Did you realize that some of your members are doing incredible volunteer work to help improve the lives of others? In fact, you may not know, because the people doing this kind of altruistic work are often the least likely to seek attention. But that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve the spotlight.
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. Your members’ volunteer work may range from feeding the homeless to helping people overcome addictions to mentoring disadvantaged children. These stories strike an inspiring chord, whether or not the volunteer work is related to real estate or housing.
The National Association of REALTORS® runs an annual Good Neighbor Awards program—as do many state and local associations (see sidebar)—to identify REALTORS® who are making an extraordinary impact through community service.
Typically, the programs run like this: There is a call for nominations, a panel of two to five judges who select the winner, an announcement of the winner and publicity about the winner’s impact on the community, and a grant award donated to the charitable cause.
NAR provides a comprehensive tool kit to make creating your own local or state Good Neighbor Awards turn-key easy. The kit includes the entry form, judging criteria, judging score sheets, and publicity ideas to help you find and recognize REALTORS® who are making a difference, without draining staff time or association funds.
In fact, this spring, NAR will announce how associations can apply for funding to pay for the grants.
The benefits to your association for spotlighting a Good Neighbor are many, not least of which is that you get to share a little bit of the spotlight and promote REALTORS® as professionals who give back to the community. By seeking out members doing good work, you show that your association values their efforts in the community, even when it’s not related to real estate.
Uncovering the Good Neighbors at your association is inspiring and encouraging to other members and can help you identify potential future leaders.
Plus, Good Neighbor stories create positive content that engages members on social media and generates compelling news to share with local media about how REALTORS® give back to the community.
If you are already recognizing members for their volunteer work in the community, thank you. 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 the members who are making a difference, check out NAR’s tool kit to see how easy it can be.
NAR’s 2018 Good Neighbor Awards
At the national level, five Good Neighbor Award winners each year receive a $10,000 grant for their nonprofits, national publicity, and recognition during NAR’s annual conference. The 2018 deadline is May 4.
How to Launch a Local Good Neighbor Awards Program
Go to nar.realtor/gna. Click on “For Media and AEs” for a full tool kit with everything you will need. Questions about how and why to start? Need a nomination form? Contact Good Neighbor Awards Manager Sara Geimer, email@example.com, 312-329-8296.
Local Good Neighbor–Style Program Examples
The Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS® shines a light on a few of its members who have dedicated their time, talents, and energy to serve in a volunteer leadership capacity in the community though its REALTOR® Heart of the Community Awards. The Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association, the Pinellas REALTOR® Organization, the Portland Metropolitan Association of REALTORS®, and the New Jersey REALTORS® each have their own local Good Neighbor Awards (and there are many more).