For decades, the Greater Mason City Board of REALTORS® (GMCBOR) has prided itself on involvement in its northern Iowa community. So when the National Association of REALTORS® established its Core Standards in 2014, GMCBOR already had Community Outreach well in hand. To formalize its program, the 82-member association developed a Core Standards Committee and Community Outreach Task Force consisting of a handful of REALTORS® and its one-and-a-half staff members, who have ramped up the group’s already robust tradition of community service to an impressive pitch.
According to GMCBOR Executive Officer Amber Scholl, the key group of individuals who make up the Community Outreach Task Force are in direct contact with the City of Mason City, the local Chamber of Commerce, the Parks Department, the Department of Natural Resources and several local businesses and charitable organizations. They meet with the Core Standards Committee on a monthly basis to implement plans for broad ranging and frequently occurring volunteer opportunities and fundraising events. “We really haven’t changed our community outreach,” explains Scholl, “we’ve just increased it!”
GMCBOR promotes its volunteer opportunities through its website, its Facebook page, with email blasts and direct calls, and in its monthly membership newsletter. The staff and Board of Directors apply for matching-funds grants for various community outreach projects from the REALTOR® Party and the REALTOR® Foundation of Iowa, which has been very generous with its support.
Some charitable partnerships, such as with the local food bank and the Salvation Army, have been important longstanding commitments for GMCBOR, while others have been established more recently, but have captured the hearts of many members. For two years now, for example, Scholl notes, GMCBOR has sponsored projects for My Happy Place, a local non-profit organization that provides room makeovers for local children suffering from illness, disease or emotional distress. “The REALTORS® raise every dollar they use in each project, and then donate their time and talent to paint walls to transform a child’s bedroom. For one project,” adds Scholl, “we raised enough extra money to give gas cards to the child’s family to help offset the cost of traveling to Iowa City for medical treatment.” GMCBOR members can also be found distributing trees with the local power company and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources; participating in Earth Day clean-ups; and delivering hot food to homebound neighbors for Meals-on-Wheels.
REALTORS® and staff who volunteer for these projects or fundraisers proudly wear their blue REALTOR® t-shirts or jackets, and the community is very much aware of the good that REALTORS® are doing, in so many capacities, says Julie McQuaid, 2016 President of the Greater Mason City Board of REALTORS®. Sometimes a charitable organization will contact the GMCBOR for help; in other cases, a REALTOR® will suggest a cause that could benefit from the board’s involvement. “Our members live here, and have family here, and have a reason to be invested in the community beyond the benefit that it brings to their business,” says McQuaid. “This is a group that understands the importance of being a positive influence in the community.”
The community of GMCBOR, itself, is small but thriving, and recently applied for a Placemaking Micro-grant to fund an upcoming community project. “I’m proud to say that every REALTOR® is involved in some way,” says Scholl, who can usually expect attendance of about 20 to 30 people at the monthly membership meetings that feature a variety of interesting speakers. She also notes that the board’s RPAC investment rate “blows the annual goals out of the water,” with nearly 100% participation at about $120 per member. “We’re a small association, so we’re able to be in direct personal contact with everyone,” says Scholl, who credits her leadership team with the success GMCBOR is achieving: “It’s our dedicated Board of Directors who keep the culture of involvement and outreach strong.”
To learn more about how a small board can make a great big impact in its community, contact Amber M. Scholl, Executive Officer of the Greater Mason City Board of REALTORS® at firstname.lastname@example.org or 641-423-1972.