Bill Redfern understands the importance of giving back to the community. The President and CEO of A Buyer’s Choice Home Inspections knew he wanted to create a culture of giving among franchise partners when he first founded and began franchising the business more than 10 years ago.
Since then, Redfern and the rest of the A Buyer’s Choice home office have always been conscientious to instill in employees the benefits of being community-minded entrepreneurs.
In early 2014, Redfern sat down with stakeholders and franchise partners to discuss directing the company’s charitable efforts towards a specific cause. After several ideas were brought to the table, Redfern suggested Autism Speaks, an international organization dedicated to advancing autism research and supporting individuals and families affected by the disorder, and a charity that’s close to home for Redfern and his family.
“I have two children who are on the autism spectrum. Through my own exposure to various autism organizations, I was aware of them and aware of some of the good work they do in terms of educating Canadians about autism spectrum disorder and advocating for more acceptance for those impacted throughout the country.”
Raising awareness for autism in Canada, where one in 16 families are affected, is significant for Redfern and the entire A Buyer’s Choice team, especially because they can advocate for the charity at a local level. Redfern commends Autism Speaks for hosting grassroots initiatives like the Autism Speaks Walk, which allows employees to give back in the communities where they live and work by participating in the walk or contributing in various other ways, like pitching a tent, firing up the barbeque, or supplying food for walkers.
With franchisees eager to participate annually in Autism Speaks Walks across the country, the A Buyer’s Choice team decided to find another way to give back, so employees at all levels of the organization can contribute.
The three-level support structure, as Redfern describes it, includes franchise partners who work directly with consumers, regional master franchisors who own larger territories and manage franchise partners in these regions, and home office. When a franchise partner provides a home inspection service to a consumer, he or she can make a small monetary contribution to Autism Speaks’ advocacy and research initiatives. This contribution will then be matched by the regional master franchisors and home office.
The system allows franchisees to decide whether they want to participate. Fortunately for Redfern, franchisee participation is higher than he could have ever expected.
“I find they’re fantastically enthusiastic – a very, very high percentile of the Canadian franchisees are participating, and beyond that, there’s a good percentage who actually go out in person and participate in the walk. It’s a very good effort to get behind, and our folks have really embraced it.”
A Buyer’s Choice has increased the funds raised for Autism Speaks each of the past three years, but it’s the initiatives that can’t be measured that Redfern appreciates the most. He describes A Buyer’s Choice Canadian franchisees as salt-of-the-earth people.
“We get an awful lot of feel-good participation, just by people showing up and helping others – they roll up their sleeves, and they get involved.” He also praises “the on-site, in-person, grassroots effort” of the company’s franchisees for helping to encourage and grow participation within the organization, in addition to raising awareness for autism across Canada.
It is these in-person charitable efforts that are at the heart of A Buyer’s Choice commitment to giving back. As a company focused on ensuring home owners receive comprehensive home inspections and quality service, every franchise partner is committed to and excited about helping the community where their franchise is located.
“We want to be part of the community,” notes Redfern.
With no plans of slowing down, Redfern sees a bright future for the partnership between A Buyer’s Choice and Autism Speaks. He hopes to see continued involvement from franchise partners, and is already looking into developing future initiatives that will enhance autism awareness throughout the country, such as employing adults directly affected by autism.
Redfern says the entire A Buyer’s Choice team is dedicated to helping children and adults lead happy and healthy lives. “Autism Speaks is an amazing advocate for autism and we think it’s important to support its mission and help to increase autism awareness in our own communities.”