FPC Recess Talking Points and Resources

Corporate Ally Program FAQs

What is the Corporate Ally Program?

The Corporate Ally Program (CAP) was launched in 2015 as a campaign to raise corporate, soft dollar contributions to protect and promote our mutual business interests and strengthen our industry. The program provides funding for federal, state, and local advocacy campaigns and supports public policies that are important to real estate.

Who can invest in the Corporate Ally Program?

Any corporate entity may invest in the Corporate Ally Program.

Who typically invests in the Corporate Ally Program?

Organizations that invest in the Corporate Ally Program are typically REALTOR® industry partners such as Multiple Listing Services (MLSs), real estate technology vendors, real estate service businesses, NAR business affiliates, NAR vendors, NAR Institutes, Societies and Councils, REALTOR Benefits® Partners, real estate brokerages , title companies, state and local REALTOR® associations and state and local association business affiliates.

How do our Association’s investments in NAR’s soft dollar Political Advocacy Fund apply toward our 2019 NAR RPAC Fundraising Goals? What about our MLS Corporations’ annual investment to the Corporate Ally Program?

Beginning in 2019, all investments of $1,000 or more annually to BOTH the Political Advocacy Fund and the Corporate Ally Program will count toward your state’s overall fundraising receipts and Major Investor goals.

How does recognition for the Corporate Ally Program work? There are five investor recognition levels within the Corporate Ally Program:

  • Sterling R: $1,000 – $2,499 annually
  • Crystal R: $2,500 – $4,999 annually
  • Golden R: $5,000 – $9,999 annually
  • Platinum R: $10,000 – $24,999 annually
  • Platinum Diamond R: $25,000+ annually

Once you are recognized as a Corporate Ally Program investor, you will receive an email from NAR outlining your benefits at your Corporate Ally Program investor level, and your corporation/association will also receive a Corporate Ally Program lapel pin in the mail.

Are there sustaining investment rates for Corporate Ally Program investors like there are for RPAC Major Investor levels?

No, in order to sustain your Corporate Ally Program status annually you should invest at an amount within the range of the Corporate Ally Program investment level you wish to be recognized for each year.

Is the Corporate Ally Program restricted by campaign contribution limits?

No. Issue advocacy campaigns are not subject to federal or state spending limits.

How will my investment be used?

Regardless of how you invest in the Corporate Ally Program, your investment is put to work at all 3 levels to advocate and support issues, candidates or both.

If you choose to invest in the Political Advocacy Fund, 70% of your investment funds NAR’s Opportunity Race Program at the federal level and 30% is used back at the state and local levels to host meet and greets with Congressional candidates in their home districts. To make an investment in the Political Advocacy Fund, make your corporate check payable to “Political Advocacy Fund.”

For Investments to Issues, 50% of your investment will help provide funding for federal issues advocacy campaigns and 50% stays at home to support or defeat state and local REALTOR® Party issues. To make an investment to issues advocacy, make your corporate check payable to “NAR – Issues.”

Are contributions to the Corporate Ally Program tax deductible?

No. Contributions used for political purposes are not tax deductible on your federal income taxes.

What is the difference between soft and hard money?

Soft money is raised from corporations, associations, unions and individuals. Federal candidates cannot accept soft money. There are no limitations on the amount of soft money a corporation or individual can contribute, nor is there any limitation on the amount of soft money an organization can spend. Unlike RPAC, NAR may accept corporate contributions through the Political Advocacy Fund or the Corporate Ally Program, which can then be used to communicate with our membership about a candidate through opportunity races or used for issue advocacy. Hard money has many restrictions on how it is raised and spent and must be fully reported to the Federal Election Commission. Hard money is raised from individuals, who can contribute up to $2,400 directly to a federal candidate per election and $5,000 to a Political Action Committee, like RPAC, per year. RPAC may contribute $5,000 to a federal candidate per election. RPAC may only accept money from individuals.

How do I invest?

To make an investment in the Political Advocacy Fund, make your corporate check payable to “Political Advocacy Fund.”
To make an investment to issues advocacy, make your corporate check payable to “NAR – Issues.” All checks should be sent to:
430 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611

Where can I learn more about the Corporate Ally Program?

To learn more about the Corporate Ally Program, visit www.realtorparty.com/corporateally or contact Allyson Nelson, NAR’s Political Fundraising Manager, at Anelson@realtors.org or (202) 383-1156.

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Corporate Ally Program Talking Points

When speaking with affiliates/non-members

  • It has never been more important for organizations thriving in the real estate industry to invest in REALTOR® Party advocacy through the Corporate Ally Program (CAP).
  • The Corporate Ally Program launched in 2015 to raise corporate, soft dollar contributions to support REALTOR® Party advocacy campaigns from town halls, to state capitals, to Washington, D.C.
  • This corporate, soft dollar fundraising campaign provides a critical revenue source for the issue campaigns REALTORS® wage at all three levels of government to protect our mutual business interests.
  • How can your organization afford NOT to invest? When REALTORS and our industry partners work together, we protect and promote our mutual business interests and strengthen our communities.
  • On a national level, NAR will continue to be the leading advocate for efforts that enabled real estate professionals to benefit from the Section 199A 20 percent pass-through deduction. This allows REALTORS® to expand operations and provide improved services to consumers and potential homebuyers across the country, which also means more work for you.
  • NAR will continue to work with Congress to secure responsible, long-term reform to the National Flood Insurance Program, which is a hot topic in much of the nation.
  • NAR continues to prioritize proposals that provide liquidity and secure a deep and affordable market for creditworthy Americans, all while maintaining an explicit government guarantee.
  • With your support, CAP has the resources to speak for the real estate industry in an engaging, powerful and authentic way.
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Community Planning Grant Evaluation: Opportunity Zones

Self-Evaluation Form

Self-evaluation form must be submitted with request for reimbursement.

As part of our ongoing effort to monitor and improve the effectiveness of our grant program, we ask that you complete this evaluation and return it within 30 days. Please note that failure to return this form in a timely manner will prohibit your association from being awarded future grants.

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Community Planning Grant: Opportunity Zones

2019 Theme: Helping Your Community Make the Most of Opportunity Zones

The Opportunity Zone Community Planning Grant is designed to support association and commercial overlay board efforts to work with public officials and other community leaders exploring ways for your community to make the most of Qualified Opportunity Zones in their Advocacy Territorial Jurisdiction. Thirty grants will be awarded in 2019 for up to $5,000. Application deadline EXTENDED UNTIL SEPTEMBER 30, 2019. Awardees must seek reimbursement from NAR by December 15, 2019.

Questions? Contact Hugh Morris at 202-383-1278.

Grant Specifications & Requirements

Grant may be used to fund:

  • Content/speakers (including honorarium and travel)
  • Materials
  • Tours of Opportunity Zones in your Advocacy Territorial Jurisdiction
  • No more than $1,000 of the grant may be used for food and beverage
  • No more than $1,000 of the grant may be used for a venue

Grant may not be used to fund marketing of Opportunity Zones.

Grant Rules:

  • Events, efforts, and targeted Opportunity Zones must be completed within the Advocacy Territorial Jurisdiction of your association
  • Your effort should have at least two other partners, one of which may be an adjoining local association or commercial overlay board
  • Your effort should have at least one other financially contributing partner
  • Must hold activity and submit for reimbursement on or before December 15, 2019

Grant Reimbursement

OPPORTUNITY ZONE COMMUNITY PLANNING GRANT REIMBURSEMENT FORM
OPPORTUNITY ZONE COMMUNITY PLANNING GRANT EVALUATION FORM

Grants are paid on a reimbursement basis. To receive reimbursement, submit a PDF containing :

    1. A cover sheet listing each expense (vendor and amount) with total at the bottom. All expense documentation should be provided in the same order as listed on cover sheet
    2. Invoices, contracts signed by both parties, receipts
    3. The agenda of your event
    4.  Submission of a completed grant evaluation form

Reimbursements should be emailed to Hugh Morris.

To get the the conversation started within your association and among your partners consider the following:

  • What kind of development does the community need?
  • Is the proper zoning in place?
  • What will the public space look like?
  • Discussion of the public areas within the Opportunity Zone(s).
  • New zoning for the Opportunity Zone to encourage high density/mixed-use development.
  • Discussion of housing (affordable and otherwise) with the Opportunity Zone(s).
  • Discussion of displacement of existing residents/gentrification.
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President’s Circle

The President’s Circle is a group of REALTORS® who contribute directly to REALTOR®-friendly candidates at the federal level. Political Action Committees, like RPAC, can only legally contribute $10,000 per election cycle to a congressional candidate. The President’s Circle Program supports REALTOR® Champions—members of Congress who have made significant achievements in advancing the REALTOR® public policy agenda. The President’s Circle Program allows REALTORS® to contribute beyond RPAC dollars and increase the strength of the REALTOR® voice on Capitol Hill.

Overview

FAQs

View the 2019 President’s Circle Roster. (Updated 10/15/2019)

 View the 2017-2018 Federal Election Summary.

Questions? Contact Avery Walker at 202-383-1268.

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State Key Contact Grant

Purpose:
The State Key Contact Grant will provide resources and consultant expertise to help states create, grow or revise a REALTOR® grasstops advocacy program much like the Federal Political Coordinator program.

 

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Top 10 Things Hill Staffers Hate to Hear

10: But I thought my appointment was with the Senator.
Never indicate that you are disappointed to be meeting with a staff person. On Capitol Hill, having a good relationship with staff can make or break your cause.

9: Here’s some reading material for you – our 300-page annual report.
When meeting with a member of Congress or staff person, try to limit your leave behind materials to one or two pages, and include details on where this information can be located on the Web, if appropriate.

8: How much of a campaign contribution did your boss get to vote against (or for) this bill?
Believe it or not, most staff have no idea who contributed to their boss’ campaigns. Not only is this question insulting, but even if it were accurate, the staff person isn’t likely to know.

7: I assume you know all about HR 1234.
With thousands of bills being introduced during each Congress, no staff person will be able to keep them all straight. Always provide information on the bill title, number, and general provisions.

6: No, I don’t have an appointment, but I promise I’ll only take 30 minutes of your time.
If you weren’t able to get an appointment, it’s OK to stop by, drop off some materials and let them know of your interest in the issue. It is not OK to camp out in their doorway and demand that someone talk to you.

5: No, I don’t really need anything specific.
If you don’t ask for something – a bill co-sponsorship, a congressional record statement, a meeting in the district etc.– staff will wonder why you came by. Updates on your issue are fine, so long as they are accompanied by a request.

4: We have 10 (or more) people in our group.
Congressional offices are tiny. If you have more than 5 people in your group, you’ll be standing out in the hallway. Plus, having so many people talking at once can dilute the impact of your message. Try to limit your group to no more than 5. If you do have a large group, assign a few people (specifically constituents) the responsibility of delivering the message.

3: What you’re telling me can’t be right. I heard Stephen Colbert on the Late Show say otherwise.
Congressional staff, or Members for that matter, won’t lie to you. Sometimes, they may see things differently than you do, but if they say a bill definitely is not going to be considered on the floor, or if there is no such legislation, you should believe them.

2: What do you mean we have to stand in the hall?
See number 4. A request to meet in the hallway is simply an indication of space limitations. Nothing else.

1: No, I don’t represent anyone from your district or committee interest. I just thought you’d be interested in what I have to say.
Members are elected to represent their constituents. Period. If you are not their constituent or you are not connected to their constituents, you are not very relevant to them. Your time is always best spent working with your own elected officials and turning them into advocates for your cause.

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The SPIT Technique

When it comes to your Hill meetings, be prepared to tell a personal story. Explain through a short anecdote or story how the policy issue impacts you directly.  Officials recognize the time it takes to personalize a message and will focus their efforts on those communications. One way to develop your story is to use the “SPIT Technique.”

SPIT is an acronym as follows:

S = Specific:  Be as specific as possible about what the Congressperson can do.  For example, “we would like you to cosponsor a bill” is better than “our practice provides valuable services.”

P = Personal:  Messages that are based on compelling stories have more of an impact. As noted above, think about why this matters to you, as well as specific people you have served.  How did you help them? The overall community? This really helps you focus on the benefits you provide.

I = Informative:  In addition to that personal story, you’ll want to have some valuable information to back it up.  Some of the information you might want to gather includes:

  • Number of people impacted
  • Number of people employed
  • Specifics on programs provided
  • Reach of your work
  • Special materials / services provided that relate to the community

T = Trustworthy:  Finally, your message should suggest that you are trustworthy and the best way to do that is to be clear you’ll follow-up.  This says to the person you’re talking to that you are in this discussion for the long haul.

 

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President’s Circle Program Overview

Joining Presidents’s Circle

1. Contact Avery Walker at awalker@realtors.org and let her know you’d like to join. She will register your information on the Votesane website, and send your welcome email. You must be an RPAC Major Investor in order to join the President’s Circle. If you are a Federal Political Coordinator, let her know your Member of Congress.

2. Once you are registered, use this link to access the website.

3. You will be emailed reminders for “Rounds” throughout the year where you can contribute. All contributions must be complete by September 30 each year.

PRESIDENT’S CIRCLE RECOGNITION AND BENEFITS

President’s Circle members must be RPAC Major Investors, and receive the benefits for their chosen level. They also receive the President’s Circle Conference benefit the year following their first year in the program:

A long-standing tradition of the President’s Circle program is the preeminent President’s Circle Conference, which provides an opportunity to network with NAR’s top political investors and to engage with cutting edge speakers. The 3-day conference is held annually at a top hotel or resort; 3 nights’ hotel accommodations, receptions, most meals, and the full conference program are included in the $495 registration fee for the President’s Circle member and a guest.

Below is a Q&A on the President’s Circle program. Contact Avery Walker at awalker@realtors.org with questions.

PRESIDENT’S CIRCLE FAQs

1. Why is the President’s Circle program important if we already support REALTOR® Champions with RPAC monies?
The REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC) is only legally allowed to contribute a maximum of $10,000 to a Member of Congress every two year election cycle.  While many other PACs also have the resources to “max out” to a Member of Congress with a $10,000 contribution, they do not have the grassroots power that REALTORS® have. Thus the President’s Circle program was developed in 2003 to mobilize President’s Circle members to invest directly in REALTOR® Champions who take the lead on our issues in Congress. NAR lobbyists communicate to the Member of Congress and provide them with a list of everyone who supported their campaign via the President’s Circle. That way the Member knows how much was invested under the “REALTOR® umbrella” in addition to RPAC monies. The President’s Circle is well known on Capitol Hill; Members of Congress inquire how they can receive President’s Circle support!

2. What are the deadlines for President’s Circle investments?
$500 is due by May 31, 2019. The full $2,000 is due by September 30, 2019. For new members of the program, $500 is due upon enrollment to be officially recognized as a President’s Circle member and begin receiving President’s Circle benefits.

3. Since President’s Circle members must be RPAC Major Investors, must they invest in RPAC before they can become a President’s Circle member?
No, you can join the President’s Circle and remain a member in “good standing” as long as you fulfill your RPAC Major Investor amount (minimum $1,000) by the year-end deadline for RPAC.  NOTE: States often set an earlier year-end deadline for RPAC so they will have adequate time to transmit the monies to NAR by the deadline. Please check with your state if you plan to invest in RPAC at the end of the year so your investment will count towards 2019.

4. Do my RPAC investments (Sterling R, Crystal R, etc.) count towards the President’s Circle?
No, the monies allocated towards maintaining the Major Investor portion of your annual recognition go directly to RPAC, whereas the monies invested through the President’s Circle program are directed to the REALTOR® Champions who you have selected.

5. How many opportunities will there be to contribute in 2019?
There will be 4 rounds available in 2019 beginning in January. Members may invest in as few or as many rounds as they like.

6. How do I make my President’s Circle investments?
President’s Circle members make their contributions through a website that collects the monies and disseminates them to the appropriate Member of Congress that can be found here: nar.votesane.com.

7. Is it possible to contribute to President’s Circle other than the times we receive President’s Circle email solicitations?
Yes. A President’s Circle member may contribute at any time by going to the REALTOR® Party website, and selecting the Invest page. A large “Invest in President’s Circle” button is on the investment page. Members can click through at any point and be linked to the VoteSane website to make a President’s Circle investment.

8. How do I access a record of my completed investments?
Once you log in to the Votesane website, you may view your complete record by selecting “My Account” in the top, right-hand corner. Once selected you will be able to view all of your investment receipts.

9. May I contribute to any Member of Congress via the President’s Circle?
Members may not contribute directly to a Member of Congress unless he/she is a target picked by the national RPAC Disbursement Trustees. The reason for this is so that President’s Circle members can invest collectively in a small number of incumbents in order to make a big impact. If President’s Circle members contribute to whomever they choose, our strength is diluted and the program is not as powerful.

10. Which President’s Circle members receive preferred placement at hotel headquarters at national meetings?
President’s Circle members who are Golden Rs receive preferred placement at one of the headquarter hotels at national meetings, after maintaining that level for a full year. President’s Circle members who are Platinum Rs receive guaranteed headquarter hotels at national meetings the following year. Due to the significant amount of time it takes to plan the annual meetings, the hotel headquarters cannot be guaranteed until the following year. (Example: If a Platinum R joins the President’s Circle on August 1, 2019, they will receive guaranteed hotel headquarters at Midyear Meetings and Annual Convention in 2020.)

11. How do I find out which members in my state are in the President’s Circle and how much they owe?
There is a President’s Circle roster located on the REALTOR® Action Center that is updated every Thursday evening. Simply go to this link. And of course, feel free to contact RPAC staff if you need to find out about a member’s President’s Circle investment before the Thursday update.

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