Many loan originators will be planning some type of holiday event for their customers and strategic partners, as well as various charities.
Holiday events don’t have to be expensive or time consuming to organize. You can adapt what other originators have done or develop something entirely new.
Here’s what a few loan originators have planned:
Cindy and Geoff Worrell, Franklin American Mortgage, West Wareham, Mass., are known for hosting and supporting a variety of events including food collection, which can be ideal for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. “We have a grocery cart outside our office door that we decorate each month to collect food items for the local food pantry and the Council on Aging,” said Cindy. “We make deliveries each Saturday with the items that are dropped off throughout the week.”
The Worrells also hold a popular toy collection campaign. “We love to shop the day after Thanksgiving to collect fun things for children battling cancer,” said Cindy. They purchase toys and gift cards they distribute to patients at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Pediatric Cancer Center and for families through the Dick Melloni Youth Foundation. In addition, they are involved in a Gingerbread Gala for their local Habitat for Humanity chapter. “We have a beautiful event at a local Marion Music Hall with local choirs, a wine tasting and silent auction, with food donated from local restaurants.”
This year, Beata Bukowski, Forum Mortgage Bancorp (Team Beata Bukowski), Chicago, will help a local soup kitchen prepare special meals for the homeless and underserved for Thanksgiving and again in December. They also organize a charity event, which is usually in December. In the past they have worked with Feed My Hungry Children, which involved preparing food packages for children in West Africa. “We ask everyone to donate according to their ability,” she said.
In addition, Bukowski hosts a Santa Claus party. “We do a breakfast with Santa for all our clients with kids,” she said. “There are cookies and milk, and a professional photographer who takes pictures with Santa and the children.”
Bliss Sawyer, Security Home Mortgage (and Mortgage Marketing Strategies), Orem, Utah, and other loan officers at her company will host an appreciation event for their customers that includes refreshments, a table for kids to write letters to Santa, games, door prizes, photos with Buddy the Elf, and a canned goods collection for donations to the local food bank. “During the food drive, we give away prizes and so we end up with quite a large amount of food to donate,” said Sawyer. “This will be our 5th year to have this event.”
At SWBC Mortgage Corp., Boulder, Colo. Amanda Sessa often hosts client appreciation parties and other gatherings for business partners. She’s also planned more informal get-togethers, such as a “gratitude visit” with Realtors and in December delivers pastries to various offices.
A Few More Ideas
In addition to the above holiday activities, consider the following:
- Partner with a Realtor, builder or other partner and give turkeys away.
- If appropriate, work with strategic partners/others to plan a special Kwanzaa or Hanukah event.
- Arrange for a Christmas tree discount at a local nursery. Invite customers to pick out a tree and enjoy hot cocoa and cider refreshments.
- Have a weekly open house during December.
- Gather a group of originators, Realtors and others to prepare holiday gift packs and greeting cards for military members stationed in other countries.
- Collect winter coats and blankets and deliver them to the homeless in your area.
- Christmas Caroling may seem like an “old fashioned” idea, but it can be a festive way to entertain a neighborhood and strengthen ties with your Realtors, builders and others. You might perform in an area where a new customer recently moved.
- Deliver meals and holiday treats to “shut ins” (working with Meals on Wheels or a similar program).
- Organize a family New Year’s Eve celebration.
This is a busy time of the year for loan originators and their teams, and it’s easy to overlook holiday-related activities. However, it is also an ideal opportunity to recognize customers and strategic partners, socialize at a holiday gathering and give back to the community.