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Phil Spencer: Good deeds are for all year, not just Christmas!

One of the most heart-warming parts of my job is having the privilege to be the patron of Agents Giving, the industry’s charity.

Therefore, I see at first hand just how generous, public-spirited and selfless many agencies can be - not just at Christmas, but all around the year. So before we go any further, a heartfelt ‘thank you’ from Agents Giving and myself for all your work and activities.

So the point of my EAT article this month isn’t to urge you to contribute towards good causes - you already do that, handsomely - but to share some of the more unusual approaches we’ve seen from some individual agencies and suppliers in our industry.


Perhaps your own agency or firm can adopt these ideas to support not just charities and obvious good causes, but to help embed your business further into your community. I’m not naming names, because so many agencies do such good work, but I hope this all offers a little food for thought.

Help The Business Community

For example, I know of more than one agency - typically in a small town or even a village - that makes a particular effort each New Year into publicising local shops and other businesses.

We all know that High Streets are under the cosh these days, battling everything from online delivery services to high business rates. So it’s great to see some agencies paying for a local campaign of door-to-door leaflets and social media exposure to urge people to shop locally.

And at least one agency, in a village which has just lost its final bank as well as its Post Office, has organised shopkeepers and residents alike to trigger a campaign for a banking hub - a hub where businesses and local people can deposit and take out cash, whoever they bank with. 

These sorts of campaigns will vary place to place, but an estate agency based on a High Street is likely to serve as the eyes and ears of a community: using that intelligence to good effect will win the hearts and minds of local people, and in time to come will win their business too.

Celebrate The Ordinary

People say nostalgia isn’t what it used to be, but how about this for an idea? An estate agency could find out the key anniversaries for a community, and celebrate them!

Sadly, I can’t take credit for this - one agency I know of in the north of England makes a point of researching key events such as when the local school first opened, or the origins of the nearest church, or the first time a local bus service ran. It sounds whimsical but the agent dresses his windows to mark the event, and this has become a new tradition much loved by local people.

And there’s at least one agency which has bought a snow machine and a bubble machine (yes, honestly) and lends them free of charge to local groups to make their events go with a flurry. It’s such a simple and relatively cheap idea, but these gestures spread goodwill that the agency in question believes has directly led to it winning more instructions.

Another agency has offered to sponsor 100 hanging baskets in a town - effectively this was the payment for the baskets and flowers, with volunteers in community groups arranging the hanging of the baskets and the watering over the spring and summer.

Go Back To School

Possibly the most common community activity by agencies is sponsoring school fetes and sports days, along with appropriately branded boards advertising the events in local streets. It’s a great idea which helps financially-strapped schools and boosts attendance for those events too.

But there’s more that can be done with local schools.

I’m aware of one agency that used to hire a mini-bus for a week, on dates agreed with the school, and offers it to the school for trips. The school itself provides the driver and organises the locations and insurance issues, so the practical work by the agency is restricted to liaising over which week to choose, negotiating the hire of the vehicle, and then dressing it with the agency’s own name.

This isn’t a low cost option but again it creates goodwill that money cannot buy.

And of course, it’s Christmas…

Agencies often boast some of the best dressed festive windows on High Streets and typically use December to host Christmas Jumper days with donations to charities and so on.

But how about this?

Offer your agency office as a drop off point for the local Food Bank, or for a Winter Coat Collection. Or perhaps be the driving force behind a late night shopping evening for your own neighbourhood shopping street as it fights to compete with big-city retail extravaganzas.

And what about having an afternoon at the end of the school term with a Santa’s Grotto in the office, welcoming in local children accompanied by their parents or guardians?

The true spirit behind all of these ideas, and the scores of others I haven’t space to mention, is to celebrate the communities we live in, and to help those who need a hand in these difficult days.

But it’s worth remembering that all of these ideas also cement the local agent as the backbone of those communities - and that will be good for your business too, as we all look to 2024.

Talking of which, I’ll be back next year but until then, my very best wishes for a peaceful Christmas and a successful New Year. Have a good one…

Phil Spencer is a presenter, author, businessman and property investor. Phil’s consumer advice platform Move iQ, is a website, YouTube channel and podcast. Each preserve and reflect the same impartiality that consumers trust and base their property moving plans. Move iQ Pro, is Phil’s resource to support agents and has recently launched a video marketing product. Contact amanda@moveiQ.co.uk to find out more. 


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