Actionable Roadmap for Local Association Diversity and Inclusion

Incorporating diversity and inclusion can be made easier by taking specific steps and building subsequent actions at your local association, based on your previous diversity and inclusion efforts. This actionable roadmap can help you identify specific actions that will help you research and understand your membership and discover which demographic groups may be underrepresented in your market. Use this roadmap as the first steps to engage your full spectrum of membership, including those potentially underrepresented, through activities and leadership.

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Overview of the Actionable Roadmap

This roadmap is a guide for local associations to plan and identify activities that will identify, engage and mentor leaders representing the diversity of the local community and real estate market.  The guide is not limited to a step-by-step approach, but instead includes broad action areas and a list of possible activities and available resources in each area.  Tools and training for many of these activities are and will be available, however this roadmap is a useful tool for association staff and leaders to reference as associations work to be more inclusive of diversity.

Much of the success of many local associations is based on understanding where the association’s inclusion needs are.  While it is relatively easy to say “our leadership’s diversity does not represent our market” associations get stumped deciding where to start.  Even as an association succeeds in its activities and starts to see increasing engagement and leadership among different groups, it is important to consistently evaluate where you are.  

Step 1: Research & Analysis

Start by asking what demographic groups you are referring to when you discuss inclusion of diversity.  Ask and answer the question – who in our community is not well represented in our decision making about association business and policy?  Who is missing from the table(s)?  Everyone who lives in your community and market area is occupying real estate.  Who worked with them to find their real estate?  Who serves their real estate needs?  

Most often these will be racial and ethnic groups, but you may also want to look at generational groups, LGBTQ+ inclusion, or religious groups.  Then explore data on the demographics of your community, especially the market area your members serve and your board jurisdiction.  The market area data is often widely available, especially when looking at racial and ethnic demographics.  Your county or city government, the census bureau, state government all have this data.  Often you can find it online when searching for information about specific municipalities and counties.  If you can, find out information on any significant changes in demographic makeup – especially new groups or groups that are growing, reflecting new residents of your area.

Second, the demographics of the association’s membership can be obtained through the NAR Insights HUB, which allows the local association’s Point of Entry to access data on the local association’s membership.  Look for percentages of your membership especially relative to population demographic groups in your community.  Data on generations, religion, LGBTQ+ and some other categories are not yet available on the Insights HUB and gaining that information will often be difficult.  

Third, the demographics of your leadership needs to be assessed by observation.  Most associations leadership is fairly well known.  Take this information and identify which population groups are not well represented in your leadership based on the data – does it match your earlier assumptions and information.  

Fourth, identify opportunities for the structure of your existing association staff for DEI efforts. Who on your existing staff will take on or share DEI responsibilities and/or is your association looking to hire a staff member dedicated to DEI.

Taking all this together, the next step in the process is to determine where the mismatch is and where you want to start your activities.  The Actionable Roadmap helps you determine activities that will address the mismatch where you feel your work is needed.

woman shaking hands during community event

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Suggested Resources

Global Alliances

Identify the demographic makeup of your local market areas. Research the organizations in your local community, i.e. global companies, universities, etc. What companies are in your marketplace?

Step 2: Discovery

If the membership is not reflecting the market and one or more demographic groups is not well served by the membership, your activities generally will fall into the Discovery category as you will be identifying who serves that market now, their needs and passion related to real estate, and whether they already are loosely or formally organized. You might also want to help your members learn about the underrepresented groups. In a sense we are always engaged in discovery, and even if your focus is on a later action such as engagement or realizing the benefits of diversity in your leadership, you should consider some ongoing discovery activities.

Goals for discovery should ultimately be to identify those who are serving the underrepresented community, if and where they gather to discuss real estate, the real estate related issues they need action on, their knowledge and experience with the community, and their passions for member education, ethics and advocacy. Once these members are so identified, find ways to build personal relationships between your existing leadership and these members.

Group of diverse businesspeople clapping during a seminar

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Suggested Actions

Host an Implicit Bias Workshop

Host an Implicit Bias Workshop & Discuss How Racism & Bias Can Limit Inclusion of Diversity

Suggested Actions
More

Build Relationships with Members Serving Underrepresented Markets

Identify & Build Relationships with the Real Estate Professionals Serving your Underrepresented or Growing Market Demographics

Suggested Actions
  • Add a link to your local multicultural real estate organizations chapters on your association website.
  • Association Leadership or DEI Committee leadership host roundtable brainstorm meeting as a platform to discuss issues and solutions. 
  • Association Leadership or DEI Committee leadership attend meetings of real estate professionals serving underrepresented or growing markets to learn more.
  • Association Leadership or DEI Committee leadership partner with multicultural organizations as a speaker to share the Association’s goals in spearheading awareness about DEI in the way members conduct their business and in the community.
More

Learn Market Needs from Their Serving Members

Learn your Members Passions, Needs, Issues, and Observations or Knowledge About the Needs of the Markets They Serve.

Suggested Action
  • Survey members to increase understanding of intercultural relations/communications regarding how members identify different cultural groups and how to respectfully engage with members by their needs.
More

Provide Training About Underrepresented Market Areas

Provide Training to General Membership About Serving Underrepresented Demographic Groups in the Market Area

Suggested Actions

More

Include Diversity & Inclusion in Association Strategic Plans

Build in Diversity & Inclusion into your Association’s Strategic Plan

Suggested Action
More
Couple receives keys to first home real estate purchase.

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Learn what Newsday uncovered in one of the most concentrated investigations of discrimination by real estate agents since the enactment of America’s landmark fair housing law.

Read "Long Island Divided"

Step 3: Engage Members Representing Diversity You Desire to Include

If or once you know who is serving that community and you have started building your professional relationships with those serving any part of the community, begin activities designed to engage those members in the association. Engagement is often more successful when you match the activities with the member’s interests and passions. A member concerned about training would best be encouraged to participate in a Professional Development activity and meeting. Similarly, a member expressing concerns about government or a large institution’s impact on real estate might best engage in an advocacy capacity. It is important to seek and engage members who share an interest in the key purposes of the association which are assuring that members are adequately educated to best serve the customer and cooperate with each other, that members adhere to the Code of Ethics and operate ethically, and that the association advocates for property rights, homeownership and our members’ ability to do their work.

Goals for engagement would be greater participation in and taking a leadership role in association activities, meetings and committees. On an individual basis, during discovery you identified members to engage, and with these activities you can evaluate to see if your engagement efforts are producing more engagement for members representing underserved communities.

High angle view of diverse colleagues sharing a snack in office

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Suggested Actions

Recruit Based on Passion and Interest

Suggested Action
  • Recruit members based on their passion, interest, expertise and new perspectives.
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Develop a Pool of Prospective Leaders Reflecting your Market’s Diversity

Suggested Action
  • Encourage Diversity Committee members to also get involved in association policy and other committees (Political Affairs, TREPAC/RPAC, Professional Standards) or fundraising planning committees.
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Focus on Advancing your Association’s Mission, Including Advocacy, Professionalism & Ethics

Focus on Activities and Committees That Advance the Association’s Mission, Including Advocacy, Professionalism & Ethics

Suggested Action
  • Invite all Diversity Committee members to also join Political Affairs Committees, TREPAC/RPAC Committees or Fundraising Planning Committees; and Professional Standards Committees.
More

Include Diversity & Inclusion Programming at New Member Orientation

Communicate Diversity & Inclusion Related Programming at New Member Orientation to Set the Tone for Member Engagement

Suggested Actions
  • Communicate Diversity & Inclusion related programming at New Member Orientation to set the tone for member engagement.
  • Include information on Fairhaven and association DEI resources in all New Member Orientation materials.
More

Be Transparent Regarding Committee & Leadership Selection

Suggested Action
  • Make association bylaws and policies accessible to current members and review during New Member Orientation.
More

Provide Leadership, Discussion & Speaking Opportunities

Provide Opportunities for Leading Activities, Discussions & for Speaking Opportunities

Suggested Actions
More

Engage Members Involved in Local Multicultural Organizations

Engage your leadership to reach out to members involved in local multicultural organizations

Suggested Actions
More

Step 4: Realize the Benefits of Inclusion

In order to Realize the benefits of an inclusive leadership, an association needs to be intentional about mentoring and training new leaders, building off your ongoing efforts to include diversity on your key committees and in your activities. It also requires engagement of the association’s leadership with the leadership and activities of any multicultural or related group of REALTORS® in your area. Many members will engage with a multicultural local group or perhaps a business group, it is important that REALTOR® association leaders are involved in those groups as well. Doing so will help your discovery and engagement efforts as well, but will pay off when leaders of those groups see how they can contribute as REALTOR® leaders.

Goals for these activities are qualitative as well as simply increasing diversity in leadership positions. Encourage you members to evaluate how effective your leadership is at including diversity, encouraging engagement, and mentoring and supporting diverse members seeking leadership.

Straight road in desert at sunset

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Suggested Actions

Mentor & Train Rising Leaders

Identify rising leaders within the association. These rising leaders should be from Advocacy, Education, Professional Standards Committees. Ensure these rising leaders are then paired with seasoned leaders as mentors.

Include diverse members on committees addressing advocacy, ethics and professional development.

Utilize NAR, State and Local Leadership Training

Leadership Week

Leadership Week is where members and associations come together through leadership activities to share their unique perspectives, and work collaboratively to advance the issues and initiatives that push the industry forward and invigorate our communities.

Learn about Leadership Week

Reaching the Summit: REALTOR® L.E.A.D. and NAR Leadership Academy

Part of the AEI Year-Round Virtual Sessions, replay this session to learn how your association can lift up budding leaders and engage your seasoned leaders.

Watch the session

State and Local Leadership Resources

Access tools from NAR to make your volunteer leaders service effective, efficient and enjoyable.

View State & Local Leadership resources

Engage Elected Leadership in Multicultural Organizations

Identify partnership opportunities, events, collaborations with the multicultural organizations where there could be participation or attendance by local board leaders. 

More

Encourage Multicultural Organization Members to Serve in Leadership Roles

By engaging in partnerships with multicultural organizations, developing relationships, and identifying members on both multicultural associations and REALTOR® association to explore serving in leadership roles.

Learn to Lead

Leading with Diversity
  • Get resources and tools for your state and local association as you work to build an association more inclusive of diversity and develop leadership reflecting the diversity of your market area.
At Home With Diversity®
At Home With Diversity® (AHWD) is an NAR certification program designed to present a picture of the changing face of the real estate industry. Since 1998, the At Home With Diversity® program has prepared over 20,000 REALTORS® to work effectively with and within today's increasingly diverse pool of homebuyers.
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Sustain your Diversity & Inclusion Efforts

Evaluate your association’s plan on a yearly basis to review and discuss the accomplishments of the DEI initiatives and include these initiatives in the strategic plan with measurable goals.

By understanding how each activity contributes to increased diversity in your leadership, you will be better able to plan and select the activities that will deliver the best results. While there is no template that works for every association, matching your activities with goals enables progress.

More

Engage Elected Leadership in Multicultural Organizations

Identify partnership opportunities, events, collaborations with the multicultural organizations where there could be participation or attendance by local board leaders.

Discover the Benefits of Engaging with Multicultural Organizations

Benefits of Partnerships: Local Multicultural Real Estate Organizations

Collaborate with a local chapter or board of a multicultural real estate organization.

Find a local, multicultural organization

Directory: Local Multicultural Real Estate Organizations

Find contact information for local boards and chapters, to start a conversation.

Find boards & chapters

More

Additional Resources

Diversity

The REALTOR® commitment to diversity and equality is perhaps the strongest in real estate, going even further than the federal Fair Housing Act.