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With Age Comes Opportunity

April 1, 2011

From promoting professionalism to protecting the interests of homeowners, REALTOR® associations have a lot to be proud of. So when an anniversary comes up, by all means, celebrate the hard work that has led to an association’s successes.

Keep in mind, though, that anniversary celebrations need not be private affairs. These tributary occasions are the perfect opportunity to spotlight a local association’s attributes and promote its success and longevity to members, clients, and the broader community.

Everyone loves a party

From a low-budget parking lot barbecue to a catered gala, everyone loves a good party. At Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS®, we’re planning an open house at our headquarters this summer to bring together members, vendors, and local residents to celebrate our 90th year. We’ll have food, prizes, and giveaways.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Monmouth County Association of REALTORS® in Tinton Falls, N.J., will throw a black-tie gala for members and local dignitaries to commemorate its 75th anniversary. The association will also be a sponsor of the popular New Jersey Seafood Festival. Sponsoring a community event during your anniversary year is a great way to get extra public exposure.

As different as the events are, each will draw the community together and create buzz.

Tell your story

Consider hiring a professional writer to craft some narratives about the history of housing in your area. Pair these with photos of your region from 50 to 100 years ago, as well as stories from longtime REALTORS®, and pitch them to media outlets. If you print a magazine, devote one issue entirely to the history of your association and real estate in your area. You should also use social media tools, such as Facebook, to share these histories with the widest possible audience.

Taking a multimedia approach, the Portland Metropolitan Association of REALTORS® commemorated its 100th anniversary this year with a video that combined historical photos with interviews that tied its past accomplishments to its current mission.

At Mainstreet, we filmed interviews with seasoned members and posted them online. To further engage them, we drew on suggestions submitted by our 11,000 members to Mainstreet’s blog (which is the primary way we communicate directly with consumers) to put together a series of anniversary-themed posts, featuring “90 real estate tips for consumers.”

Consider asking members to post their own stories and testimonials about your association (or real estate in your area) on your Facebook page, or to submit them for publication on your blog or Web site.

Brand your anniversary

Developing a special brand for your association’s marketing materials is another great way to make the most of your anniversary.

For instance, in 2008, the Chicago Association of REALTORS® turned its inaugural event into a celebration of its 125th anniversary and branded the entire year with a special logo and the theme “Look How Far We’ve Come.” As part of its centennial celebration, the Portland association also created a popular online tool kit for its members featuring a series of anniversary-themed flyers on topics such as property rights advocacy and homeownership.

From then-and-now fact sheets comparing home prices and other market factors between your charter date and today, to timeline flyers that highlight key historical events and association milestones, an anniversary logo can be used virtually anywhere to enhance your message.

Use your anniversary logo on T-shirts, flyers, e-mail signatures, and more to keep your association’s longevity and prosperity front and center.

An anniversary year gives your association a well-deserved occasion to celebrate its successes, but it also provides you with a chance to spotlight its achievements and contributions. So celebrate, yes. But don’t be afraid to commemorate your association’s next big milestone by shouting its praises from the nearest rooftop—or Web site, for that matter.