyone. I wasn't and am still not much of a Facebook user, but years ago, I decided to create the Facebook group called Fishhawk Lake Folks (now 361 members). For several years it was an open group on Facebook. Photos, stories, videos of Fishhawk Lake are shared amongst members, along with power outages, road closures, general weather problems, and every now and then, when someone is missing a tool, a pet or an ingredient for a recipe, they put it on my group page, and within a few moments of replies, someone has the solution!
Because we have a Homeowner's Association, there will always be some sordid tales of what's not being done right regarding the volunteer board and last year when there were some tough dialogues about an increase in dues and what was or wasn't being reported honestly, there were times when the back&forth got to be a bit heated.
One board member asked me privately to take the group down. I felt that the conversations needed to happen, without picking sides. After all, it was based on community, as an open forum type of site. I did not take it down. I did make it a private group and added 3 questions that potential members have to answer. Not tough questions, but if you don't bother to answer them, I don't make you a member.
We got through that bump in the road. People really do appreciate the immediacy of reaching out to neighbors and we are back to getting along, or simply not being snarky, because I want this to be a "community" in the truest sense of the word.
Living as well as working in my local community, many of my buyers who became new neighbors would call me after their purchase and ask about a roofer, or who brings gravel, who can build a dock, etc. etc. It seemed very natural to create my own Angie's List of sorts, so I put that together on my website alphabetically and have added to it over the years. It has saved me and my community a lot of time and headaches because we are remote and not everyone comes out here to service our area. That and it's always nice to hire a contractor who actually shows up ON TIME and gets the job done because they come recommended!
In the years that I've had it, I will only add those companies and services that I've either used myself or have been referred to me by a satisfied member of our Fishhawk Lake community. I've also added utility companies, local restaurants, pharmacies, animal control, county phone numbers, even a local dog park! It helps everyone, gives those businesses a bit of free advertising and I don't get so many phone calls at 9pm asking if I know a plumber!
Three unusal ideas...what works for you in staying connected with your community?