Volunteers: How you can help

Many REALTORS® have contacted the Foundation since the Hurricane Florence storm system passed through North Carolina.  These community leaders have asked what we need in order to help those impacted by the storm.

Now that we have released Stage 2 funding for those in need of housing, we need to fill two key volunteer roles.  REALTORS® and real estate industry professionals are uniquely suited for these roles because of their discretion, high functioning soft skills, and understanding of housing financing terms and documents.

Disaster Trustees will support applicants in the affected storm areas.

Critical Communication Team (CCT) Members will call applicants who need to complete their applications.

A small group of CCT members who can come to our Greensboro office will also manually check applications for quality assurance before final approval.

All volunteers should feel free to share this press release in your community and this article that details our efforts to provide mortgage and rental assistance through an application process.  If you have relationships with community service providers (Habitat for Humanity, DSS offices, other housing resource offices), please share this information with them.

Please look over the descriptions below to see if you can help in these areas.  Once you decide, please email Noah Corbett at ncorbett@ncrealtors.org with the role you want assigned to you.  We will communicate with you directly with more specific instructions and discuss your best times and dates for availability.

Disaster Trustees:  Meeting people where they are

Who is a Disaster Trustee?

Disaster Trustees are self-directed volunteers who will coordinate physical locations, dates, and times to meet face-to-face with those impacted by the storm.  They will advertise by downloading and filling in this Word document flyer and spreading word of their willingness to help applicants.  They will aid applicants in filling their application and will use this instruction checklist written specifically for the needs of volunteers.

What do Disaster Trustee do?

You will…

  • Be the voice of NC REALTORS® and the NC REALTORS® Foundation.
  • Help applicants fill out the application, with special attention to helping them gather supporting documentation (mortgage statement or lease agreement; photos of damage to home; proof of residence).
  • Have a physical location designated to work with applicants one-on-one and/or be willing to call applicants for initial outreach and follow-up.
  • Ensure that the applications come back to the NC REALTORS® office so we can process and approve the applications as soon as possible.

With the above duties, you can see that Disaster Trustees are entrusted with important responsibilities that will make a large impact in reducing the amount of time it takes for an applicant to receive financial support.

Will staff assign me to a staging area or a disaster center, or create a cloud-based sign-up list for me?

No, staff in the office will be dedicated to processing applications and communications coordination.  We will rely on Disaster Trustees who are self-directed, will show up where needed, are willing to help people face-to-face, and who can work out these logistics.  Trustees should be ready to help victims find the application online, print the application for them, talk them through the application, mail them an application, remind them that they must have supporting documentation to accompany their application, and take ownership of the process.

Staff will also mail and email and contact applicants who call us directly.  Please know that we support the Trustees’ efforts.  We anticipate, however, that the demand is great.  This is why we need Trustees who will jump in with both feet to help applicants.

Critical Communication Team:  Remote volunteers willing to call those impacted

Who is a Critical Communication Team (CCT) member?

CCT members are detail-oriented volunteers who can provide up to 1-2 hours on any given week to call applicants, answer their questions, and return voice mail messages from applicants.  Staff will send sensitive information to these volunteers, along with updated, specific phone scripts with important messaging for those affected.

What does a CCT member do?

CCT members make it a priority to respond quickly to our staff with a “yes” or “no” regarding their availability to make call backs within a certain time range on a weekly basis.  They will be patient and caring with people, understanding that many applicants are going through the worst experience of their lives.

CCT members who live close to Greensboro or are willing to drive to our Greensboro office will manually proof applications to meet internal controls that discourage fraud.  In this manner, the small subset of CCT members who can fill this role will be very important to grant funding decisions.

General FAQs for All Volunteers

What are some best practices I should observe?

Volunteers will be meeting storm victims at one of the lowest points of their lives.  Disaster Trustees and CCT members must demonstrate compassion, patience, discretion, and all the high-level people skills that REALTORS® exhibit every day in their profession.

Volunteers should be careful to give out official communication channels and to reserve private information.  For instance, we advise against giving out personal cell phone numbers or your home address.  We advise against giving out personal cell phone numbers so victims can text you.  We encourage you to use office phone numbers and office locations to talk and meet with victims.  The reason is that those in distress may not make a distinction in the time of day (or night) that they try to reach you.  In addition, those in distress often call repeatedly until they get someone live on the phone.  Please be mindful of your personal space and security so you can provide the best service to those impacted as well as the best self care.

If at any time you feel unsafe or are concerned about a particular applicant’s request, please contact us immediately at 336-294-1415.  Ask for Nicole, Noah, or Julie, and state this is a “red flag” situation.

How do I or an applicant get the application and required supporting documents to the Foundation?

You can scan and email to housingfoundation@ncrealtors.org.  Or you can fax it to 336-299-7872, attention: Disaster Relief.  Or you can mail to Disaster Relief, 4511 Weybridge Lane, Greensboro, NC  27407.

When will we meet together?

As of Friday, September 28, we have at least 200 applications in the office and 100+ phone calls to return (from applicants).  We are working to coordinate our volunteers in more specific roles so that we can communicate with you effectively.

We will schedule conference calls for smaller, specific groups of volunteers during the first week of October.  Details for calling in will be sent via email to those who have emailed Noah at ncorbett@ncrealtors.org.  If you cannot make these calls, it’s OK.  We will take detailed minutes and send them out to those of you who respond to Noah or to those who have already emailed Nicole, Julie, or Noah.

How do I sign up?

Please contact Noah Corbett at ncorbett@ncrealtors.org to be added to the list of volunteers and specify which role you want to perform.  If you have already emailed Nicole, Julie, or Noah, we have your information and you have been added to a specific list (Disaster Trustee, CC Team).

If you can drive to the Greensboro office to go through applications for quality control, please indicate this in your email to Noah.  We have a small crew already signed up here (3), but we will need at least a few more.

Thank you for your willingness to serve those impacted by Hurricane Florence.  We believe that you will make an incredible difference in this relief effort.