How to Bring Holiday Giving to Your Community Year-Round By Dave Reynolds

People like to do nice things during the holidays. They give money to the Salvation Army representative at the grocery store. They buy gifts for neighbors. They donate to charitable causes. But why does that have to end in January? We have found a new way to make this spirit of giving extend year-round and it’s a huge win/win.

Be the catalyst to improve the community
There is a lot of demand out there for special projects that help those in need. Think about how many charitable groups there are in the U.S. and in each market your manufactured home community is located in. Since your property probably has some residents that need help in maintaining and upgrading their home, it’s an obvious match-up. All you have to do is to be the match-maker. But without you acting as the catalyst, neither of these two groups will ever get together.

Organize charitable groups
If you tell the charitable groups in your area – ranging from non-profits to church groups and even college groups – you will find a wide assortment that would love to do some type of event to help people in your manufactured home community.  Their mission includes helping those in need and they are more than willing to wield a hammer and paint brush – as well as yard shears – to make people have a higher quality of life.

Provide the supplies
Besides bringing the groups together at your property, you’ll also be responsible to provide all supplies for the event. This will include both tools and materials. Before you get nervous, remember that most of these supplies are not that costly and that you are benefiting both the residents as well as you as community owner, since a nicer property will be worth far more at appraisal time, not to mention greater retention of happy customers.

Make it an enjoyable undertaking for all involved
In the events that we have organized we have tried to provide not only all the supplies, but also a communal meal for all that attend. Again, this is a small price to pay for the benefit to your residents and property. Our largest gathering brought in around 60 volunteers and cost us about $600 in food and drink. That would equate to the labor cost alone on painting one single home. That’s obviously a bargain and a win/win for
all. If you are a really good organizer, you may even get the local restaurant to provide the food and drink at a reduced price or even for free.

The net effect
We started this program at the end of this year. To date, we have done roughly three large events. In the process we remodeled a large number of customer-owned homes,
with work ranging from skirting to painting to carpentry and landscaping. We were able to get the home of a disabled veteran completely remodeled, and an elderly woman’s deck re-built. There were many needy people who got a second lease on life through this program. Meanwhile, the volunteers had a great day of successful ventures in providing assistance, as well as a great bonding experience with their peers. And, of course, the communities now look drastically better than they did before. There are too many stories of our residents to list – as well as photos – but let’s just say that each project was an absolute success and we were extremely proud to have organized them and to have provided the seed money to get them off the ground.

Conclusion
We learned a lot from our new program of organizing volunteer groups to aid those in need in our communities. It’s one of the best win/win concepts I’ve ever witnessed. It’s a
way to provide good deeds through the year – not just during the holidays. And it’s one that other community owners will hopefully adopt in the New Year.

Dave Reynolds has been a manufactured home community owner for almost two decades, and currently ranks as part of the 5th largest community owner in the United States, with more than 23,000 lots in 28 states in the Great Plains and Midwest. His books and courses on community acquisitions and management are the top-selling ones in the industry. He is also the founder of the largest listing site for manufactured home communities, MobileHomeParkStore.com. To learn more about Dave’s views on the manufactured home community industry visit www.MobileHomeUniversity.com. This article originally appeared in the Manufactured Housing Review, subscribe for free here.

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