Two-thirds of REALTORS® volunteer in the community each month, nearly twice the rate of the general population.
With a stat like that, it is certain that many of your members are giving back in a big way. You may not know it, because the people doing this kind of altruistic work are often reluctant to seek attention.
REALTOR® associations nationwide have discovered that there are powerful benefits to uncovering these hero-next-door stories and sharing them with the membership, media, and public.
Missouri REALTORS®, for example, has had a Good Neighbor Award program since 2011, and the annual winners receive state-wide media exposure that shows how REALTORS® impact lives. “It pays dividends to our association that leaders across Missouri see how much REALTORS® are giving back in their community,” says CEO John Sebree, RCE. “When key decision-makers see the difference our members are making, they [are more likely to] assist in key legislative or regulatory changes or as a partner for economic development.”
The National Association of REALTORS®—and many state and local associations—run an annual Good Neighbor Awards program, which identifies REALTORS® who make an extraordinary impact through community service, then rewards them with publicity and grant money to support the charitable cause. The stories are inspiring, whether or not the volunteer work is related to real estate or housing.
Typically, the programs run like this: There is a call for nominations, a panel of 2 to 5 judges who select the winner or winners, an announcement of the winner, and publicity about the winner’s impact on the community, and a grant donated to the charitable cause.
NAR provides a comprehensive tool kit (nar.realtor/gna) to make it turnkey easy. The kit includes the entry form, judging criteria, score sheets, publicity ideas, and more to help you find and recognize REALTORS® who are making a difference without draining a lot of staff time or association funds.
An association Good Neighbor Award program shows members that the association values their impact on the community, it identifies potential future leaders of the association, and it fulfills an NAR core standard for community investment and involvement.
If you are already recognizing REALTORS® for volunteer work, consider timing your program so that you can nominate your winners for NAR’s Good Neighbor Awards each May.
If you don’t already seek out members who are making a difference, check out NAR’s tool kit at nar.realtor/GNA to see how easy it can be.
Questions about how and why to start your own Good Neighbor Awards program? Contact me at email@example.com or 312-329-8296.