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REALTORS® have a heart for service and a passion for giving back. In fact, REALTORS® volunteer at more than twice the rate of the general population, with 72 percent of us volunteering regularly. I’m incredibly proud of this—and I find it a profound and telling reflection of the character of our membership. As the 2021 president of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), I am dedicated to doing all I can to support, inspire and encourage volunteering among REALTORS® as part of our “One, Together” theme.

REALTORS® Are Good Neighbors
For 21 years, we’ve acknowledged the exceptional charitable work of REALTORS® through the annual Good Neighbor Awards. But REALTORS® are good neighbors every day, and with 1.4 million members, something more was needed to tell the full story of the immense positive impact REALTORS® are making through volunteer work.

All REALTORS® deserve to be recognized and celebrated for contributions to the greater good—whether it’s running a food drive during the pandemic, helping a neighbor in need, contributing to much-needed disaster relief, providing housing for the homeless, or working to improve education or healthcare. Some are extraordinary acts of heroism, but most are ordinary, everyday acts of kindness and service that make a real difference. We make a difference each and every day.

In 2019, the REALTORS® Are Good Neighbors campaign was created to share these compelling stories, and inspire more volunteerism. We help spread the word on our Facebook and Instagram pages with hundreds of heartwarming, uplifting and truly inspiring stories. We also offer a tool kit and resources for associations to help publicize their charitable work through local, and even national, media. And next year, a REALTORS® Day of Service will encourage all members to step forward in their communities and volunteer. I realize that most REALTORS® who volunteer aren’t seeking recognition. But I believe spotlighting their stories will motivate others, show the world our compassion and generosity, and build pride in our profession.

Time Tracking Tool
An exciting new component of the REALTORS® Are Good Neighbors program is our time tracking tool. Now, in addition to highlighting REALTORS®’ volunteer efforts, we will be quantifying the hours REALTORS® donate from November 2020 to November 2021. As REALTORS® complete volunteer hours, they can log in to nar.realtor/rgn to enter their task, their time and photos of their work. An interactive map of the U.S. shows a pin where the work was done, and a live tally keeps a running total of all hours entered nationwide.

Thanks to the generous spirit of REALTORS®, I am confident that we can easily meet our goal of five million hours. REALTORS® are active, influential leaders who truly care about others, and altruism is a natural fit for our profession. We are plugged into our communities and involved in local organizations. Our deep connections and strong relationships put us in a unique position to serve our neighbors and strengthen our communities. REALTORS® are the fabric of the community.

As with all good ideas, this program came together because of like minds. When a Leadership Academy team proposed a similar idea, the concepts were merged, and it became their capstone project. That’s just the kind of teamwork that has driven us forward this year—One, Together.

Share Your Story, Tally Your Time
I hope you will follow REALTORS® Are Good Neighbors on Facebook and Instagram and share your own story or those of your colleagues, brokerages or associations.

Visit nar.realtor/rgn often to log your volunteer hours, watch the total time given by REALTORS® grow over the year, and see the remarkable impact of our collective volunteer efforts nationwide.

One, Together, we’ll make the world a better place, because That’s Who We R!

Charlie Oppler is the 2021 president of the National Association of REALTORS®. For more information, please visit www.nar.realtor.

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