What's the difference between the Good Neighbor Awards and Volunteering Works?
The Good Neighbor Awards recognize REALTORS for their accomplishments in community service. Volunteering Works is designed to help new and growing community service efforts grow by providing seed money and expert mentoring. Learn more about the Volunteering Works program.
Who can nominate a Good Neighbor?
Anyone can nominate a Good Neighbor—common examples include the nominee's broker, a colleague, a spouse, or a representative from the charity or real estate board. Many candidates nominate themselves. The nominee, however, must be a REALTOR®, that is, a current member in good standing of the local REALTOR® association and NAR.
Can I nominate myself?
Yes, in fact, we encourage you to. Though some people aren't comfortable "selling" themselves, you are uniquely qualified to share the details of your experience with us. If you do nominate yourself, we encourage you to provide testimonial letters from people who are familiar with your volunteer work--these testimonials usually speak in more glowing terms than you would use to describe yourself and provide insight into how your work is viewed by others.
Can a group be nominated?
Though there are plenty of deserving groups, this award is specifically intended to recognize individual REALTORS®. The only exception would be if two people—such as husband and wife or mother and daughter—work together equally on a project. If their work truly cannot be separated, they can be nominated together, assuming both are REALTORS®. However, keep in mind that the judges will be comparing them with individual candidates. Generally, it is advisable to designate one person as the nominee if possible.
Am I eligible if I volunteer for more than one organization?
Absolutely. It is not uncommon for volunteers to be involved in more than one nonprofit. If you would like your application to be considered based on your work with several charities, include the information on the application (attach additional pages if necessary). One word of caution: Quality is more important than quantity. Generally, the more organizations you include, the harder it is for judges to determine the impact you have made, so it's often better to limit the details to only the organizations for which you have made a significant impact.
How can I make my application stand out?
The essay and the testimonial letters are often the most valuable portions of the application for the judges. The following tips provide insight into what the judges are looking for and can help you submit the most effective essay:
1. Be as specific as possible. For example, give a close estimate of the number of hours volunteered, the number of people the nominee helped, the number of dollars raised, etc. Vague words like "countless" "incalculable" or even "thousands" are of very little use to the judges.
2. Don't rely on adjectives. Superlatives like "kindest", "most dedicated", "most generous"—though certainly true—don't help the judges evaluate a nominee's achievements. Instead, describe something the nominee did that illustrates how kind or dedicated he or she is.
3. Don't be modest. If you are uncomfortable talking about your achievements, have someone else write the essay portion for you and/or provide detailed testimonials. Testimonials from someone you've helped are particularly valuable.
4. The best way to illustrate the impact you have made is to describe results. What happened as a result of you being a volunteer? How are the community, or the people you helped, better off because you were there? What did you do for the nonprofit that was different, new or better than what existed before?
5. Focus on your accomplishments, not the organization's in general. The judges need to evaluate the impact that the nominee has personally made. Don't make the mistake of only emphasizing how much good the organization has done; instead, focus on what the nominee has done for the organization.
6. Leadership is part of the judging criteria. What did you do to lead others or set an example? Did you create a new program? Motivate more people to volunteer? Find a new way to raise money? Persuade your nonprofit to do something new or different that turned out well?
Who should write a testimonial letter?
Testimonial letters should be from people who have knowledge about your volunteer work. The most effective letters are usually from someone you (or your nonprofit) has helped, even if they do not know you personally. Other examples of writers include fellow volunteers, someone from the nonprofit (or partner nonprofits), friends and family, state or local real estate board staff, members of the community, or community leaders.
When do the winners get announced?
Ten finalists are named early September The five winners and five honorable mentions are announced in October.
What do the winners receive?
Five winners will each receive a $10,000 grant for their charity, national and local publicity through REALTOR® Magazine and many other print and online publications, travel expenses for the winner and a guest to attend the REALTORS® Conference & Expo, a custom crystal trophy, and much more. In addition, five honorable mentions will each receive $2,500 grants.
Can I fax or e-mail my application?
No, nominations must be received through our online application by the specified deadline.
Please contact Sara Geimer, Good Neighbor Awards Program Manager, at 312-329-8296, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Good Neighbor Awards page.