Yesterday’s post on the NAR’s proposed Realtor Party Political Survival Initiative (RPPSI) has generated a fantastic conversation in the comments. Several other Realtors across the country have also penned articles expressing their opinions (see list at the bottom of this post).
In reading these articles, the comments, and the Twitter stream, it has become readily apparent that there is a lot of confusion surrounding this initiative. That is understandable since it’s complicated, polarizing, emotional and there is a looming voting deadline.
People need to understand this thing. I think most agents (if they are even aware of it) want to understand it.
Here is what I would do if I were at NAR
If you believe educating the NAR membership is important, then it is imperative that the NAR and local / state associations make effort to do just that ”“ educate the membership. If I were steering the ship at NAR (and clearly I am not) here are a few things I would consider:
- Put a big giant red button front and center on Realtor.org that links to the information page. Put this page and every page it links to outside of the member login firewall. There is no reason this information should require a log in to be viewed. Sure people can just log in to read it, but the simple fact is, the more steps you require someone to take to see something on the internet, the fewer number of people will actually take those steps. Make it simple, and more people will read the material.
Right now, I see nothing on the home page of Realtor.org that says anything about the Realtor Party Political Survival Initiative.
Here’s how I found it: Go to Realtor.org ”“> Click on the “Association Executives” link. (Stop. How many agents have ever clicked on that link?) ”“> Click on “Read More” under “NAR Announces Political Survival Initiative” ”“> log in ”“> start reading. (Stop. The first thing on this page says, “For AEs”. Where is the “For Agents” page??? Again, many agents will see “For AEs” and think, “Well, this isn’t for me” and they will read no further.)
- Better yet, build a dedicated site for the RPPSI and link the giant red button on Realtor.org to that.
- There is a lot of confusion surrounding this initiative and how it does/does not relate to RPAC. Write a document that clearly defines the purpose of RPPSI and RPAC, and that clearly delineates the differences between them.
- The “Executive Summary” from the NAR Presidential Advisory Group on Political Survival is a great document ”“ but it is 14 pages of single-spaced text. This is hardly a “summary”. Someone needs to summarize this summary into a 1 ”“ 2 page concise overview that people will actually read. Yes, I’ve also read the “talking points” but those don’t seem to really cover the info in the executive summary. Also, the title “Executive Summary” implies that somewhere there exists an even more in-depth document. Where is that document?
- The #RPPSI hashtag for Twitter is a good idea. But how many members are actually on Twitter, and how many of those that are know how to follow a hashtag stream? Put a widget for the hashtag on Realtor.org (or the dedicated RRPSI site). This would allow non-Twitter users to see what is happening there.
- Build a repository of articles members are publishing about this initiative. A simple “Read what members are saying” list of links in a central location would prove beneficial. Don’t be afraid to post “opposing” views, as well as “pro” views.
- Write a blog post on one of NAR’s numerous blogs with a brief overview of the initiative and encourage members to leave their opinions in comments. Don’t hold these comments in moderation (as is typically done on NAR blogs) as that stifles the flow of conversation and discourages people from commenting.
- The slides that were presented at AEI contain good information. But slides without the voice behind the presentation leaves huge potential for misinterpretation. Post a video of the presentation, or at least a transcript. If no video exists, have whoever presented this at AEI (and there is zero indication on the site of who that was) re-create it on video. UPDATE: The slides have been edited since I looked yesterday to add a transcript. I still have no clue who gave this presentation, and the slide deck + transcript is now 31 pages long. Make a video.)
- Include Board of Director’s email and phone numbers on the BoD roster. Members should be encouraged to contact their Directors to express their opinions. Establishing contact with Director’s could go a long way toward “selling” this initiative to the membership. It’s mind-boggling to me that I would have to spend almost two hours trying to Google my states 31 Directors in an attempt to find contact info for them ”“ and I can’t find it for some. If a Director doesn’t want their contact info published so they can be contacted by their “constituents”, well, then they shouldn’t be a Director.
- There is a Political Survival Initiative: Building the REALTOR® Party session scheduled for Midyear at 3:30 ”“ 4:30 on May 11. It may prove beneficial to schedule a second session in case someone has a conflict and can not attend the May 11 session. If this session is truly “interactive” as it is being billed, one hour doesn’t seem long enough.
- Invite Rob Hahn to moderate a panel session on RPPSI at Midyear. Include on the panel people that both support and oppose the initiative.
- Send NAR representatives to Real Estate Bar Camps, YPN, WCR and related events, and to host live “town halls” in multiple locations. Putting a person and a face to the initiative makes it far easier to sell members on the benefits than does publishing reams of “paper” and information.
- Respond to the blog posts, tweets and other “publications” that are already out there, with more certainly to come. There are some fantastic conversations happening in blog post comments. I’ve had comments from Association CEOs, State and Association Presidents, BoD members and the member rank and file all making very salient points about this initiative. I’ve seen the same on other blog posts. I’ve yet to see anything from the NAR, other than the occasional tweet asking people to provide input. The NAR itself should join in on the conversation”¦
That’s a lot of stuff. And there is less than two months before this initiative comes up for a Board of Directors vote on May 14. Obviously not all of this can be done before then, but communication of this initiative is crucial. Please don’t leave that communication to some electronic material stuffed behind a members only firewall, and please don’t assume that most of your one million members will read the occasional blog post and Tweet. It’s imperative for many reasons that this topic be openly discussed and considered by as many members as possible.
It’s not the $40 (though it will be just that to many members). It is the principles behind this, and the apparent shift in the purpose and scope of the NAR, that is important for people to understand. The NAR feels they need this, therefore they need membership support. To get that, it is past time to crank up the communication machine.
Others Opine. Posts about the REALTOR® Party Political Survival Initiative:
Rob Hahn: BREAKING: NAR Launches a Political Party, Risks Its Future
Inman News: NAR floats $40 dues hike for political campaigns
Monika McGillicuddy: The REALTOR® Party Political Survival Initiative
Gene Wunderlich (Active Rain): NAR Realtor Party Political Survival Initiative – A Penny For Your Thoughts.
Matt Fuller: National Association of Realtors Political Survival Initiative?
South Carolina Realtors Association: Open Letter – REALTOR® Political Survival Initiative
Agent Genius: NAR dues going up 50 percent for proposed Political Survival Initiative ”“ Breaking News
Cherokee Association of Realtors: The REALTOR Party Political Survival Initiative
Mike Long: Thoughts on NAR’s Realtor® Party Political Survival Initiative
Kathy Howe: How is NAR’s membership responding to NAR’s Political Party?
Real Estate Industry Watch: NAR plans $40 mandatory political fund fee increase
Steve Hoffacker: Must Read For All Realtors – You Are Being Played By NAR
PA Association of Realtors: NAR announces dues increase for political advocacy
Dulles Area Association of Realtors: REALTOR® PARTY POLITICAL SURVIVAL INITIATIVE AND THE COST TO YOU
Chicago Agent Magazine: NAR to Raise Membership Dues
Russell Shaw (Agent Genius): NAR raises dues, will membership numbers really drop?
J. Phillip Faranda: Why I Will Happily Shell Out the 40 Bucks
Teri Lussier (Bloodhound Blog): It’s the REALTOR Party, you can cry if you want to”¦
NAR Realtor Action Center: The REALTOR® Party Political Survival Initiative: Let Us Hear From You
Rob Hahn: This Way Lies Victory: Fixing NAR’s Political Survival Initiative
If you know of other posts, let me know and I’ll put them in the list.