In advance of RPAC Appreciation Month last September, which, like everything else, was overshadowed by the global pandemic, the Kentucky REALTORS® (KYR) were faced with finding a way to engage members in RPAC investment without the usual camaraderie generated by in-person fun and games. Inspired by an Easter Egg hunt discussed on a National Association of REALTORS® YPN call earlier in the year, and by the exciting new technology of the 3-D imaging camera, KYR RPAC partnered with its YPN Committee in cooking up a virtual treasure hunt they called “I Spy with My Little YPN.” The week-long event attracted new investment and has paved the way for future member events that will be accessible from the comfort and convenience of home.
Richard Wilson, KYR’s Government Affairs Director, credits Jason R. Scolf, “an extraordinary leader of YPN and RPAC at the state and local level,” with masterminding the event, which kept participants involved and excited over the course of a week in mid-September 2020. “Jason pitched the treasure hunt idea to our Trustees, and they just loved it. It was a perfect solution during the pandemic, when an in-person event would have been out-of-the-question. From that point, it was just a matter of figuring out how to make it happen – YPN found members with current listings whose owners were willing to let their houses be photographed, Jason did all the photography, and a few of us staff members put our heads together regarding marketing and such,” Wilson reports.
Scolf, who currently serves as KYR’s YPN chair, explains that, anticipating a complete shutdown of in-person real estate business in Kentucky, he had recently purchased a Matterport camera. “It’s really cool technology, in that it takes a complete in-the-round image of any given room. Though it started as a necessity, I love using it for all my listings now, whether I ‘need’ to or not, and the treasure hunt concept sprang directly from this new technical ability.”
For a $50 RPAC investment, members were sent a code for the hunt, hosted on KYR’s YPN Facebook page, together with clues and an answer-form link. The five-day contest was situated in five different houses across the state from Monday through Friday, highlighting a variety of locations and housing styles. In each site, roughly twenty items were planted for the virtual tour, ranging from a Tiffany’s box to an RPAC mug, a bottle of local wine, local bourbon, and art prints of local scenes (think Churchill Downs) by a local artist. Each day, one of the ‘hidden’ items was awarded to a lucky participant drawn from a hat, while the RPAC investor with the most clues solved won a Visa gift card; grand prizes were given for the most cumulative answers at the end of the week. All of the items and prizes were donated to the event, and since the overhead was insignificant and the heavy lifting was done by staff and volunteers, KYR was able to maximize its contribution to RPAC. “In the end, that’s what’s important,” says Scolf.
Wilson couldn’t agree more: “Investment in RPAC allows our members to support REALTOR® Champions who understand the issues that REALTORS® value. We are always interested in attracting new investors, and this virtual event definitely opened the eyes of our RPAC Trustees to the possibilities of broader engagement.”
In fact, according to Scolf, the event generated such an enthusiastic response that this year’s RPAC chair wants to do something similar. “Just as we’ve learned by necessity the benefits of virtual meetings, we can see that offering a virtual component even when it’s safe and possible to have an in-person event is essential to keeping everyone engaged; otherwise, we risk losing an important base of people who can’t be present in-person. Our upcoming state convention, for instance, will feature a virtual silent auction. It’s one of those silver linings that’s well worth remembering!”
To learn more about how the Kentucky REALTORS® are promoting investment in RPAC, contact KYR Government Affairs Director Richard Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 859.263.7377. To see a sample day of the I Spy with My Little YPN RPAC treasure hunt, visit https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=awmeDUJ9tfp.