Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Raising the Bar on Political Advocacy

The National Association of REALTORS® has seen dramatic increases in both voluntary member investment and participation in its political advocacy efforts over the past year. At the NAR Board of Directors meeting Monday in Anaheim, Calif., several milestones were announced in political fundraising and member mobilization.

Chris Polychron, NAR’s member mobilization liaison, outlined notable successes in the Broker Involvement Program, in which brokers encourage associates’ participation in NAR calls for action.

According to Polychron, there were 1,000 organizations participating in the Broker Involvement Program three years ago. By the end of November, the number of brokers in the program will exceed 10,000. Thanks to that growth, it now accounts for about 49 percent of all responses to NAR calls for action, he said.

"We know they're making a difference in helping us communicate with Congress,” Polychron said. “We've come a long way in a short time. But in the words of Karen Carpenter, 'We've only just begun.' With your help, we're going to make grassroots history going forward."

The REALTORS® Political Action Committee also reported major achievements in 2011. Fifty-one U.S. states and territories met their fair-share fund-raising goal this year. Additionally, there was a 9 percent increase in major RPAC investors from 2010 to 2011, despite real estate being in the midst of a tough market.

Also, RPAC received more than $20,000 from NAR affiliates and nearly $50,000 from NAR staff. Leslie Rouda Smith, RPAC fund-raising chair, expressed gratitude for the commitment to RPAC among NAR members and staff. "Not only do you invest in RPAC, but you work to make RPAC a priority," she said.

This increase in awareness, involvement, and investment toward NAR advocacy is crucial at a time when home ownership incentives, such as the mortgage interest deduction, are threatened by policymakers and pundits looking for solutions to the federal government’s financial woes.

"No one speaks more for property rights and the American home owner than the National Association of REALTORS®,” RPAC Major Investor Liaison Jim Helsel said at the meeting. “It's up to us to shape the future.”

Source: Brian Summerfield, REALTOR® Magazine

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