I’ll admit, I haven’t been feeling the Christmas spirit this year. Truthfully, I haven’t bought a single gift yet and have no real desire to do so. Why? Christmas has become more about spending money on material possessions than it is spending time with family and being thankful for what you already have. Face it, you don’t need another jacket, 60 inch flat screen, clock, toaster, or any of the other countless possessions that others could give you. Receiving “stuff” is not what Christmas is about, as much as you may believe otherwise. Christmas is about being thankful for what you have and spending quality time with those you care about. It’s about giving, yes — but giving should be items that are actually needed (clothes, food, shelter) to those who actually need them — not just giving for the sake of giving.

After a long text conversation with one of my closest friends, Taryn Jensen, I got to thinking about what acts of kindness I wanted to do this holiday season. Almost immediately, I emailed my good friends Ines and Lori, both of whom are big on giving back, to get their thoughts on putting together a bigger effort to encompass the entire real estate community (I’m no fan of dreaming small).

The result of that email thread and a thread with Brad, Daniel, and the RETSO crew  is the “Real Estate Doers Make a Difference” initiative  (#REDMAD on Twitter).

This holiday season, let’s do our part and give back to those in real need…

Here’s the ASK:

$20 donation to Habitat for Humanity.

That’s it. It won’t break your pocketbook, but the collective efforts of the real estate community can do a world of good for some families that really need it.

The Goal

Of course is the first year the Real Estate Doers Make a Difference initiative has existed. We’re aiming to raise $2,500. If each of you donate $20, we need 125 people to contribute. No one will be charged a penny until the goal of $2,500 is met (that’s the way CrowdTilt works), so we all have a vested interest in reaching our goal or Habitat for Humanity gets absolutely nothing.

If we get 500 contributors and blow away the $2,500 goal? That would be utterly amazing.

We have until January 2nd to make it happen.

[Progress Indicator 1:20 pm 12/21: We’re 24% of the way to our goal, with $600 raised]

What can you do?

  1. Make a $20 (or more if you wish) donation
  2. Share the campaign  (#REDMAD on Twitter)
  3. Start a local fundraiser (such as this one for those of you in Seattle)
  4. …and have a great Christmas!

Why Habitat for Humanity?

Given Habitat for Humanity’s focus on housing for those in need, it makes sense as an initial organization for the real estate community to support. I believe a number of RE Bar Camps have supported their work over the years. In addition, Ines, Lori, and I have all spent time volunteering for the organization and can vouch for its impact. Next year, we’ll plan ahead and get feedback from a broader group regarding which organization the real estate community wishes to support.

Of course, if this isn’t your cup of tea, that’s okay. Want to donate to a local organization you know and love? Go for it. Want to go spend your time and feed the homeless? Awesome.

Just ensure you do something kind for others this holiday season!

PS: Even though we just have 4 days before Christmas, better late than never.

PS 2: Yes, this was partly inspired by the successful Passports with Purpose initiative that has existed in the travel industry for several years.