Weaving Generosity into Your Network

I just finished interviewing Tom Wilkins of Better Homes and Gardens Wilkins and Associates. We were talking about his recent donation to the Sherman Theater to support the “Fine Arts Discovery Series,” which brings the arts to kids and their families.

Given today’s economy, small nonprofits like the Sherman must breathe a huge sigh of relief each time a sponsor steps up to contribute.

Tom extends the “all real estate is local” mantra by applying it to hyper-local social responsibility initiatives. Interestingly, his sponsorship results in a “pay it forward” benefit as his brokerage is able to take the free tickets they receive for productions at the Sherman and pass them along to clients and other members in the community. This in turn inspires a whole new set of community members to connect to the theater that Wilkins and Associates supports.

Another synergistic use of resources is the way Wilkins and Associates allows local organizations to schedule their meetings at the firm’s conference rooms. This is a great way to extend a hand to the volunteers running the local little league per se by giving them a professional space to conduct business in. Ultimately, this is exactly the type of “business” that enriches a community and makes it more attractive to homebuyers.

I was struck by the creativity here. It’s not just about cutting a check, it’s about finding a way to contribute resources that can be regenerative and lead to new opportunities, positive outcomes and good will for your network.

Sherry Chris wrote in a recent post:

“Networking, like everything in business, is not just about what you take, it is about what you give back. It is my belief that, the more you give, the more you will receive.”

By weaving more generosity into your network, there is no limit as to what can come back as a result. I think Tom has some pretty good ideas here as to how to do it.

I’d love to hear what other firms are doing to creatively invest in their local networks that results in a virtuous cycle of good living and good business.

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