A Brief History of REBSEA, the Real Estate & Business Social Enterprises Association, a 501(c)(6) nonprofit trade association
The idea to create REBSEA was born when a group of real estate agents who support nonprofits as part of their business model found each other on the internet. None had any idea that there were more than perhaps one or two others doing this. After a little more research it became clear that there were many real estate agents doing this in a variety of ways. We realized that there was a single compelling reason why the concept that has evolved to become the REBSEA model would succeed to an extraordinary degree: real estate agents routinely are glad to pay 25% of their commission as a referral fee for business that they would otherwise not have.........so why would we not make a donation after closing to a nonprofit organization when their supporters choose to work with us because they know that REBSEA Members support nonprofits in their community?
Three months of Google and Bing searches resulted in a long list of real estate agents who supported non-profits. Three more months of phone calls produced a network of 80 Founders who were committed to creating an organization that would make it easy and worthwhile for real estate agents and mortgage brokers across the U.S. and Canada to work with a socially responsible public to greatly increase the number of donations going to the non-profit sector from the business community.
Now let's add about 4 months of additional research to: 1) create the proper legal entity to accomplish our mission and to comply with all of the laws and regulations surrounding the real estate industry. We engaged lawyers specializing in social enterprise, start ups, and real estate.
2) understand exactly what the MBA programs in our leading universities are teaching about social enterprise and why they seem convinced that it is 'the next big thing' and is re-shaping commerce in the direction of creating new business models (like REBSEA) to combine sustainable businesses with providing expanded social benefits. The creation of a new form of business entity called a Benefit Corporation is a prime example.
3) interface with The Center for Social Innovation, a Canadian org., which has leased 24,000 sq. ft. of office space in Manhattan to conduct classes on creating new business models as social enterprises (such as REBSEA).
4) conduct a study of all of the existing for-profit and nonprofit organizations with similar visions as REBSEA and understand why they have neither succeeded to a significant degree, nor proven that they have a concept that can succeed. This may have been the most worthwhile study of all because it showed us exactly how to proceed.
REBSEA is inclusive of ALL models that have real estate agents and businesses donating back into the communities they serve. REBSEAis a truly non-profit approach that has ALL of the donations going directly from its Members to a chosen nonprofit organizations. There is no bloated bureaucracy to be supported. All work to date has been done by full time unpaid volunteers who realized from the beginning that this was the only way that REBSEA could be created. We were willing to take time away from our business to make this happen because we believe passionately that together we can make a huge impact on fundraising for non-profits and providing services to those who are in pain and in need. Something has to change. The homeless are still homeless and children are still being abused and going to bed hungry in the richest countries in the world. The proof that the REBSEA model is inclusive is the fact that many of our Founders and members have also been members of the other organizations that have tried to succeed but were limited by the design of their plan.
Now REBSEA is expanding its network to every city and state across the U.S. and every province and city across Canada. The response has been tremendous and we are quickly accomplishing the creation of a strong and complete network. The non-profits will have a complete network for direct fundraising and the public will have the ability to choose to do business with real estate agents and businesses who support the unmet needs in their communities. This is a win-win-win-win situation: the agents will have business they otherwise would not have; the public will be able to support for free the causes they feel strongly about; the nonprofits will have funding that they otherwise would not have, and the greatest winner of all; those who receive the services offered by the nonprofits from funds that they otherwise would not have.
So there is only one question remaining: why would anybody NOT support such a program?