Browse Tag: Charity

The Benevolent Broker: Charitable Giving As A Business Edge

New ideas in commercial real estate are emerging to help us with age-old business challenges. Brokers have more tools than ever to aid in gaining information on markets and properties and to build networks.   But how many truly new ways to add value come along?  How can we serve our communities How creative can we really get in this industry?

To put it another way, what can be made part of the deal that is new, that captures the imagination, serves a mutual need and differentiates one broker from the next?  How can we make deals special?

Lately, we’ve seen a rise in a creative new business model that combines old-fashioned networking, commissions and charitable giving.   Different brokers around the country have struck upon a new way to add value by channeling portions of commissions into the hands of worthy causes that clients want to see funded.   Let’s take a quick look at two of these “benevolent broker” models:

Charity Realty International  The New Jersey-based effort of a Rochelle Park, NJ firm specializing in office, industrial, investment and real estate consulting,  is helmed by President James F. Costanzo.  “I have always had the dream of becoming a philanthropist,” says Costanzo, whose firm has pledged to donate 20% of its net revenue to various charities including Alzheimer’s Disease Research.

Rather than donating a percentage of profit or relying on himself to always donate when the paycheck reaches his pocket, Costanzo felt the most up front and consistent way to contribute was to include the donation as part of the contract.

“I pledge this up front, contractually in writing … it takes all of the human frailty of what you might do with the money once you get it out of the equation,” Costanzo said.

Also inserting charitable giving into the commercial real estate process is Chicago-based  Investing In Communities.  IIC allows clients to fund their favorite nonprofits for free by including the giving in the structure of the clients’ real estate transactions.   Replacing referral fees with a philanthropic approach, real estate professionals become members of IIC for a small fee, and pledge to contribute a percentage of commissions to the nonprofit selected by the client.

As the season is upon us, I have to wonder; what other charitable commission or referral fee ideas are out there?


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