Cut to the Core

How small associations can complete Core Standards requirements successfully.

As a condition of membership in the National Association of REALTORS®, local, state, and territorial associations of REALTORS® must meet NAR’s Organizational Alignment Core Standards, a set of requirements that fall into six categories: code of ethics, advocacy, consumer outreach, unification efforts and support of the REALTOR® organization, technology, and financial solvency. Associations must certify compliance each calendar year or be subject to revocation of their charter.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, many associations were forced to restructure their operations quickly, while keeping their focus on completing Core Standards. NAR’s leadership approved a recommendation to suspend Section 2, Standard E requirements that associations support REALTOR® Party’s tripartite “Vote–Act-Invest” goals, and perform at least two initiatives or activities furthering or supporting each of the three goals annually.

NAR also suspended Section 3 requirements that every association demonstrate participation in at least four meaningful consumer engagement activities annually, including at least two activities demonstrating how the association is the “Voice for Real Estate” in its market, and at least two activities demonstrating the association’s involvement and/or investment in the community.

Still wish to meet the waived standards?

Get ideas, read or download a compilation of Vote-Act-Invest and Consumer Outreach programs and activities implemented by local and state associations in a social distancing environment.

Organizing Efforts

As an association executive of small associations for more than 25 years, my experience with Core Standards has evolved. I learned that collecting information throughout the year in digital and paper files to upload helps organize efforts to satisfy Core Standards requirements. One difference that small associations face is that the AE is likely the only staffer handling these initiatives and the related paperwork.

At the start of each fiscal year, I print a copy of what’s required, make a checklist, and plan the year ahead around that checklist. I ensure that Core Standards requirements are satisfied prior to placing other association events on the calendar. Constant Contact helps me schedule and arrange communications to members and the media; work can be completed in advance and post-dated for later delivery.

Keep a winning attitude as you move through the process.

Consumer outreach can be one of the more difficult Core Standards to complete if you haven't traditionally focused on the communities you serve. Think outside the box to stress the importance of what we—the REALTOR® family and membership—do for the community.

“For our consumer outreach portion of the Core Standards, we place a full-page advertisement each month in our local Home Finder magazine and have been using NAR’s resources to promote voting and the census,” says Tina Franklin, executive officer of the Kankakee-Iroquois-Ford Association of REALTORS® in Illinois. “We have also used some of Illinois REALTORS®’ resources and promote why it’s important to use a REALTOR®.”

Many resources are available through NAR to help small associations succeed. “As an AE of a small association, you should not feel like you’re on an island by yourself with Core Standards,” says Donna Stone, RCE, ePRO, AE of the Jefferson City Area Board of REALTORS® in Missouri. “Engage your leadership in the process so they understand what needs to be accomplished for the year. Also, you always have the support of fellow association executives,and AEI Year-Round on Facebook is a great sounding board.”

Need Assistance with Core Standards?

Access NAR's resources for assistance with Core Standards

Remember to keep a winning attitude as you move through the process, and don’t be afraid to reach out for help. We can all succeed together. 

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