Balancing Community Service, Family, and Business

November 8, 2016

Getting involved in community projects and charity work is a great way to both give back and make your name more recognizable in your neighborhood. However, it’s not easy to devote substantial time to good deeds when you have a real estate business to run and a family to feed.

Past winners of REALTOR® Magazine’s Good Neighbor Awards, which honors REALTORS® who make extraordinary charitable contributions to their communities, discussed how they strike such a balance in their own lives at a Sunday session during the 2016 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Orlando, Fla. Greg Adamson, a 2009 Good Neighbor whose Heart 2 Home Foundation in Salt Lake City provides home renovations for disadvantaged owners, said getting family members involved in his cause kills two birds with one stone.

“Heart 2 Home has become an important part of our family,” Adamson said. “My wife and kids are involved, and that has made it easier to balance time. It’s just such a part of who we are, and I really want my kids to have that legacy.” But make no mistake about it: Juggling charity work, family, and business isn’t easy. Adamson said if you care enough about the help you’re providing through good works, you’ll make sacrifices. “When we do a project, it’s time-consuming… But I know that if I don’t do it, I’ll regret it.”

2013 Good Neighbor Award winner Tina McDonough agreed. She’s built a powerhouse fundraising team that participates in Susan G. Komen events — such as a three-day, 60-mile walk — to fight breast cancer. Her husband and three kids often join. “It’s become a family affair,” she said, noting that both her son and husband have joined her on the fundraising walks. "You bring your family into it, and then they see why you’re so passionate about it.”

But what happens to your business when you’re busy with your charity work? 2012 Good Neighbor Rocky Balsamo said it’s all about having good systems in place. Balsamo said he does nearly half of the production on his team, which he said is the top real estate team in his county. But when he decided to become executive director of the Center for FaithJustice, an organization that provides schoolchildren with community service opportunities and education about poverty, he turned to his team to fill the gaps in their business.

“I could rely on my team members to take my clients out on showings if I wasn’t available. You have to have systems in place if you’re going to take on these kinds of endeavors. You have to have people, colleagues you can rely on,” Balsamo said.

—Graham Wood, REALTOR® Magazine