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Online Tool, Strategic Support, Boost RPAC Fundraising

April 30, 2014

NAR Program Coming Soon to Local Associations May Double Contributions

State and local REALTOR® associations have become experts at the RPAC fundraiser over the years. From country club costume parties to boat cruises to Ms. RPAC men-in-drag comedy shows, attracting members to fun events to focus their attention on a serious topic works.

However, the National Association of REALTORS® has found that a growing segment of members wants a simple online solution to RPAC contributions, and associations want to appeal to a wider membership audience. The solution was developed by NAR three years ago and will be coming to every REALTOR® association soon.

The NAR Online Fundraising Program is a combination of a software solution and personal marketing, branding, design, and tech staff support for electronic RPAC solicitations. Available only to state REALTOR® associations for the past few years, plans are to roll it out to local associations, as well. The online system is fully automated and available at no cost.

Laura Camp, NAR’s manager of RPAC online fundraising, has been bringing states on board with the program one at a time; nearly all state associations are now participating. RPAC dollars raised online have doubled since the program began in 2011, and the number of members contributing online has grown to nearly 5,400.

The first year an association uses the online fundraising program, Camp and her team do all the heavy lifting. They implement the system, manage all the technology, and, working with the association, develop a strategy and timeline. From the association’s data, they create the target lists. The team also sets up the bank accounts, establishes branding, creates donation forms, and writes the e-mail copy.

Kristin Miller, RPAC manager of the North Carolina Association of REALTORS®, works closely with her state’s 61 local associations to use the RPAC Online Fundraising Program to its best advantage.

“Laura and her team provide us with messaging that is already tailored to various investor segments within North Carolina, but we’re finding that solicitation is most effective when it comes from a fellow member, someone familiar, like the president of your local association. So we go in and further customize our messages and our timing strategies,” Miller says.

In Colorado, Government Affairs Manager Jaclyn Dearien reports that her state’s RPAC participation rates, which historically have been lower than its annual RPAC goals, have been boosted significantly by the online investment program.

“Offering first-time investor incentives like a mini iPad or a hotel stay has been a great way to get their attention,” Dearien says. “The hope is that the good feeling that comes with that initial investment makes it an easy habit to form.”
In 2013, Colorado’s second year with the online program, the group attracted nearly 70 new RPAC investors.

Kristen Anderson, governmental affairs director of the 4,000-member Nebraska Association of REALTORS®, is an early adopter of the online RPAC fundraising system.

“I don’t have expertise in graphic design or marketing—or technology, for that matter.  I used to dread putting together RPAC solicitation mailers. The online program not only attracts more fundraising dollars than we ever thought possible,” she says, “but it frees me up to concentrate on major investors—and the rest of my job.”

RPAC Software Benefits State and Local Associations

  • All associations can see the same RPAC data in real time.
  • Membership can be segmented for targeted e-mails.
  • Federal and state compliance reporting requirements are met.
  • RPAC funds can be collected, tracked, and received with one system.
  • System syncs with NRDS, REALTORÆ Party Hub, and e-commerce solutions.
  • Membership recognition programs reports include contributor status.
  • Detailed, accurate, and up-to-date pictures are provided of individual members and their related activities.
  • Receipts are automatically generated.
  • Optional fundraising and event and campaign management modules are available.
  • Voter files are integrated.
  • Associations can use the software for free.

For more information contact Laura Camp, e-PRO®, manager, RPAC Participation Fundraising, 202-383-7531, lcamp@realtors.org.