Step 5 - Educate, Communicate
Education and Communication
Educating members is critical to the success of a green initiative for your MLS. For other changes to the MLS data structure, you may have relied on internal training and communications processes exclusively. When greening your MLS there is assistance available for educating your members, and local and national green educators can be a great resource. Please visit GreenREsouceCouncil.org for more information on NAR's Green Designation and education program.
The green industry is very excited to see the coming involvement from MLSs throughout the United States. Certification providers may help with promotional materials and member outreach ideas, and many often are willing to speak at local association events. Blending external resources with your normal methods for training and communications should prove very effective and ease some of the burden on the MLS.
To promote understanding and awareness among consumers and users and so that parties use the system properly, it is important to take the time to explain the benefits of the new field options to all users. That includes members, such as brokers and appraisers; and third-party users, such as vendors. In addition, those who get data feeds from your MLS, such as IDX (internet data exchange) sites, publications (on-line and print), and back office systems also need to understand the green changes.
A launch event can be effective in bringing attention to your new green fields. In addition, Webinars (WebEx style conferences) are a cost-effective--and greener--way to communicate to large audiences because participants do not have to leave their homes or offices. Such events also create an opportunity for interaction, a way to explain green MLS benefits, and to take questions about field changes.
Education typically is an ongoing process and is important to the success of a green MLS. Consider providing newsletter updates, e-mail messages, or other types of communications to members as changes occur with technology and certifications. Also, place a green emphasis in your support and training materials so that existing and new members can easily stay current. While educating members on MLS changes, you can also encourage them to obtain NAR's Green Designation. It provides advanced training in green homes and sustainable business practices.