Imagine how hard it can be for a person to change something as simple as a habit. Now imagine how hard it can be for an organization filled with people to change. Finally, imagine how hard it can be for three organizations to change, and still deliver outstanding service to its members. Well, you don’t need to imagine it at all—you just need to look at the Saskatchewan REALTORS® Association (SRA) to see that it’s possible.
The SRA was formed on January 1, 2020 from three separate associations, and it has come a long way in very short time while navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. “It didn’t happen overnight,” says Samantha Krahn, SRA’s new Director of External & Government Relations, “but it’s been an exceptional example of teamwork, strong leadership and innovation.”
After extensive consultation with its members, the Association of Regina Realtors (ARR), the Saskatoon Region Association of Realtors (SRAR), and the Association of Saskatchewan Realtors (ASR) delivered The Member Forward Business Plan in February 2019. On March 19, 2019, REALTOR® members from across Saskatchewan voted in significant support for the creation of a new single association, the SRA.
“The focus of The Plan was how to put the foundations in place for a successful organization as of January 1, 2020 knowing that there will be a new CEO and Board of Directors. We had to have a single, turnkey association that was ready to go on January 1st and continu[e] to deliver services,” says Craig Kutarna-Gates, Partner with MNP, the firm that supported the entire process.
With The Plan in place and the mandate from members, the transition committee began its work to merge the three organizations, all while continuing to support members—essentially doing two full-time jobs simultaneously!
MNP identified 37 specific commitments in The Plan for the new SRA to deliver. And after its independent review, MNP found that the SRA delivered on 100% of those commitments. More impressively, these commitments were delivered “on time and on budget,” in less than six months of it’s first year.
“To see a new association or organization deliver on 100% of its plan is exceedingly rare. It does not happen. This is truly a major success story for the profession and for the teamwork that was accomplished to be able to make this happen,” says Kutarna-Gates.
Among the commitments the SRA delivered on were:
- Achieve Cost Savings. The amalgamation allowed the SRA to reduce duplicated work (both staff and board) across the separate associations.
- Lower Member Fees. The plan aimed to return 66% of savings from the amalgamation back to members through fee reductions. With the amalgamation, every member is paying less in fees than they were before.
- Continue to Provide Key Services. Lock boxes, dedicated member support, technology, professional standards, advocacy/external relations, marketing intelligence & analysis, standard forms, member development, public relations and communications, MLS system.
- Maintain Two Member Service Centres. The SRA has kept two full-service locations in both Regina and Saskatoon to maintain quality service for members—something which most members said was important to them.
- Expand Market Intelligence and Analytics. An economist has been hired to help give members across the province robust market intelligence to help them better serve their clients and grow their business.
Merging three associations into one, delivering on 100% of its commitments, and continuing to provide members with exemplary service—all while making its way through a pandemic as a new organization—are envious achievements. SRA members (and the profession as a whole) should be proud of what has been accomplished in a short period as a unified team