Say your association is launching a new housing program or lobbying for a rental policy that supports the rights of the property owner. One of your members gets a call from a reporter who’s an acquaintance.
Will your member know what to do?
It’s recommended guidance for all associations to educate their members and board members on how to handle media calls. The “Public Relations” chapter of The Answer Book—a National Association of REALTORS® publication that provides guidance on association governance—suggests:
Establish guidelines for handling media calls and educate members so that they follow them. Encourage members to refer calls to the association office. One of the biggest challenges facing many associations is controlling the flow of messages from the association to the media. When a reporter calls a REALTOR® directly for quotes or information, that REALTOR® might be anxious to help the reporter and to receive publicity, but in such a case, the member should simply refer the call to the local or state association.
“When I worked at the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® in California, if a member was asked to speak on behalf of the association, I always instructed them to reach out to me and our AE to let us know, and we would then figure out the best course of action,” says Spencer High, now media communications manager for the National Association of REALTORS®. Usually, that means giving the interview opportunity to the president, or in some cases the AE, and coordinating a response.