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AG Flash Poll results – do associations poll well or poorly?

This week’s AG Flash Poll asks a series of questions about local boards and associations. We asked about attitudes toward associations and about local board weaknesses and strengths and respondents were quite passionate about the topic.

Some were so passionate and honest that they asked not to be quoted. All respondents were Realtors, many of whom are brokers, but interestingly, no association staff members or executives (past or present) took the time to opine. Why is that strange? Several staff associates tweeted, facebooked and emailed about the poll, none of whom committed to answering (perhaps they didn’t know we would honor anonymous submissions?).

Regardless, the mix of respondents included several people who are active in their local boards/associations through task forces and committees and several are elected leaders in their organization. This group is not a transient, flaky agent bunch, these are people devoted to the industry.

Respondents were diverse in location ranging from Ann Arbor and Austin to Virginia and San Diego.

Sentiments toward the associations:

Of those polled, most felt neutral to positively about their association in general and only a minority felt negatively toward their association. It is important to note that the group doesn’t outright hate their association because their honesty in criticism may lead one to think otherwise.

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Although respondents have a general appreciation for their association, when asked about the technologies offered by their association, several noted that they’ve sought out their own technologies, add to what the associations offer or noted their association has “none to offer,” but the general sentiment trended negatively.

Associations’ strengths and weaknesses:

When asked about their association’s greatest strength, many responded that the MLS was the main strength of their association, while others, like Bill Wilson in Oklahoma said that his association is progressive and member-oriented.

When asked about their association’s greatest weakness, an overwhelming number indicated low membership participation to be holding the board down, but more indicated the association’s weakness to be the technologies offered by the association. Regarding association weaknesses, Don Fabrizio-Garcia in Connecticut stated that his “show[s] no value for the money” and Ottowa Realtor Matt Richling said that his association is “all around lacking.”

When polled about how their associations can improve, California Realtor, Reuben Estrada pointed to technology like almost all respondents. He noted his association should “adopt the ‘right’ tech not just any tech. We have a good association overall. My biggest quibble is not really pushing tech vendors enough adopt to the latest web standards.”

Vendors, Realtors and Boards

Based on our work with associations ranging from communications and marketing to focus groups, we have found Estrada’s sentiment to be consistent from market to market. We have witnessed over the years associations get called on their technologies and are faced with a communications issue based on what their vendors are selling them. Sometimes technology moves faster than vendors can and other times, vendors that associations have hired to deliver timely technologies fall short. Either way, membership looks to the association as the culprit as the survey results clearly show.

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A shift in technology is placing associations, vendors and members in an interesting position as consumers/members are becoming very well educated on technology, modern issues of their choice and the like at an accelerated rate given the rise of blogging and social networking.

In summary:

The bottom line is that despite the pressure on associations to be cutting edge with technologies for members, associations are generally not seen in a negative light. Many members are highly critical but not hopeless regarding technology. Like California Realtor, Steve Ingels said, “we have outstanding staff and leadership. We will become cutting edge association within the next few years.”

AG Flash Poll results charted:

[pdf href=””]Click here to view the full PDF report.[/pdf]

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. Dana Voelzke

    January 28, 2011 at 12:21 am

    Seems that some adaptation is overdue given all the changes in the marketplace. Ours does a good job of trying to promote general education but I think the scope of issues is narrow and I don’t know that I am fully convinced of the organization’s value proposition.

  2. Missy Caulk

    January 28, 2011 at 7:54 am

    I think I just found my next blog post. What I gleaned from your survey.

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