In New Jersey, our association is focused on four prongs of service: powerful advocacy services to protect member businesses and property ownership; best-in-class education to build credibility; access to market and industry data to complement our membership’s expertise; and providing standardized forms and contracts to lower risk.
While each focus is equally as important to our overall vitality, our industry is hugely affected by legislative advocacy. But we cannot do it alone.
Every day, our elected officials make decisions that have reverberating effects on the way our members do their business. Through many channels of support, the REALTOR® Party works to advocate for legislators and legislation that supports REALTOR® interests. No matter how much effort our capable staff and leadership put into advocating for home ownership and private property rights, if we are unable to leverage the combined voice of our membership, we fall short.
The challenge lies in encouraging members to become involved and invested at any level. Our members have to understand how their personal involvement can truly make a difference and act as a catalyst for change around them.
There are a few ways we mobilize members into action and increase engagement from an advocacy perspective. We’ve seen great benefit from the Broker Involvement Program. We send calls to action out about only the most important issues so we don’t dilute our messages. When a call is issued, those brokers who have signed up with the Broker Involvement Program have the call directly distributed to their agents. Response rates for broker calls have been historically higher when the call is sent from the broker personally.
When a member has been particularly interested in participating in government, we encourage him or her to be a voice for their colleagues. There are many tools on the REALTOR® Party that help members encourage their fellow REALTORS® to be involved. They can download the REALTOR® Party app and send e-mails to their offices about it, post promotional banners on their websites or use REALTOR® Party graphics and logos in marketing materials.
Every year our association hosts a lobbying day at our state capitol where we invite our members and every member of the state Legislature to a networking breakfast. Here, our members are able to speak with the legislators who represent their districts, talk about issues that are important to REALTORS®, and show that we are a committed, involved group that cares about what happens in state government.
Our communication about the value of being involved in local, state, and national government must be meaningful and authentic to be effective. If our members are able to see how our involvement directly affects their businesses, saves them money, and increases their client lists through our advocacy efforts, investing in the REALTOR® Party will be a much easier sell.
Converting just one member into a believer of affecting real change through advocacy and legislation is a great success. Every new voice we add to the REALTOR® Party increases our strength at every level of government.