Promoting the value of REALTORS® to the public across the province has been the subject of a mass advertising campaign for the past few years. That’s because you, our members, have rated this as your top priority for the association. After an extensive survey, an overwhelming 97 per cent of you said your top priority for us at OREA was to promote REALTOR® value to the public. Moreover, 94 per cent of you said it should be done through a mass advertising campaign.
We heard you, and we listened. The We do the homework™ campaign, featuring television and billboard ads, has been running for two years and has been a tremendous success, moving the public’s perception of REALTORS® in a positive direction that benefits all of us in this profession across the province.
We want to continue running this amazing ad campaign for another two years. However, in order to continue funding it, we will need to find a new path. Delegates at the upcoming OREA Annual General Meeting and Assembly will be asked to vote on a special levy to continue to fund the ad campaign. The campaign has been a huge success and we want it to continue. It is, after all, your campaign and we’re eager to extend this amazing initiative.
To date, the ad campaign has been funded by OREA reserves and will continue to be supported by reserves for a third year, through 2015. After 2015, however, the association’s reserves will no longer be able to support this kind of campaign.
We’re now at a critical juncture — specifically, how to continue to pay for this professional campaign that our members have said is their leading priority. That’s why, after considerable research of other provincial associations as well as robust discussions and consultations, our OREA board of directors approved a motion at our December meeting to recommend a special levy starting in 2016 to continue to fund the REALTOR® Value ad campaign.
OREA’s revenue, which supports member services, amounts to about $9 million annually, but funding a professional and effective ad campaign will cost the association about $2 million a year. It is worth noting that OREA worked to trim back our budget in 2012 and 2013, and this involved staff layoffs and significant budget cutbacks. It is also worth noting that OREA has not had a dues increase since 2008. With an ad campaign representing over 20 per cent of the current member services budget, attempting to further cut a lean budget would not deliver the required funds and would have a negative impact on valued existing programs. We find ourselves with nowhere left to cut. That’s why we’ve had to explore a new funding model for the campaign.
The special levy that has been recommended by the OREA board of directors is for $30 per member per year, for a period of three years, starting in 2016, to fund the REALTOR® Value advertising campaign.
Real estate board members who are voting delegates to the OREA Annual General Meeting and Assembly will have the opportunity to vote on the recommendation for a special levy during the meeting on March 11 at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel in Toronto. This is your campaign, and we’re aiming to continue to deliver on your highest priority. We look forward to your support as we strive to extend the campaign and continue to promote REALTOR® value across Ontario.