The following article by Sandra Kelley, Chairman, Public Relations Commitee of the Arkansas REALTORS® Association ran in the July issue of the Arkansas REALTOR®.
The amazing thing about being a REALTOR® is being able to help people in my community achieve their dreams. Much of the time this is through the purchase or sale of a home, but sometimes it is through fund raising efforts. I have found that REALTORS® across the state have big hearts when it comes to helping those in their communities.
In 1986 Arkansas REALTORS® Association (ARA) President Wayne Camp helped focus the ARA on volunteering with the Special Olympics. All money raised that year went directly to ASO so a correct total of what
REALTORS® raised is not available. However, it is estimated that $5,800 was raised that first year and it has only gotten better since then. In the 24 years since we began in 1986, ARA has raised more than $1,981,504! We are a group with big hearts.
Over the years there have been many ways that we have raised money. In 1996 REALTOR® Mike Mackinder of Little Rock acquired the first boat, motor and trailer to help with fundraising. He obtained one every year until 2000. In 1996 and 1997 the boat was donated at no cost to the ARA. In 1998 and 1999, ARA purchased the boat. In 2000, a Kawasaki four-wheeler was obtained in lieu of the boat; in 2011 we switched to a Polaris 4-wheeler. In 2001 and 2002 ARA purchased the 4-wheeler. In 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006, through joint efforts of REALTOR® Dorwin Shaddox of Harrison (who was Arkansas REALTOR®-of-the-Year in 1995 and ARA President in 2000) and Sandy Stroope (a Polaris dealer in Harrison), Polaris dealers across Arkansas joined together and paid for the Polaris 4-wheeler so its cost would not come from ARA fundraising money.
Small boards and large boards alike are always looking for new ideas that can work in their area. The Paragould Board of REALTORS® holds an annual Christmas Party with a live and silent auction. Items are donated by local affiliates and the event is attended by agent s and affiliates. In addition we have “Stood on the corner collecting change.” This is usually done on a Friday afternoon between 3:00 and 6:00 PM. The agents and affiliates were able to collect $2,400 this year. (Make sure to check with your local City Hall to make sure it is allowed).
The Metro Board does a “Split the Cash” at their monthly meetings. This is a simple idea that can work for any size board. Each person puts $5 and a business card in a bowl and the card drawn gets half the cash and the rest goes to Special Olympics. They also do a Texas Holdem event annually. Agents, affiliates and the public are welcome to participate.
The Rogers Board is holding a Miniature Golf Tournament. This is something new for them and looks to be exciting. It is for offices and families. It is scheduled for August the 6th at Golf Mountain. (If you’re interested in participating contact Cindy Keeling at 479-636-0254). They also have done a bake sale in conjunction with a meeting. The Fort Smith Board holds a Trivia Night. The Jonesboro Board holds raffles at their awards ceremonies. They create packages out of items donated by local business ($1,000- $1,500 value) and the sell the raffle tickets prior to the event. The winner doesn’t have to be present.
If your board doesn’t want to organize an event on its own you can always contact the Special Olympics Area Director or contact a member of the ARA’s Public Relations Committee. The area directors can let you know when they have a fund raising events and members of the PR Committee are happy to help brainstorm with you. The possibilities are endless.
Last but certainly not least, the PR Committee is looking for businesses who will once again “step up to the plate” and donate boats, 4 wheelers, trips, dinners – all donations are welcome – to help drive our annual raffle ticket sales. If you know of a business who would benefit from a partnership with the Arkansas REALTORS® Association and the Arkansas Special Olympics, please contact