Atlanta Agent (AA): Tell us about your involvement in some agent-centric volunteer activities.
Jennifer Pino (JP): Last year, we did a great grant project with Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors YCR (the YPN equivalent) at the BeltLine, and we are looking into doing more grants through the National Association of Realtors.
I was the chair last year of YPN, and am still on its grant task force, which consists of three of us from residential side and one from commercial side. We are meeting monthly to work on potential future grant opportunities on behalf of ABR. Additionally, I am the VP of professional development for ABR.
AA: How can other agents get involved with their association’s volunteer efforts?
JP: There are some great ways to get involved through ABR. There are several committees that rely on our volunteer members to operate – volunteers do everything from serving ABR membership to raising money for Habitat for Humanity; in fact, we had the annual fundraiser the other night, and we also raise money for Habitat through our trade show. This year, we have an exciting new project – a 5K Fun Run taking place this fall at Atlantic Station – that has the potential to be a huge fundraiser. The hard work culminates in our Habitat for Humanity build, which takes place each fall. Volunteers from our membership pull together to build the home over nine weekends along side the homeowner.
Another thing we promote is “Legislative Day” at the Georgia State Capitol each February, where our Realtor members meet with representatives and senators to be the voice of real estate in Georgia. We fight to defend private property rights and to promote – or defeat – items that will affect either property owners or our industry. It is always a memorable day!
AA: What do you enjoy most about the various grant/volunteer projects you commit your time towards?
JP: As it is with most volunteer work, although the intention is to help others, it is invariably the volunteer that receives the greatest reward. There is intrinsic value in giving to a cause that is greater than yourself, and to the feeling of satisfaction that comes from service and contribution to others; but there is so much more.
When you volunteer through a professional organization like the Atlanta Board of Realtors, you end up meeting like-minded individuals who are also professionals in the field. The benefits spill over into your work life, as you end up having relationships with people in your industry who you respect and admire, and who may turn out to be the co-op agent or broker on the other side of a transaction. Trust goes a long way in this industry, and having a great relationship with the agent on the other side of the deal give you and your clients an edge over the competition. Another benefit is that your clients see that you are involved in volunteer work, which elevates your professionalism.
AA: What are some other grants you are looking into, through NAR?
JP: Our grant-focused task force in still in the development stages. With one successful grant under our belt, we are looking into opportunities that exist in communities in and around Atlanta. We are speaking with several Community Improvement Districts to find what project may be a good fit for us.
With more than 500 grants available through the National Association of Realtors, we hope to be able to match up community project needs with available grant funds. We have a wonderful resource in Hayley McCloud from the Georgia Association of Realtors, who has graciously made herself available to be the liaison between ABR and NAR. She was instrumental in helping us with our first grant, and we look forward to many more to come!