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My REALTOR® Party: Young Members Promote Political Involvement

August 20, 2012

The Young Professionals Network of the Greater Nashville Association of REALTORS® proves that the industry’s youngest members are not just about light-hearted happy hours: They can take on serious issues, raise serious funds, and throw a seriously great party!

In March, this YPN chapter’s RPAC fund-raiser at the prestigious Governor’s Mansion outside Nashville brought together REALTORS® from across the state and raised more than $35,000.

“The YPN chose to host an RPAC fund-raiser because we believe in the REALTOR® Party and what that represents in terms of protecting the real estate profession,” says Andrew Terrell, 2012 GNAR YPN chair, “and we want the entire real estate community to know that we are committed to all that it means to be real estate professionals.”

Strategizing Support

By scheduling the fund-raiser to coincide with the Tennessee Association of REALTORS® Spring Conference and securing support from NAR within 48 hours of requesting funding, GNAR ensured early on that the event would be well supported, and well attended. “NAR’s quick and generous response [also] sent a really strong message of support,” says GNAR Chief Executive Officer Don Klein.

The Tennessee RPAC stepped up to fund much of the event, which was pretty straightforward. However, certain state regulations prohibiting NAR from contributing directly to the state or local association necessitated some creative thinking. “They didn’t say ‘too bad, so sad,’” explains Klein. “They said ‘OK, we can’t write a check to the state or local association for this. What else can we do?’”

Ultimately, NAR wrote a check for $2,100 directly to the catering company, and sent ribbons, balloons, and printed material to make the event especially festive and informative.

Translating Good Times into Great Contributions

Cynthia Shelton, NAR RPAC liaison, was amazed by the phenomenal enthusiasm the event generated, which was channeled into real support. “These young people absolutely get the importance of RPAC. But we also wanted to convey that the more involved they become, and the higher they raise their profile in the community and the industry, the more likely the rest of us will call them with referrals,” Shelton explains. In short, the message to young professionals is: “Come to these fun events—and boost your own bottom line.”

The allure of a networking opportunity isn’t the only reason young professionals were drawn to the event. As NAR Region 4 Vice President Milton Shockley of Greenville, S.C., concedes, “It may be just a little easier to generate this kind of enthusiasm in an election year.” Regardless of whether that was the reason these young folks were so fired up,” Shockley remarks, “it was great for those of us already involved in RPAC to see the excitement of the up-and-coming generation.”

Brian Copeland, a Nashville native and the 2011 national YPN chair, applied a certain amount of friendly peer pressure at the event, calling out his youthful colleagues by name, noting, “I know the market’s tough, but I also know you just closed a deal and have a sizeable commission coming in.”

When the proverbial dust had cleared, the event raised more than $25,000, with an additional $10,000 or more received in pledges that evening. GNAR, YPN, and RPAC are already planning to replicate this great Tennessee success on an annual basis. Who says youth is wasted on the young? 

How to Get an RPAC Fund-Raising Event Grant

RPAC Fund-raising Event Grants of up to $5,000 help state and local associations increase their RPAC fund-raising receipts and RPAC participation. Although participation in the program is subject to your state’s law, approved grants may be used on events and items, such as fund-raising videos; major investor development; and/or RPAC messaging for new member orientations.

To receive a grant, you must commit to forwarding 30 percent of all RPAC funds raised through this year to National RPAC. Visit the Realtor Action Center for more grant requirements, criteria, and applications. Questions? Call 202-383-1191.