Overcoming Adversity: The recovery and growth of the Women’s Council of REALTORS®

by Sylvia Seabolt

By Sylvia Seabolt, President, Women’s Council of REALTORS®, National

Adversity isn’t necessarily a negative. COVID was a setback for many associations, but it offered the Women’s Council of REALTORS® the opportunity to get creative and dig deep to find ways to connect meaningfully with members across the country.

At National, we hosted almost daily Zoom educational sessions or networking opportunities for the first few months of lockdown. As restrictions lessened and networks felt more comfortable meeting and hosting, National paused our daily sessions, but we continued to look for ways to keep our membership engaged. It was not surprising we lost many REALTOR® members during the peak of COVID, but we realized we were not alone with that statistic. In our engagement efforts, we saw the precious value of the camaraderie that resonates throughout our membership.

Because of this amazing collective spirit, National was able to create the tools for engagement, and our membership put in the effort and all the daily footwork to win back members with these tools — and some of their own. In our monthly newsletter, eConnect, we featured a brief article called COVID Success Stories, where our networks told the stories of how they connected with members during the most difficult times.

Women’s Council of REALTORS® launched two national campaigns to win back members after lockdown, and both were successful because of the hard work and diligence of our networks.

First, we launched The Come Back Campaign — we gave the networks the tools to tap those lost members on the shoulder, and we saw a huge return. The members who stayed connected and engaged with their networks won back many of our lapsed members in a very short time. Second, shortly after our Come Back Campaign, we launched Each One, Reach One, encouraging our 1,200 network leaders to reach out to one new member.
Our networks ran with other tools we provided, as well — special incentives to new members recruited during this time and creative marketing pieces networks could customize for recruitment efforts. Their work has paid off in growth.

When we found ourselves on the other side of the COVID upheaval, we found that we not only survived, but also thrived. We watched our membership numbers soar beyond our pre-COVID numbers. It’s the camaraderie of our members that brought us here and kept us alive. With the tools from National and the passion of our membership, we recruited or recaptured over 4,000 members — an amazing comeback!

For more information on the Women’s Council of REALTORS® and their nationwide network, please visit wcr.org.

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