King. King took over the business in 1990
after his father’s death.
“My father said, ‘Son, if you’re not
going to contribute positively to your
community, then you have not earned the
right to have an opinion or to complain.’
That’s resonated for me for 38 years,”
King says. “We’ve always given back.”
A few years ago, King’s executive
assistant, Ashley Mitchell, organized the
company’s charitable efforts into a pro-
gram called “ 12 Months of Giving.” Each
of the five ERA King offices is responsible
for supporting a charity or event monthly
in its area. It’s required that the cause
have a local connection, and all agents
are encouraged to participate.
“Service is truly a part of our day-to-day life,” King says. In 2015 alone, the
company donated nearly $50,000 to
48 causes and organizations through its
12 Months of Giving initiative. Its biggest
effort was hosting a golf tournament that
raised $17,000 for United Cerebral Palsy.
The 115 agents and 24 staffers have also
supported local school events and sports
teams and volunteered at area food
pantries. They collectively spent more
than 700 hours supporting the community last year, and were recognized this
spring with ERA’s 2015 Circle of Light for
Community Leadership Award.
Brokers who stay visible with the
causes they support find that it en-
hances their credibility with both agents
and clients. Two years ago, Doug Van
Nortwick, who with his brother John co-
owns ERA Buyers and Sellers Real Estate,
He raised $17,000 and his buzz cut was
broadcast live on You Tube. At ERA King,
Everett King and his management team
train agents to mention the 12 Months of
Giving initiative in their marketing presen-
tations, spending two or three minutes
explaining the nature of their charitable
work to prospective clients.
Enlisting the public—whether clients
or the wider community—to get involved
in their causes helps brokers and their
sales associates build trusting relationships within the community, too. The
agents at ERA King ask clients to get
involved and take part in events. “Not
only do we work in the community, but
we live here and we play here, and want
to contribute here,” King says. “We want
to work together to accomplish something.” Similarly, Greene says he and his
agents aren’t shy about inviting clients to
The approaches brokers take to
communicate their good deeds vary.
Both social media and postal mail have
their place. Greene and his team prefer
social media platforms like Facebook and
Twitter. “The more you’re entrenched
in the community, the more people will
know who you are,” he says.
The Van Nortwicks help their agents
communicate the team’s good works by
providing event photos to share on social
media and postage to mail postcards,
strongly encouraging them to spread the
word within their spheres. Their aim isn’t
to be boastful but rather to raise awareness and attract like-minded customers.
The brothers reach an even wider
audience through social media. Each fall,
photos of Doug and about a dozen male
ERA Buyers and Sellers agents flood their
Facebook feeds when they participate
in the annual Y WCA Walk a Mile in Her
Shoes event in El Paso. The men wear
women’s heels to raise funds for services
that the Y WCA provides to victims of
domestic violence and sexual assault.
Last year they raised nearly $7,000.
Of course, building business connections and supporting the community are
intertwined. But when the efforts to serve
are steeped in a genuine desire to help
people in need, the result is a win-win for
By Erica Christoffer
Getting Involved the Right Way
b Make it formal. Make your philanthropy part of your business plan and have a
well-organized system for getting agents and customers engaged in your efforts.
b Be consistent. As the broker, you set the tone. If you walk the walk when it comes
to volunteerism, your agents will too. And the longer your company is involved
with a specific cause, the more legitimate it will be in the eyes of customers and
the general public.
b Market with tact. Celebrate the charities you back and explain why you support
them, but don’t put the emphasis on yourself or your company; focus on the posi-
tive impact for your community.
“Not only do we work in the community,
but we live here and we play here, and want to
Alabama broker-owner Everett King