Borrowing from Obama: What associations can learn from a personalized, multimedia, grassroots campaign
By Kelly Wingard
Regardless of your political persuasion, you have to acknowledge that Barack Obama’s campaign tactics changed politics as -usual. From now on, campaigns will be tailored to reach people where they live—whether online, on the couch, or on the go—with messages targeted to individualized interests. Can REALTOR® associations use these same tactics to rally grassroots support and affect local, state, and national politics? Yes, we can!
Member apathy. It’s what I hear regularly from both veteran and newcomer AEs (not to mention their leadership). The common frustration: “My members don’t get involved, they don’t participate in our programs or classes, and they have the -REALTORS®-Don’t-Read syndrome.”
You want me to do what? You never told me I was supposed to do that! How many times have you said or heard this? When I facilitate strategic planning sessions or leadership training at REALTOR® associations across the country, I hear it frequently. Often, elected leaders are just as unclear about what is expected of them as AEs are about what their elected leaders expect them to be doing.
So much of the strife and discontent that I encounter can be avoided with clearly established and communicated expectations.
Building a successful association hinges on finding volunteers to give their time, energy, and talent. Yet some associations continually struggle to attract volunteers. These days, some fear even asking members who are experiencing a challenging business environment. Here are some new (and some tried-and-true) tips for recruiting volunteers.
When financial and economic times get tough, we concentrate on what value our associations bring to our members. For some, the value proposition is ongoing, drives their strategic thinking, and factors in today’s economy as just another part of the mix. But for many of us, we were caught in a wave of new members, higher membership retention rates, and an eagerness to raise our budgets to match the new revenues. Life was too easy, and for many years, we did not have to face our relevancy.
In my outreach visits, I am increasingly finding that associations and their members are caught up in the whirlwind of social media. There are networking sites for just about any business, hobby, or game—you name it. And it can be fun, but Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter, and many more allow anyone to post about everyone . . . and they’re not always saying nice things. Your association and members may be the subject of posts by fellow members, clients, or even strangers, and never know it.