Through its Random Acts of Kindness campaign, real estate marketing leader Parkbench.com encourages good deeds in every neighborhood.
By Roger Grody
One of the fastest-growing start-ups in the real estate industry is Parkbench.com, an innovative, neighborhood-based collaborative through which real estate professionals enhance their presence in the community. The platform also hosts businesses, residents and nonprofit organizations, connecting people on multiple levels and strengthening communities throughout the U.S. and Canada.
The Toronto-based company was founded by entrepreneur Grant Findlay-Shirras and his wife Amanda Newman, a local Realtor. The concept, which establishes an exclusive website for a Realtor in every neighborhood, provides a vehicle through which that real estate professional can build his or her business while creating a more cohesive, tightknit community. After launching his wife’s website in 2013, Findlay-Shirras founded Parkbench.com to accommodate demand from Realtors in every state and province.
“Everybody who lives, works or plays in a neighborhood has something to say, and this platform provides immense value to the community while building a Realtor’s brand,” says the CEO. Findlay-Shirras explains Parkbench.com allows Realtors to elevate their roles to what they once were: pillars of the community who generate referrals by collaborating with local businesses, residents and organizations. It is a technology-driven approach to old-fashioned relationships.
“All Realtors want to provide value to their communities and expand their spheres of influence, but most don’t know how to go about it,” says Findlay-Shirras, who adds, “We believe in the Law of Reciprocity. Those who provide value to their communities will prosper.” Parkbench.com has also become the largest single provider of local news, aggregating local content from around the Internet and updating it daily on its Realtors’ respective websites.
Because Parkbench.com’s mission is to make neighborhoods stronger, both socially and economically, a corporate culture of giving comes naturally. After Hurricane Harvey hit Texas last August, Parkbench.com donated 10 percent of its revenue the following month to the nonprofit Feeding Texas. This past February, the firm implemented a Random Acts of Kindness campaign in honor of National Random Acts of Kindness Week, February 11-17, 2018.
“The entire company is built on this motto: Give value first, and have faith that you will receive something in return,” says Findlay-Shirras, who adds, “And why not give it randomly to see people’s awesome reactions?” The Parkbench.com CEO, who created the Local Leader® Marketing System used by his network of 1,000-plus Realtors, reports that members in cities throughout the U.S. and Canada — including New York, Vancouver, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Austin, Philadelphia, Seattle, Toronto, and Miami — participated in the February campaign.
Among the random acts of kindness extended by Parkbench.com, Realtors were buying coffee for the neighborhood, handing out flowers on Valentine’s Day, reprising the lost art of dispensing compliments to strangers, and cleaning up litter in the community. Local Realtors videotaped and posted their random acts for a companywide competition, with the winning Realtor receiving $1,000 to donate to his or her favorite charity.
Parkbench.com also supports nonprofits beyond the neighborhood level, and selected causes have included fostering entrepreneurship in Kenya, assisting the homeless and funding disaster relief. “The spirit of the company is giving to the community,” reminds Findlay-Shirras of Parkbench.com’s core value. “That’s who we are.”
Photo courtesy of Parkbench.com