December 4, 2011

70 Years of HBA Communication: "Can You Hear Me Now?"

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) opened its doors back in 1942 and 70 years later NAHB is still, despite the everlasting housing depression, going strong. NAHB is a trade association that helps promote the policies that make housing a national priority and communicating to the general membership has always been a vital part of grassroots efforts. Back in the '40s we had regular mail and telephones for a message delivery system. In 1945, however, only 46% of households had a phone so back then the U.S. Postal Service was our method of communicating on a regular basis and really was this way through the 1970's. Since that time we have witnessed

  1. pagers
  2. fax machines
  3. email
  4. cell phones
  5. and the good ol' standby, regular mail
as the methods of communications. Believe it or not we still can not keep in communication with 100% of NAHB membership and it is not for lack of trying. However, over the past several years a more explosive way to communicate has emerged and risen to the top of our communications tool box:

SOCIAL MEDIA (just to name a few)
The age of instant contact came upon us fast, maybe too fast and we may not have been ready. It seemed at first to be for the "young whipper snappers" of the world. But a few daring adults dove in and found out that this new world really isn't that scary and others joined in. And then others.

Here is a chart that breaks down percentages based on age groups:

 Given the fact that the average age of an NAHB member is 51 it would seem that those above the average are more comfortable with the traditional ways of communicating while the next generation of members are dominating the chart (25-44 age group) at almost 45%. NAHB has already begun (a few years now in fact) the task of bringing the Federation into the 21st Century's means for efficient communication. Speaking with some of the past NAHB leadership of the mid to late 90s they are amazed at what can be accomplished today compared to what they had to utilize for member outreach. NAHB has the all the communications tools necessary to reach all members (for those who have joined us here in the future) with "speed of light" quickness and in many forms. The problem. right now, is educating the general member on the value and the ease of social media. The PROs far outweigh the CONs and, in the upcoming blog posts, we will discuss the various methods of communicating through social media, the benefits of utilization and the right & wrong ways of participating.

Submitted by:
Michael Kurpiel CGA, CGP
NAHB Associate Members Committee Chairman

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