14 ways to green your office, save energy, and waste less.
From recycling paper to dimming the lights, every association can find simple and cost-effective ways to minimize its impact on the environment, save energy, and become an example for members and the community on how to be more environmentally conscious. Compiled by Carolyn Schwaar
Dump old Appliances.
When you need to purchase new electronic items, make sure they are Energy Star compliant to reduce your power needs and your electricity bill in the long run. Replace that old fridge.
As energy costs rise along with concern for the environment, more REALTORS® are asking for a new kind of listing data from their MLS: information on property energy efficiency and “green” features from Energy Star appliances and high-grade insulation to actual “green” home certifications are being added as categories in MLSs nationwide. Association and MLS executives are working fast to provide this new marketing tool so that members can meet the growing consumer demand.
The one practice that saves Realtor® associations thousands of dollars, leads to legislative victories, enhances members’ image, and benefits local communities is something we all learned in kindergarten—sharing. And ideal role models for how to share are association government affairs directors (GADs) who have formed a tight and mutually beneficial community through exchanging resources and experiences.
By now 2008 is off and running, and regardless of your previous level of experience you’ll undoubtedly need the advice and support of other AEs sometime during the year. No problem. There are always -other AEs who are more than willing to share their experience, materials, research, and information with you. This generosity is the quality I value the most about being a part of the Realtor® association executive community. But how do you get to know the people? How do you begin creating your own professional network?
by Carolyn Schwaar
When Marti Wermager was handed the keys to the Lakes Country Association of Realtors® office, she’ll admit, she was clueless. “The board said it’s a kinda quiet little office, and that I’ll just ‘figure things out,’ ” Wermager says. But she soon found that even her background as a paralegal couldn’t have prepared her for the complexities of association bylaws, MLS rules, and dues record-keeping.
Veteran AEs on planning in uncertain times
Drafting your annual budget has become more challenging in today’s uncertain economy. Even for associations in areas that are not experiencing a real estate market decline, it’s difficult to predict how much the overall economy could affect your income or which types of programs will attract members.
Of course, this isn’t the first time the market has fluctuated or the economy slumped, so RAE caught up with some veteran AEs in the midst of their budgeting processes to ask for advice.
Generally, environmentalists assume that Realtors® would rather pave over a tree than hug it. But Realtor® associations from coast to coast are rapidly changing that misconception, in part by backing environmental legislation—even when their advocacy has no direct correlation to the real estate market.
“We Live Here, Too”
What Young AEs Need
New AEC work group strives to engage next generation of association leaders?
There’s no doubt that young, time-crunched, tech-savvy Realtors® have been having a dramatic impact on associations. They’ve prompted AEs to create products such as RSS news feeds, implement programs such as Realtor® rookie societies, and restructure leadership ladders that make volunteering less time-consuming. But how has the AE community responded to the growing number of younger AEs?
Recruiting a diverse array of members and leaders is a task filled with potential pitfalls that can frustrate your good intentions. But the end result is well worth the effort. After all, diversity in leadership not only builds credibility in a diverse community, but also enables the association to better understand and meet the needs of its diverse membership. So how can associations successfully recruit with an eye toward diversity?
Although Web 2.0, online collaboration, wikis, RSS feeds, social networking, and blogging are the buzz today, association executives have been collaborating and, in effect, blogging and networking online since 1998, way ahead of the curve and the general population, says Saul Klein, CEO of Internet Crusade, the company that runs the AE listserv, AETalk.