Who says fundraising is boring? RPAC!
Anyone that reads my stuff or hears me speak or invades my weird dreams knows how I feel about RPAC. I drank the Kool-Aid back in 1997, the first year I spent up on Capital Hill, and we at the UAR were made to vacate a meeting room so that a Boy Scout troop could have their meeting. That was the same time that our leadership made the decision to become a more 'active' defender of the things we hold dear. Things like Property Rights, limited government regulation on business, and fair taxation.
I've talked many times about why these things are important. Today, I wanted to talk a bit about how we raise the money to do the things we do here in Utah. It's certainly changed since '97! Haven't we all...
Back in 1995, Berna's first committee assignment at the Tooele County Board was to be Chair of the 'PSF' fundraising committee. At that time, with 40 some members of the Board, she was the Committee. For you youngsters, PSF stood for 'Political Survival Fund'. But, she didn't know that then. She was told to 'go raise money', around $15 per member. Not really that hard back then.
When we decided to 'get serious' at the UAR, the goals went up by more than 300%. They have stayed close to $50 per member ever since. That was a taller order, and required some new thinking in methodology, especially as membership dropped with the economy the last several years. Here in Utah, we have a reputation for setting high goals and achieving them. We also realize how important the advocacy we provide to our members is, and we needed to get creative.
Some 3 years ago, someone came up with the idea of a motorcycle rally around the State for major RPAC investors. I believe it was the brainchild of our 2011 State President, Kenny Parcell, a creative guy if ever there was one. He's also an avid biker. Along with a couple of friends, like Past-President Jim Bringhurst and WCAR Association Executive Vardell Curtis, Kenny has created a monster. A really succesfull fundraising monster, the best kind!
We just returned from the latest Realtor RPAC Rally. It's become a 3 day, 1000 mile extravaganza. We had over 80 participants this year, with the majority riding their Harley's (and some of us on other brands, which is ok!) and a few folks driving in convertables and SUV's. This last group included NAR President Moe Veissi. He was joined by a couple of Regional Vice-Presidents, and other folks from around the Country, trying to figure out why this whole thing works. Boy, do they get it now!
Over the course of those days, we visited Zion's National Park (how cool does it sound to have 50 Harley's going through the tunnel!), Bryce Canyon National Park, Capital Reef, and Escalante-Grand Staircase National Monument. We hit elevations as high as 10k feet. Temps ranged from 45 to 95 degrees. We ate too much. We laughed too much. We had a ball the whole time, including the Board of Directors meeting we held at the end. No accidents, no citations and some new friendships that will last a lifetime.
So, beyond these nice things, what were the 'tangible' results of this event? How about raising 100k for RPAC in one single event? Remember that $15 goal I spoke of? That was for our State at a time when we had around 7000 members. We nearly raised that in a single event here, at a time when the economy still hasn't recovered fully. However, it worked for a couple simple reasons. First of all, it came from committed leadership that understands how important political advocacy is. Secondly, creative people looking for ways to make a difference at a tough time. Taking us away from our phones, our emails and our business was great, but we also have now shared that Kool-Aid I spoke of with friends from Oklahoma, Colorado, Louisianna, Missouri as well as some fairly influential folks from NAR.
The ripple effect has just started. The first year, we had 25 people participate. This year, most of the 80 have already committed to next year's ride. We'll have to turn people away. We have a local Board, the Cache-Rich Association, that will be holding their second annual one day Rally Ride for RPAC in August, and they've already made their fundraising goal for this year! B and I are going on that one too. See, RPAC fundraising doesn't have to be boring, and it can definitely be successful, even in tough times!
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