How You Can Help Bring Peace on Earth

Public discourse continues to deteriorate into name calling and “us” vs. “them” categorization. But, unfortunately, we are often guilty of this behavior ourselves. Even as we walk past banners that say “Peace” and “Hope” and “Joy”, those sentiments often feel trite and unreachable. Mostly because of other people. 

But, what if we could be different? What if, this holiday season, we committed to a cease fire on dehumanizing each other and, for just a couple of weeks, worked to be civil. I wish this were as easy as simply wishing it to happen, but it is much more difficult than showing the Charlie Brown Christmas Special in the clubhouse.

According to Institute for Civility in Government, civility is “claiming and caring for one’s identity, needs, and beliefs without degrading someone else’s in the process… Civility is the hard work of staying present even with those with whom we have deep-rooted and fierce disagreements.”  As you are well aware, there are people in your office, on your property, in your family, with whom civility does not come easily.  But no one else can be civil for you, so why not start with the one person you can actually change—you.


Here’s the challenge—

•Refuse to refer to anyone else in a way that dehumanizes them—in person or in conversation with others.

•Refuse to degrade anyone else’s identity, needs, or beliefs.

•Find areas of agreement and connection and celebrate that.

•Ask questions and genuinely work to understand a viewpoint other than your own. 

While it may not bring peace to the whole earth, it may bring peace to those in your circle of influence and it will bring peace to you.


From all of us at CARES, 

Merry Christmas and Peace on Earth!

Creating Space For Community

I was recently in a conversation with a financial planner from South Carolina. We were talking about how people connect and she shared with me the unusual whim that had dramatically improved the sense of community in her office building. This is the kind of thing that piques my interest so I was all ears. However, I initially thought I must have misunderstood when she started to explain.  

Pygmy Goats. Yep, that’s right. Pygmy goats helped bring people together. It seems there was some unused space outside her building that she decided to renovate. She has an eye for design and had ideas to beautify the area with benches, shrubs and flowers. Until she saw some pygmy goats and decided she needed to have them. Initially she thought she’d bring them home, but after that idea was vetoed by her family, she immediately thought of the space outside her office building. 

She shared how the goats have become a draw for employees, clients and passersby. Staff members and clients bring family to work just to be around the goats. Breaks and lunches find men and women in formal business attire from around the area gathering to relax and hang out with the goats. Friendships are formed. Stress is relieved. Community is enhanced.

What might that look like in our communities? I’m talking beyond the obvious pool, clubhouse or exercise room. How can we creatively use our space to draw people together? How might they bring potential new residents to our property while enhancing community for our current residents? We’d love to hear your ideas!

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Would you like more information about the CARES Program and what we offer? Visit our website today. You can also follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

Know Your Residents

Know Your Residents

Catering to the needs of your resident demographics is essential to attracting and retaining residents. 

Neither of these statements is particularly revolutionary. The concept is so basic, it hardly needs repeating. Only, its not quite as simple as it sounds. Particularly the second statement. Wooing a prospect is a short-term process that provides a very tangible result. Whereas, on the other hand, retaining a resident is a long-term project that includes any number of variables.

Getting to know a prospect well enough to provide personalized service should be a primary focus for any leasing staff. But that same prospect may become quickly disengaged if they find interaction as a resident is less focused than the attention they received before they moved in. Which is why multifamily blogger Jennifer Brownhill asserts that “building a sense of community is essential.“ 

At CARES, we’ve seen that community building is as much art as science. It involves gathering and analyzing data, but also relational connection mixed with creativity and intuition. It begins with truly listening and observing. It means trying different things and employing multiple methods of communication to address the preferences of different demographics. 

We know it can be overwhelming to focus on both of those statements and we’d love to come alongside to help build a sense of community that will help the bottom line as it enhances the experience of your residents.

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Would you like more information about the CARES Program and what we offer? Visit our website today. You can also follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

Are You Good Enough?

I remember the disappointment of discovering that “Fair Trade” was a horribly low standard. All this time I’d thought I was doing a good thing but I hadn’t really done my homework.

Our millennial residents are generally much savvier about issues of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and they’re drawn toward organizations who are doing it well.  According to the 2015 Cone Communications study 91% of millennials would switch brands to one that is associated with a good cause, given similar price and quality.  So what does that mean? Certainly, giving of your money is valuable—particularly if residents have an opportunity to participate as well. However, true CSR is an ongoing way of doing business that enhances the lives of employees, residents and the surrounding community.

Over the years I’ve seen numerous examples of CSR done well in multifamily settings. From an ongoing relationship with the Boys and Girls club that connected kids with mentors and provided space for celebrations and training to providing housing for families of cancer patients to employing and housing homeless individuals through programs like Shelters to Shutters

At CARES, CSR has been a part of our DNA since inception. Not only do we provide community connections through visits and social activities. We can also help involve residents in doing good for each other, the neighborhood, and the community. What are you waiting for? Contact us to begin the discussion about the good we could do together.

Would you like more information about the CARES Program and what we offer? Visit our website today. You can also follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

The Questions of Good Community

I recently attended a wine and cheese night for a non-profit I support. Most of the attendees were strangers to me, but I figured we already had a number of things in common so conversation would flow somewhat naturally. I could not have been more wrong. On the bright side, there were very few awkward silences. The down side was the fact that the lack of silence was due to non-stop talking from the people I met. In retrospect, I’m not sure I was asked one question the entire evening. We are losing the art of conversation, and our connections to each other are suffering as a result.

It's time for summer pool parties, barbecues, outdoor movie nights and other resident gatherings. These can be strategic opportunities to get residents connecting and building a sense of community. However, while good food, loud music and a stocked bar may attract people, they are not enough to create more substantial connections; the sense of being known.

Krista Tippett--who’s podcast, On Being, is characterized by insightful conversations with a wide range of individuals--believes good questions can change a life. She points out that the answers we get are mirrors of our questions. Generous, open-hearted questions elicit generous, open-hearted responses. Thoughtful questions can diffuse tense situations (“What does that word mean to you?”) and positive questions can bring out joy and hopefulness (“What are you doing when you feel the most alive?”).

At CARES, we are always working to be better question-askers because we know the right question can build bridges, open hearts and empower. What questions have you found to be the most powerful in making connections with others? 

Would you like more information about the CARES Program and what we offer? Visit our website today. You can also follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

Engaging Introverts in Community

I‘m an introvert and, although I like the idea of community, it also makes me nervous. Even though I am socially adept, personable and confident (if I do say so myself), I’m not likely to show up at a large community event by myself. On the other hand, if I don’t feel connected in my community its not difficult to consider moving somewhere else. I know I’m not alone in this and I’m often surprised how unaware extroverts are of others who aren’t like them. 

What we know through the data is that a sense of community is an extremely high value for our residents and influences their decision to renew. But what a “sense of community’ means is less clear. And, the truth is that much of our community building activities are aimed at extroverts (or, include enough alcohol to increase extroverted tendencies). What we also know is that connectedness is important for emotional, mental and physical health regardless of introversion or extroversion. So, how do we tap into this often-overlooked demographic and increase their genuine sense of community?

The first thing to understand is that introversion (like extroversion) is more complex than once thought. Current theory suggests four types of introversion, social, thinking, anxious and restrained. This means no one strategy will meet the needs of all introverts. Here are some ideas to increase engagement:

  1. Don’t assume more reserved residents don’t desire engagement—a friendly face and a personal invitation to community events can help break the ice.
  2. When planning community calendars, seek out the input of introverts on your staff. Ask them what might entice them to attend.
  3. Offer a variety of options for connecting that include both quieter and higher energy events (louder doesn’t always mean more fun), large and small group events (deeper connections can be easier to form in smaller gatherings), and, if possible, have designated people at events who can help connect introverts to smaller groups of conversation. 

In our CARES Program we specialize in personal connection and customizing solutions to the audience. We’d love to discuss how we could help your community diversify its offerings.

Would you like more information about the CARES Program and what we offer? Visit our website today. You can also follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

Creating Communities of Engagement

Last week a millennial woman shared with me that she didn’t own a smartphone. To be honest, I didn’t know you could even buy a flip phone anymore, but she retrieved it from her purse to confirm this counter-cultural reality. She shared the freedom of using her phone to take phone calls and nothing else. That reality felt both intriguing and terrifying to me. While I know I’m too tied to my electronic devices, I wondered if there might be a less drastic way to regain some control. 

Adam Alter, professor of marketing and psychology at New York University, suggests that learning when to turn off our devices or creating “stopping cues” can help us live happier, more engaged lives. Not bringing our phones to bed or refusing to bring them to the dinner table can be great ways to untether ourselves from some of the negative effects of constant engagement with people who are not in front of us. 

Our commitment at CARES is helping replace screen time with real face time. Not because technology is bad, but because we need some help setting boundaries that will increase our mental, emotional and physical health. As research continues to uncover that increased screen time correlates to increased feelings of isolation, depression and unhappiness, we will have to be intentional about disconnecting and engaging in more face-to-face interactions. Contact us to see how we might work with you to create communities of real engagement.  

Would you like more information about the CARES Program and what we offer? Visit our website today. You can also follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

Healthcare and Multifamily Strategies

Healthcare in America continues to be a hot topic. Don’t worry, I’m not going to tackle it here. Except to suggest that multifamily environments could be as effective as diet and exercise in the fight for wellness and longevity. Ridiculous?  Not according to psychologist Susan Pinker. Her research has uncovered a hidden and inexpensive strategy that is a more accurate predictor of health and a long life than abstaining from tobacco or alcohol—face-to-face interactions. That’s right, frequent social encounters, intimacy and support networks work like a vaccine in the body to build resiliency and protect us from disease.

And, no, you can’t just connect via text or email. In-person interaction is the key. But even if you’re a strong introvert, you needn’t worry—the interactions can be short and even wordless. A quick smile or hello can release some of the same chemicals in the brain.

The bottom line is that increased social contact actually makes healthier, happier residents. Who knew that intentionally creating space for our residents to meaningfully connect could make so much social, physiological and financial sense! 

For nearly 15 years, the CARES Program has been working in conjunction with the multifamily industry to engage with residents and help foster healthy communities. For more information or for some ideas you can implement on your own, visit our Pinterest boards.

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Would you like more information about the CARES Program and what we offer? Visit our website today. You can also follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

The Hidden Key to Renewal Success

Earlier this week I attempted to take my paddle board out on a day with a high wave advisory.  It was my day off, I was committed to this activity and was not to be dissuaded by a little thing like weather. This was not a good decision. Thirty minutes later, after being tossed around by waves, humiliating myself in public and losing my sunglasses to the sea, I returned to the shore with a fairly sizable hole in my board. Fixing holes in a fiberglass board is not in my skill set, but fortunately, I have a neighbor who is an expert. As I returned home, my neighbor was outside and I asked if he’d be willing to help me with my board in exchange for me babysitting his two-year old. Problem solved. 

The key to this exchange was both friendship and proximity. It would take a lot for me to relocate, with this kind of community available to me. And, I’m not alone in feeling this way. At CARES, we’ve long known the connection between friends on property and renewal highlighted in Multifamily Insider. That’s one of the reasons we are so passionate about connecting residents. 

More than half of apartment residents (53%) don’t have a single friend who lives on property. Upping their on-property number of friends to just one, increases the likelihood to renew by almost 10% (from 29% to 38%)! And greater numbers of friends continue to increase the payoff. Certainly, amenities, customer service, and speedy service request completion affect how your resident feels about their experience, but we may be overlooking a hidden key to success—the other residents. Contact us to get started enhancing community today!

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Would you like more information about the CARES Program and what we offer? Visit our website today. You can also follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.